Boys' 18 Finals
Approximately 3,000 fans got to experience one of the best matches in recent memory on the final day of the 2015 USTA Boys’ 18 & 16 National Championships in Kalamazoo on Sunday.
Top-seeded Frances Tiafoe (College Park, Md.) outlasted No. 3 Stefan Kozlov (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4 to win the tournament’s wildcard into the U.S. Open later this year. Tiafoe appeared to be coasting to a straight-set victory at 4-3 in the third, but Kozlov, who lost to Tiafoe at this year’s Orange Bowl, broke Tiafoe to stay in the match. After a hold of serve,
The Florida native broke Tiafoe once more and headed into the mandatory 10-minute break trailing two sets to one. In set four, Kozlov fought off cramps to force the match into a decisive fifth set. In the fifth, Tiafoe broke Kozlov to take a 5-4 lead. After fighting off a break point, the No. 1 seed used a forehand down the line followed by a backhand volley to seal the victory.
The final, which lasted 4:24, was the first five-set 18s singles final at Kalamazoo since 1992. In addition, Kozlov became the first player to force a fifth set after losing the first two in the last 44 years. In the 16s singles final, No. 3 Patrick Kypson (Greenville, N.C.) finished his tournament with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 4 Alexandre Rotsaert (Boca Raton, Fla.). Kypson did not drop a set the entire tournament. No. 16 Zeke Clark (Tulsa, Okla.) took home the 18s feed ins crown while unseeded Sean Hill (Berkley, Calif.) won the 16s feed ins.
Source: Mitch Blankespoor