Aug. 7, 2017
May 2017
Aug. 7, 2017
August 2017

Nats Recap

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – Rain has sprinkled all three days of the 2017 USTA Boys’ 18 and 16 National Championships, but that hasn’t stopped the exciting tennis that’s occurred on the 75th anniversary of the championships being held in Kalamazoo.

For starters, Andy Roddick and Michael Russell returned to Kalamazoo for the Rx Optical/Greenleaf Trust & Greenleaf Hospitality exhibition. Roddick, the former world No. 1 and 2003 US Open singles champion, finished runner up in 16 singles and doubles at the nationals in 1998. A year later, he teamed up with Lavar Harper-Griffin to claim the 18 doubles title.

Michael Russell, who lost the 16 doubles title in 1994, lost to Boy and Mike Bryan in the 18 doubles championship in 1998. He teamed up with Roddick to defeat the No. 1 seeded 18 doubles team of Vasil Kirkov (Tampa, Fla.) and Danny Thomas (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) 6-3.

Roddick and Russell then split up with each pairing with one of the top two singles players in the 18s draw. Russell and No. 2 Patrick Kypson (Greenville, N.C.) edged Roddick and No. 1 Sam Riffice (Orlando, Fla.) 6-4 to conclude the exhibition.

The nationals expanded its seeding to 64 players in each singles draw this year. In addition, the tournament is now using three sites with Portage West Middle School along with Kalamazoo College’s Stowe Stadium and Western Michigan University’s Sorensen Courts.

In 16 singles, the top two seeds, No. 1 Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, Calif.) and No. 2 Andrew Dale (Leesburg, Va.) qualified for the fourth round with straight set victories. The No. 3 seed, Siem Woldeab (La Mesa, Calif.), also made the fourth round, but only after three-set victories in both the second and third round. Woldeab lost the first set in both matches.

Among the higher seeds in 16 singles that failed to qualify for the third round were No. 28 Spencer Brachman (Commack, N.Y.) and No. 33 Omni Kumar (Irvine, Calif.). Zachary Smith (New Orleans, La.), the player of the day for 16s on Sunday, took down Brachman 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 while Anand Saluja (Brookfield, Wis.), the player of the day for 16s on Saturday, defeated Kumar in the 7-6 (0), 3-6, 6-1 in the first round.

The 16 doubles draw is playing its second round on Monday, and all but one seed advanced past the first round. Unseeded Blake Kasday (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Redd Owen (Sandy, Utah) defeated No. 17 Wesley Barnett (Little Rock, Ark.) and Joshua Rabb (Woodstock, Ga.) 6-1, 0-6, 1-0 (8).

The 18 singles third round is underway on Monday, and all the top eight seeds are in action. Unseeded Austin Di Giulio (Newport Beach, Va.), the 18s player of the day for Sunday, took down No. 20 Robert Maciag (Sterling, Va.) 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. To date, Maciag is the highest ranked player to have lost in the 18 singles main draw.

The 18 doubles draw has played through two rounds as of Monday. The top seven seeds will play in the third round later on Monday, but the eight and nine seeds were not so fortunate. No. 8 Trent Bryde (Suwanee, Ga.) and Brian Cernoch (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) fell to unseeded Benji Jacobson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and Nicholas Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio) 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (7) in the second round on Sunday evening. No. 9 seed Britton Johnston (Snellville, Ga.) and Jared Pratt (Daniel Island, S.C.) suffered the same fate as unseeded Pranav Kumar (Plano, Texas) and Nevin Arimilli (Austin, Texas) earned their place in the third round.

Stay tuned for more action of the 75th USTA Boys’ 18 and 16 National Championships in Kalamazoo!

Source: Mitch Blankespoor