2007 USTA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS-BOYS' 18s & 16s
Kalamazoo College - Kalamazoo, Michigan - August 4-12, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007-Final Day
It was a rainy morning and though is stopped before play, the courts were still wet and the (8:00 am) semifinal 16s consolation went indoors at Kalamazoo College. Matthew Kandath, who was forced to retire in the third set of the main draw (where he was the 16th seed) because he was cramping against Lawrence Formentera, quickly dismissed Walker Kehrer. His opponent in the 5th Place Playoff, Dennis Kudla, had won over JT Sundling by default and was probably a bit fresher, but Matthew never let up the pressure. Dennis pushed it with a final game that went through ten deuces and seven match points before the New Yorker who has to travel two and a half hours to practice with Coach Marc Silva won 6-4,6-3.
The Boys' 18 5th Place Playoff played simultaneously with the 3rd/4th and seemed to follow the same pattern through the beginning of the second set. It was at that point that Jeff Dadamo (pictured above left) took off over an ailing Jordan Rux (pictured above right) and added a 6-3 second to the 6-2 first for his 5th Place. In the other match, Lawrence Formentera had the early lead and took the first 6-2 while it was all Evan King in the second, 6-1. A glitch in the programming had the National Anthem and announcement of finals playing during the third, followed by the break Evan needed to lead him toward a 6-3 set as he held to his No. 3 seeding.
Tennessee natives Tennys Sandgren and James "Bo" Seal began with a baseline battle and some good points, but it was clear early that the top-seeded Tennys had the lead. He took the first (6-3) and an early break in the second as Bo ran out of steam. The finish, however, was anticlimatic as Tennys won it (6-2) on a point penalty after Bo through his racquet in a rage on the previous point.
While the Boys' 16s final didn't have a lot of staying power, the 18s certainly did. For the first time in five years (Prakash Amritraj over Doug Stewart), a four set match was played. The California boys -- top-seeded Michael McClune (Irvine) and third-seeded Ryan Thacher (Studio City) -- didn't quite play to the excitement I would have liked to have seen, but they were certainly crowd-pleasing. I never heard so many usher "Ah..." as the huge group of spectators filled the stands and rallied behind the underdog. It didn't help much in the first set, though, as Michael began the match with two aces and kept that pressure up to a 6-1 finish. The second belonged to Ryan, with short points and winners. And then it got a bit more interesting as the third set was definitely the exciting one with trading of breaks and longer games. In the end it was Michael, who has been playing the pro tour, who took the last two, 6-4,6-2.
At the awards ceremony, Michael McClune's dad said goodbye after four years (Michael's birthday will keep him from playing again next year by 11 days). He summed it all up as he announced, "This tournament is about living the dream." The Kalamazoo winners will receive wildcards into the U.S. Open Championships* so I will see them play again, but I don't get to take the hospitality of Kalamazoo with me. A special thanks to my friend Colette Lewis (of Zoo Tennis) and her husband Paul Ballard who not only gave me a (cool and comfortable) place to say, but showed me the ropes of The Zoo.
Until Next Year,
Pictured above, Michael McClune with USTA President Jane Brown Grimes
*U.S. Open wildcards are issued as follows: Boys' 18 Singles Winner-Main Draw Men's Singles (same for doubles)
Boys' 18 Singles Finalist-Qualifying Men's Singles
Boys' 16 Singles Winner-Main Draw Junior Boys Singles
Wildcards ae the same for Girls' 18 & 16. For more information, see the USTA High Performance website.
Click Here For The Official USTA Nationals Boys 18 Website
Click On A Photo To Enlarge
Match Point for Michael McClune
Boys' 16 1st
Jane Brown Grimes
Boys' 18 2nd
Boys' 16 2nd
James "Bo" Seal
Boys' 16 3rd & 4th
Evan King &
Boys' 16 5th
Boys' 16 6th