USTA Juniors Fare Well On Day 1 of Unique Collegiate Event

ST. HELENA, Calif., (Sept. 24, 2010) – The USTA brought their best to Napa Valley for the annual Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic and the elite eight juniors ended up having a  red-letter first day.

The juniors faced off against players from six of the nation’s top collegiate teams and won six of the eight singles matches, led by U.S. Open boys’ champion Jack Sock, who beat Johnny Hamui of Illinois, 6-4, 6-3, on Sock’s 18th birthday.

“I’m not tired because I actually haven’t been playing or practicing that much since the Open,” said Sock, a senior at Blue Valley North High School, who also won the Kalamazoo National 18s and played in the main draw at the Open. “I had kind of a long summer. It was nice to get back to school. I had people I didn’t even know coming up to me and congratulating me, like I was a mini-celebrity.”

This is the first year the juniors have been invited to play in the unique event run for the past 10 years by University of Cal-Berkeley Coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Director of Tennis Doug King.

Wright said he was elated to see the juniors do so well. “That’s part of the allure of this event; to see how well the juniors will do,” Wright said. “I think we have a pretty good cross-section of college players with some top guys and then some of the middle-range guys on the team.

“Some of the juniors are playing an incredible level of tennis. It’s great. I think after one day every one is encouraged. I think the juniors are happy, the USTA is happy and the college guys are happy. Someone asked me how I would feel if the juniors beat the college guys and I said that would actually be a good thing. It’s good for American tennis.”

Joining Sock in the winner’s circle on Friday were Alexios Halebian, Mitchell Krueger, Marcos Giron, Mitchell Frank and MacKenzie McDonald. Bjorn Fratangelo and Hunter Harrington each suffered defeats.

The collegiates did manage to win all three doubles matches played against the juniors, but it was a dominating day in singles for the juniors.

“My mindset was that it was just another match,” said the 17-year-old Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who beat Vasko Mladenov of Texas, 6-3, 6-4. “Obviously he’s a good player because he’s in college. I actually feel less pressure because the college guys want to win and don’t want to lose to players so much younger than them.”

Sixteen-year-old Mitchell Krueger was another one of the elite eight juniors selected to play. In his match, he defeated USC’s Jaak Poldma, 7-6 (3), 6-2. “I played really well and served pretty well,” said Krueger. “It was fun. It’s so nice and relaxed up here. I love it.”

Poldma lost to Tennessee’s Rhyne Williams at No. 3 singles in the championship of the NCAAs last May. Despite his loss, the Trojans went on to win their second straight NCAA title. The Most Outstanding Player in that event was also in action on Friday in Napa as Daniel Nguyen fell to Halebian, 16, of Glendale, Calif., in an entertaining three-setter, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4.

The two-time defending champion USC Trojans lost all four of their singles matches on Friday.

Krueger, 16, of Aledo, Texas, said he has played a few college players in the past, but was grateful for the experience on Friday. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “Now I know a little bit better where I’m at.”

Krueger said an event like this might even give him a better idea of whether or not to turn pro. “It just depends on how I do. I’m right in the middle right now.”

Each school is represented by four players to compete alongside the eight juniors, and the 32-man field is split into eight pools featuring three collegians and a junior. Following three matches in pool play, the eight pool winners will compete in a single-elimination, 10-point tiebreak tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a USTA-sponsored wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit event that is yet to be determined.

The juniors were selected by USTA Player Development based on ATP rankings (if applicable), national rankings and results, and a selection of younger players for developmental purposes.

Friday’s singles results

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) def. Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA, Pittsburgh, Pa.), 7-6 (8), 6-7 (9), 6-1

Carlos Cueto (Cal) def. Raymond Sarmiento (USC), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4)

Abe Souza (Illinois) def. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky), 7-5, 6-2

Jean Andersen (Texas) def. Nassim Slilam (Florida), 6-1, 6-2

Mitchell Krueger (USTA, Aledo, Texas) def. Jaak Poldma (USC), 7-6 (3), 6-2

Nick Andrews (Cal) def. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois), 6-4, 6-2

Mitchell Frank (USTA, Annandale, Va.) def. Pedro Zerbini (Cal), 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-5

Marcos Giron (USTA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) def. Vasko Mladenov (Texas), 6-3, 6-4

Ed Corrie (Texas) def. Hunter Harrington (USTA, Spartanburg, S.C.), 6-4, 6-1

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal), 6-1, 6-3

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida), def. Alex Musialek (Kentucky), 6-4, 6-3

Jack Sock (USTA, Lincoln, Neb.) def. Johnny Hamui (Illinois), 6-4, 6-3

MacKenzie McDonald (USTA, Piedmont, Calif.) def. Maks Gold (Kentucky), 6-4, 6-2

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) def. JT Sundling (USC), 6-4, 6-2

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. David Holiner (Texas), 2-6, 6-0, 6-1

Alexios Halebian (USTA, Glendale, Calif.) def. Daniel Nguyen (USC), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4

Friday’s doubles results

Nick Andrews / Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) def. Dennis Nevolo / Johnny Hamui (Illinois), 8-4

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) / Alex Musialek (Kentucky) def. Ed Corrie / Jean Andersen (Texas), 9-7

Vasko Mladenov / David Holiner (Texas) def. Mackenzie Macdonald / Hunter Harrington (USTA), 8-5

Alexandre Lacroix / Nassim Slilam (Florida), def. Jaak Poldma / JT Sundling (USTA), 8-5

Bob Van Overbeek / Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. Mitchell Krueger / Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA), 8-6

Daniel Nguyen / Raymond Sarmiento (USC) def. Jack Sock / Mitchell Frank (USTA), 9-7

DAY 2: Saturday’s Schedule

10:30 a.m.

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) v. Carlos Cueto (Cal)

Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA) v. Raymond Sarmiento (USC)

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) v. MacKenzie McDonald (USTA)

JT Sundling (USC) v. Maks Gold (Kentucky)

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida) v. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)

11:30 a.m.

Pedro Zerbini (Cal) v. Abe Souza (Illinois)

Noon

Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois) v. Hunter Harrington (USTA)

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) v. Marcos Giron (USTA)

1:00 p.m.

David Holiner (Texas) v. Mitchell Krueger (USTA)

Ed Corrie (Texas) v. Nick Andrews (Cal)

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) v. Johnny Hamui (Illinois)

2:00 p.m.

Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) v. Jack Sock (USTA)

Anthony Rossi (Kentucky) v. Mitchell Frank (USTA)

3:00 p.m.

Daniel Nguyen (USC) v. Jean Andersen (Texas)

Nassim Slilam (Florida) v. Alexios Halebian (USTA)

4:00 p.m.

Jaak Poldma (USC) v. Sekou Bangoura (Florida)

DAY 3: Sunday’s Schedule

8:00 a.m.

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) v. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida) v. Marcos Giron (USTA)

Alexios Halebian (USTA) v. Jean Andersen (Texas)

Jaak Poldma (USC) v. David Holiner (Texas)

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) v. Mitchell Krueger (USTA)

Ed Corrie (Texas) v. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois)

9:15 a.m.

Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) v. Johnny Hamui (Illinois)

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) v. Raymond Sarmiento (USC)

Pedro Zerbini (Cal) v. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky)

10:30 a.m.

Daniel Nguyen (USC) v. Nassim Slilam (Florida)

Nick Andrews (Cal) v. Hunter Harrington (USTA)

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) v. Jack Sock (USTA)

Carlos Cueto (Cal) v. Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA)

Abe Souza (Illinois) v. Mitchell Frank (USTA)

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) v. Maks Gold (Kentucky)

JT Sundling (USC) v. MacKenzie McDonald (USTA)

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