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USTA juniors dominate collegiates

September 24, 2011 01:28 PM
Connor Farren
Mitchell Krueger
Nikko Madregallejo
Luca Corintelli
Alexios Halebian
By Steve Pratt
ST. HELENA, Calif., (Sept. 23, 2011) – The eight juniors the USTA selected to play in the 11th annual Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic are a talented bunch. Just ask Notre Dame men’s coach Bobby Bayliss. 
Bayliss got a close-up look at three of the USTA juniors on Friday during the first day of play at the unique collegiate/junior individual event being played at the Napa Valley Meadowood Resort as each of his team’s matches against the juniors were extended to three sets with the juniors winning two of the three against the Fighting Irish. 
"If we’re going to come all the way out here we may as well play the best we can," said Bayliss, who is beginning his 25th year of coaching at Notre Dame. "The USTA kids are obviously very talented and one thing we don’t see a lot from the juniors typically is good doubles play and we’re seeing some great doubles from them today."
The USTA juniors won five singles matches and lost three and took two of three doubles eight-game pro sets on the day with 17-year-olds Alexios Halebian and Mitchell Krueger leading the way. Both players played the event last year when they also won opening-day matches against USC players. 
Last year the USTA juniors went 6-2 on the first day in the event hosted by University of Cal-Berkeley Coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Director of Tennis Doug King. 
"Last year just proved we could win a lot of these matches, there’s no doubt about it," said Krueger, who is still undecided if he will turn pro or go the college route. "I think we showed that again today."
Kreuger faced a tough-serving Niall Fitzgerald of Notre Dame, losing the first set in a tiebreaker (5) before figuring out the big slice that was kicking him out wide to win the second and third sets by identical 6-1 scores. 
Halebian, from Glendale, Calif., who turned pro in July, took out Tulsa’s Japie De Klerk, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Asked what he told the younger USTA players about the event, Halebian said, "to just be on your best behavior and try your best."
"It feels like a team atmosphere for us playing the college guys," he added. "We just push each other to win as many matches as we can."
Two Californians and the youngest player in the tournament were the other big junior winners on the day as Nikko Madregallejo of Monrovia, Calif., and Connor Farren of Hillsborough, Calif., won their matches, as did 15-year-old Spencer Papa of Edmond, Okla. 
Cal and UCLA players also had success on Day One as they went 3-1. 
The USTA juniors actually came just one point from getting six of eight wins as Luca Corinteli of Alexandria, Va., had two match points against Ben McLachlan of Cal, eventually falling, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
"I had a ton of chances to close the match out," said Corinteli. "You just never knew which way he was going on his serve and I was just trying to stay on top of it and unload, but I got down a break early in the third and I couldn’t get it back and unfortunately that was that."
Corinteli said it’s the first time he’s faced college players. "I really have had no experience playing college guys," he said. "For a guy like me who is considering going pro this is a good chance to see where my game is at. It’s just great to be able to play guys of this caliber. I still have a ton of time to decide on what I’m doing. I’m going to just play it by ear and see how the next 12 or 18 months go. This gives me a good gauge of what level I need to get at to make the big leagues."
Count Bayliss as one who is sold on the event. "I just think it’s absolutely fantastic," he said. "And the venue couldn’t be more special. Our guys were talking about the host families and the homes. It’s like something you’d see in a magazine. You’ve got great competition, great people and warm weather. It’s really the triple crown right there. You couldn’t ask for anything more."
Krueger, who is being hosted by a local St. Helena family along with five of his teammates, said he tried to explain to his other USTA teammates how nice the Napa Valley event was going to be. "I couldn’t stress it enough," he said. "The courts are so great and the atmosphere is so laid back."
EVENT FORMAT: 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 
Ahmed Ismail (Cal) def. Grant Ive (Tulsa), 6-4, 6-4
Nick Andrews (Cal) def. JC Aragone (USTA, Yorba Linda, Calif.), 6-2, 7-5
Ashley Watling (Tulsa) def. Gonzalez Austin (Vanderbilt), 6-2, 6-4
Nikko Madregallejo (USTA, Monrovia, Calif.) def. Casey Watt (Notre Dame), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Greg Andrews (Notre Dame) def. Alex DiValerio (Vanderbilt), 6-3, 6-4
Connor Farren (USTA, Hillsborough, Calif.), def. Brandon Fickey (Tennessee), 6-3, 7-6 (7)
Ed Jones (Tennessee) def. Blake Bazarnik (Vanderbilt), 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Clifford Marsland (Tulsa) def. Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA), 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2
Alexios Halebian (USTA, Glendale, Calif.) def. Japie De Klerk (Tulsa), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Ben McLachlan (Cal) def. Luca Corinteli (USTA, Alexandria, Va.), 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Adrien Puget (UCLA) def. Charlie Jones (Vanderbilt), 6-1, 6-4
Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. Jarryd Chaplin (Tennessee), 6-1, 6-4
Sam Keeton (Notre Dame) def. Michael Redlicki (USTA, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. 
Mitchell Kreuger (USTA) def. Niall Fitzgerald (Notre Dame), 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1
Spencer Papa (USTA, Edmond, Okla.) def. Hunter Reese (Tennessee), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-3
Warren Hardie (UCLA), def. Christopher Konigsfeldt (Cal), 7-5, 6-4
USTA Juniors: 5-3
Cal: 3-1
UCLA: 3-1
Tulsa: 2-2
Notre Dame: 2-2
Tennessee: 1-3
Vanderbilt: 0-4
Friday’s doubles results
Nick Andrews-Ben McLachlan (Cal) def. Ed Jones-Brandon Fickey (Tennessee), 8-5
Alexios Halebian-Luca Corinteli (USTA) def. Charlie Jones- Blake Bazarnik (Vanderbilt), 9-8 (4) 
Gonzalez Austin-Alex DiValerio (Vanderbilt) def. Ashley Watling-Japie De Klerk (Tulsa), 9-7
Mitchell Krueger-Connor Farren (USTA) def. Grant Ive-Clifford Marsland (Tulsa), 8-4
Clay Thompson-Warren Hardie (UCLA) def. Nikko Madregallejo-JC Aragone (USTA), 8-3
DAY 2: Saturday’s Schedule
10:30 a.m.
Ismail (CAL) vs. Watt (ND)
Ive (Tulsa) vs. Madregallejo (USTA)
N. Andrews (Cal) vs. E. Jones (Tenn)
Bazarnik (Vandy) vs. Aragone (USTA)
Watling (Tulsa) vs. B. McLachlan (Cal)
11:30 a.m.
Austin (Vandy) vs. Corinteli (USTA)
12 noon
Marsland (Tulsa) vs. Fickey (Tenn)
Mkrtchian (UCLA) vs. Farren (USTA)
1 p.m. 
De Klerk (Tulsa) vs. G. Andrews (ND)
DiValerio (Vandy) vs. Halebian (USTA)
Thompson (UCLA) vs. Redlicki (USTA)
2 p.m. 
Keeton (ND) vs. Chaplin (Tenn)
C. Jones (Vandy) vs. Krueger (USTA)
Puget (UCLA) vs. Fitzgerald (ND)
3 p.m.
Konigsfeldt (Cal) vs. Reese (Tenn)
Hardie (UCLA) vs. Papa (USTA)
DAY 3: Sunday’s Schedule
8:00 a.m.
Ismail (Cal) vs. Madregallejo (USTA)
Watt (ND) vs. Ive (Tulsa)
N. Andrews (Cal) vs. Bazarnik (Vandy)
E. Jones (Tenn) vs. Aragone (USTA)
De Klerk (Tulsa) vs. DiValerio (Vandy)
G. Andrews (ND) vs. Halebian (USTA)
9:15 a.m.
Watling (Tulsa) vs. Corinteli (USTA)
B. McLachlan (Cal) vs. Austin (Vandy)
Marsland (Tulsa) vs. Farren (USTA)
Mkrtchian (UCLA) vs. Fickey (Tenn)
10:30 a.m.
Thompson (UCLA) vs. Keeton (ND)
Chaplin (Tenn) vs. Redlicki (USTA)
C. Jones (Vandy) vs. Fitzgerald (ND)
Puget (UCLA) vs. Krueger (USTA)
Konigsfeldt (Cal) vs. Papa (USTA)
Hardie (UCLA) vs. Reese (Tenn)


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