Rojer Into US Open Doubles Final; US Open Juniors Update; American Collegiate Invitational; PlaySight Additions; William Boe-Wiegaard New Sacred Heart Coach; Pro Circuit Recap (Last Week)Written by Bobby Knight
Former UCLA Bruin Jean-Julien Rojer ('00-'02) advanced to his first US Open doubles final after he and his doubles partner Horia Tecau came back from a set down to oust the top seeds John Peers (Baylor '11) and Henri Kontinen. Peers and Kontinen won the opening set 6-1 in just 22 minutes and then the second set would see 12 straight holds to set up a tiebreak. Peers and Kontinen won the first three points of the tiebreak and ultimately led 5-3 but Rojer and Tecau won the next four points to take it 7-5.
In the third set, Rojer and Tecau led 3-1* but Peers and Kontinen won the next three to go in front 4-3. Rojer and Tecau retook the lead at 6-5, after breaking from 15/40, and then they served it out at love to win it 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. Rojer and Tecau, who won their first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2015, will face Feliciano and Marc Lopez (no relation) in Friday's final which begins at noon eastern.
For the first time since Todd Martin (Northwestern) at the 2000 US Open, we have a player with college ties in the semifinals at a grand slam. Former Illinois Fighting Illini Kevin Anderson ('05-'07) busted through the ceiling late Tuesday night with a tough four-set win over American Sam Querrey. Due to the Venus Williams/Petra Kvitova match running late, Anderson and Querrey didn't take the court until almost 10:30 p.m. ET and by the time the match ended at 1:51 a.m. there was only around 2000 fans left in the almost 24000 seat Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Anderson dictated play all night long with the 6 foot 8 inch South African crushing the ball off both wings. The opening set was dominated by the server with both guys holding at ease with neither facing a break point. Querrey jumped out to a 5-2* lead in the tiebreak but Anderson reeled off the final five points to take it 7-5.
Both guys started returning better in the second set with Anderson breaking Querrey from 30/40 to go up 3-2 and then he'd hold for 4-2. Querrey took the next three games, which included a break from 30/40, to go up 5-4 and after a few more holds the set would end up in a tiebreak. Querrey opened up a *6-1 in the tiebreak but Anderson came charging back and evened it at 6-6. It looked like Anderson would go up 7-6 because he was in total control of the next point but he pushed an open volley just long to give Querrey a sixth set point. Anderson won both points on his serve to go up 8-7, which gave him his only set point, but Querrey managed to pull out the tiebreak 11-9.
In the third set, Anderson really started to put the heat on Querrey's second serve which led to five double faults. Anderson won 10 of 15 points on Querrey's second serve and got the break he needed on Querrey's 2-3 service game. Anderson held two more times, both from 40/15, to take the set 6-3.
The fourth set looked a lot like the first set with both guys holding serve with relative ease. Neither faced a break point and only two of 12 service games reached deuce. In the tiebreak, Anderson struck first when a Querrey unforced error made it 3-1 and it'd be 4-2 at the changeover. Some big hitting by Querrey won him the next three points but a couple of big serves by Anderson gave him his first match point at 6-5. The server won the next four points but Anderson would close it out 9-7 after Querrey sent a forehand well long.
Kevin Anderson, who spent three years at Illinois from 2005 to 2007, equaled his career-best result at a grand slam and moved into the quarterfinals at the 2017 US Open with a four-set win over Italy's Paolo Lorenzi. Anderson broke Lorenzi once in each of the first two sets and after 1 hour and 14 minutes of play he led 6-4, 6-3. Lorenzi earned his first break of the match in the third set and despite Anderson breaking back Lorenzi would take the set in a tiebreak 7-4. In the fourth set, Lorenzi broke Anderson to go up 3-2 but Anderson broke back and held for 4-3. After a Lorenzi hold, Anderson would hold and then break to close it out 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.
Anderson hit 18 aces and had 54 total winners versus 48 unforced errors while Lorenzi had 9 double faults and hit 21 winners versus 30 unforced errors. Next up for Anderson will be American Sam Querrey after Querrey crushed Mischa Zverev in just 1 hour and 16 minutes. Querrey leads the H2H 9-6 but Anderson won the most recent meeting last month in Montreal in straight sets. This will be the second meeting between the two at a grand slam with Querrey defeating Anderson in five sets in the round of 16 at Wimbledon just two months ago.
Kevin Anderson was one of Friday's big winners at the US Open with the former Illini rolling into the fourth round with a sound straight set win over Croatia's Borna Coric. The opening set was the closest of the three with Anderson only winning three more points than Coric but the South African cashed in his one break opportunity to close out the set 6-4.
After not facing any break points in the first set, Anderson would face five in his 2-2 service game in the second set. Anderson managed to come all the way back from 0/40 down to get the hold and then three games later he'd break Coric from 30/40 to go up 5-3. Anderson held at love to take the second 6-3.
In the third set, Anderson broke Coric from 15/40 to go up 2-1 and he'd add one more break in a one-deuce game to go up 5-2. Anderson served it out from 40/30 with a service winner to take it 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and 49 minutes. Anderson's career best result at a grand slam came in 2015 when he made the quarters in Flushing Meadow and he now sits one win away from equaling that result. Next up is Italy's Paolo Lorenzi (ATP 40) with Anderson leading the H2H 3-0 including a straight set win on clay this past May in Geneva.
Three former college tennis players moved into the third round at the 2017 US Open with none more impressive than Jennifer Brady. The former UCLA Bruin hammered the No. 23 seed Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-1 in just 56 minutes. Brady won 56 of 82 points (.683) and won 70% of the points on Strycova's second serve. Brady has played in all four majors this year with her best performance thus far coming in Australia when she made the round of 16. Brady's third round opponent will be WTA #57 Monica Niculescu with the match scheduled for Saturday.
The World University Games wrapped up on Monday in Taiwan with several U.S. college players bringing home medals. Jason Jung, who was born in Torrance (Calif) and played at Michigan from 2007 to 2011, won the gold medal in singles after not dropping a set during the whole competition. Jung was representing Chinese Taipei and even though he graduated from Michigan in 2011 he was eligible since is enrolled at a university in Taiwan.
Mississippi State rising junior Nuno Borges won the bronze medal in men's singles after making it to the semifinals before falling to Jung 6-3, 6-3. Borges defeated current U.S. collegians Jackie Tang (Columbia) and Yuya Ito (Texas) on his way to the semifinals.
Jack Findel-Hawkins (North Florida '17) and Luke Johnson (Clemson '16) picked up a silver medal for Great Britain after a narrow 6-1, 3-6, 10-7 loss to Russia's Richard Muzaev and Aslan Karatsev in the gold medal match. Findel-Hawkins and Johnson ousted the top seeds in the quarterfinals and didn't drop a set until the finals.