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Clay Court Championship Week
Kerznerman Prevails in Boys 18s Clays

Danny Kerznerman entered the recent USTA Boys' 18 National Clay Court Championships at the Delray Beach Tennis Center brimming with confidence.

Boys 18s champion Daniel Kerznerman
© Gary Curreri
The 17-year-old Brooklyn, New York native then found himself down 6-2; 4-2 in the semifinals against second-seeded Henrik Wiersholm (Kirkland, WA) before rallying for a 2-6; 7-5; 6-0 victory to advance to the final. Kerznerman went on to capture the second gold ball of his career with a 6-4; 6-3 victory over Mitch Stewart (Federal Way, WA) in the championship.

"I was down 6-2, 4-2 and getting crushed in the semifinal," Kerznerman said. "I thought I was done. I didn't think I was going to do it. I think he got really tired, and I got a second wind from somewhere. He got really nervous and I couldn't miss. In the third set, he couldn't move."

"I wasn't tired waking up, but I got really tired in the finals," Kerznerman added. "If I played a different type of player I think I would have been fine, but the way we both played the points were crazy long."

Kerznerman opened the finals by breaking Stewart, who captured the Boys' 16 National Clay Court title in Delray Beach last year. Kerznerman held serve to go up 2-0 before Stewart rallied to take a 4-3 lead. Kerznerman broke Stewart when he painted the line on a passing shot and then closed out the first set when he held serve at love when Stewart's cross-court shot was wide.

Kerznerman coasted to a 5-0 lead in the second set before Stewart battled back to win three consecutive games as he broke Kerznerman twice. Kerznerman called for a medical timeout for an ailing hip and Stewart had two double faults on serve and Kerznerman picked up the victory in the match that lasted one-hour, 40 minutes.

"This is huge," Kerznerman said. "I haven't won a big event like this in a while. I was working harder than anyone else was working, but my results weren't where they should be and now it's paid off. It feels awesome!

"That was the most running and the most physical match I have played in my whole life," Kerznerman continued. "We both play the same, pretty much the exact same tennis. Every time I had a chance, I tried to relax and rest. I was having trouble breathing at times. I was dead."

Kerznerman trained in Florida for three years with the USTA Training Center in nearby Boca Raton until he moved back to New York nearly two years ago. He said Stewart was quicker.

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Page updated on Wednesday, August 12, 2015
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