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Nationals Feature
Top Seeds Prevail in the Boys 16 and 18 Nationals

Top seeds arrive in Kalamazoo with extra pressure and expectations. Not only are their matches scheduled for the main stadium courts, where their lower ranked opponents will receive support and sympathy from the underdog-loving crowds, but they are also playing for U.S. Open wild cards.

For the 18s winner, it's the main draw, where he could draw Roger Federer, or as happened to 2004 Kalamazoo champion Scoville Jenkins, defending champion Andy Roddick in a night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. For the 16s winner, a wild card into the U.S. Open junior event is an enticing carrot, especially for those who have not ventured outside the U.S. to garner the ITF point required for entry into junior Grand Slams.

Boys 16s Champion Tennys Sandgren
© ZooTennis.com
For the second year in a row, Kalamazoo's champions held up under that top-seed pressure, with 18s No. 1 Michael McClune and 16s No. 1 Tennys Sandgren capturing the most prestigious titles in U.S. junior tennis along with their spots in New York.

Sandgren, of Gallatin Tenn., wasn't the dominant force he had been in at the Clay Courts a few weeks before, needing three sets to advance in four of his seven victories in Kalamazoo, but he felt he was better for it.

"If you go through a tournament not having any tough matches and you get to a point where you're playing someone really good and it's really close, you don't really have that edge, " said Sandgren, 16.

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