Several Firsts at the Midwest Closed
by Julie Wrege, 28 June 2008
The USTA Midwest Section is rich in tradition, and one of the most long-standing is this section's closed championships. Many famous players have competed here in the past, including tennis greats like Aaron Krickstein, Todd Martin, Malavi Washington, Laura Granville, Amy Frazier, and Shawn Foltz.
With so much history, it is unusual for unique storylines to unfold. This week, there were two: (1) an unseeded player won the Boys' 18 Singles, and no one connected with the tournament can remember a non-seed coming through the draw, and (2) a pair of local players not only made the finals in their age divisions, but both were victorious.
The four older age divisions of this closed were played at the Washington Township Schools in Indianapolis, Ind. The main host site was the 30-court Barbara S. Wynne Tennis Center next to North Central High School.
Boys 18 Singles
The daily surprise in singles was that two unseeded players marched through the Boys' 18s. Nelson Vick (Grafton, Wisc.) split sets only once - in the quarterfinals against Mac McAnulty (Chicago, Ill.) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) - and he polished off the third-seeded Denis Bogatov (Gurnee, Ill.) in the semis that same afternoon 6-2, 6-2.
Boys' 18s champion Nelson Vick
© Doug Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
"I have been working a lot with my uncle recently," said Vick. "He played #1 singles in college at Gustavus
"We have tried to change my game up, because a lot of times I would just bang the ball as hard as I could. Now I am trying to add some different dimensions to my game so I do not have to use up so much energy to win points. That approach has really helped me throughout this whole tournament."
Vick's opponent in the final was unseeded Peter Kobelt (New Albany, Ohio), who likewise needed three sets only once to reach the final - in his semifinal upset of the top seed Billy Bertha (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Early in this match Kobelt did not look as sharp as he had that morning when he defeated #7 seed Gregory Andrews (Richland, Mich.) 7-5, 6-4. But Vick started the second set breaking Bertha's serve and holding his own. He upped the level of his play several notches and a break was all he needed to take both sets.