KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Aggie Austin Krajicek has overcome a first-set loss to beat Ryan Thacher for the singles title in the 18s division
of the USTA boys championships in Kalamazoo.
Krajicek, the Texas A&M sophomore All-American, beat Thacher, of Studio City, Calif., 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 Sunday.
In the 16s singles finals, Jordan Cox of Duluth, Ga., beat Denis
Kudla of Arlington, Va., 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
Krajicek captured his seventh-straight win at Kalamazoo this week –and the wild card entry to the U.S. Open men’s main draw guaranteed to the winner.
“I was able to get a break in the second set which really helped to settle my nerves,” said Krajicek who was seeded fifth in singles and tops in doubles at the prestigious juniors tournament. “I was pretty confident that I had a good shot of winning the match, but I knew Ryan (Thacher) would be a tough competitor after playing him on the junior circuit in the past. Getting ahead in the second and third sets really helped me steam roll from there on.”
The 18-year-old lefty from Brandon, Fla., will return to the Lone Star State tomorrow with plans of training at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station over the next two weeks with Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton and assistant coach Bob McKinley, who both had successful pro careers on the ATP Tour.
Honored as co-Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year and All-Big 12 in singles this past season, Krajicek previously played in the grand slam event in 2006 reaching the finals of junior doubles with partner Jarmere Jenkins of College Park, Ga.
“It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” said Krajicek on making the 128-player U.S. Open main draw for the first time of his tennis career. “It is one of my all-time favorite tournaments. I had a really good week here in Kalamazoo, but it will be nice to come home, start training and get in some really good practices before heading to New York City.”
The U.S. Open, one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, will be held from Aug. 25-Sept. 7 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. This will be the second-straight year in which an Aggie men’s tennis player will compete at the U.S. Open as former Texas A&M All-American Lester Cook (2002-04) played in the qualifying rounds of singles in 2007.