Home Court Advantage: Skylar Morton Wins Twice, Damon Gooch wins Men's Title
After three grueling days at Tennis Center at College Park, Mid-Atlantic has crowned its three champions in the US Open National Playoffs Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying tournament. In a unique twist, all of them train at the Tennis Center.
South African and Bethesda, MD, resident Damon Gooch won the men’s title against David Emery of Fairfax, VA. Gooch needed four match points before we has able to close it out at 6-4 7-6(4). The highly competitive match was by far the best of the tournament. A former Elon University standout, Gooch started training at TCCP in the beginning of 2011. He was drawn to the facility by their programs, especially their emphasis on physical training, which helped get him the win in 95 degree heat.
Skylar Morton of Bethesda, MD, was a winner twice over. In the women’s, final Morton rolled through the first set 6-0 against Spencer Liang (Potomac, MD). It looked like Liang had run out of gas after a nearly three hour long singles semifinal and a mixed doubles semifinal earlier in the day. However, Liang found another gear in the second set going up a double break. Morton was able to get both of those breaks back—the crucial one at 4-5 with Liang serving for the second set. Morton continued to push, taking the next two games to win the second set and the match 7-5. As twilight set in, Morton returned to the courts with her partner from Virginia Tech, Patrick Daciek (Severna Park, MD), to pull out a quick win against brother-sister duo Tara and Venkat Iyer, winning the mixed doubles title 6-0 6-1. Prior to the tournament Morton and Daciek had never played doubles together, but they knew each other from years of training at the Junior Tennis Champions Center. They thought they'd find success as partners and they were right.
Earlier in the day, Emery’s game was red hot as he took the first nine games of his semifinal match against Venkat Iyer. The final score was 6-0 6-3 and by chance of scheduling and rapid play, Emery was our first winner of the day for the third day in a row. In the other semifinal, Gooch defeated recent University of Notre Dame graduate Dan Stahl (Bethesda, MD) 6-3 6-3.
On the women’s side, Liang come back from a set and break down against Californian Ariel Beckerman to win 5-7 7-6(6) 6-1. The match lasted almost three hours. On the other side of the draw, Morton’s power was too much for Sydney Smith as she won 6-2 6-3. Smith failed to capitalize on a few break point opportunities in the second set.
Gooch, Morton and Daciek will play in the US Open National Playoffs Championships in their respective division in New Haven, CT at Yale University. The Playoffs will be during the New Haven Open at Yale, a WTA event, part of the Olympus US Open Series. Men’s and women’s singles will play August 18-21 and mixed doubles will play August 24-27. The winner of each Singles Championship (1 male, 1 female) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2011 US Open Qualifying Tournament (August 23-26) and the winner of the Mixed Doubles Championship (1 team) will receive a wild card entry to compete in the 2011 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship (commencing August 31) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
In the mixed doubles consolation draw final, Patrick Brick and Melissa Cornett bested Tiana Smith and Scott Moerschbacher 6-1 6-2. In an international men’s singles consolation draw final that was played Sunday, Australian Adrian Baluyot defeated Arvind Venugopal (Rockville, MD)from India 6-0 6-0.
Good luck to all of our winners at the US Open National Playoffs in New Haven. Photos will be posted later this week.