Second-seeded Kenny Thorne held serve the final two sets and defeated No. 4 seed Richard Schmidt, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, yesterday in the men's singles final of the U.S. Tennis Association National Amateur Indoor championships at Fairfax Racquet Club.
Thorne, a sophomore at Georgia Tech from Richmond and champion of the recent Florida Citrus Bowl tournament, lost his serve in the final game of the first set, but prevailed with a consistent first serve and strong play at the net.
"Getting my first serve in was the key," he said. "And I felt I volleyed well. A lot of times I didn't hit firm balls, but I didn't miss many."
Schmidt, the No. 2 player and a senior at Arkansas, said he became fatigued, and his serve wasn't as effective in the second and third sets.
"I didn't go after him on my serve," he said. "After dropping a set like I did the second set, I'm usually refreshed. But I began the third set like the second."
Schmidt took a 6-5 lead in the first set when he reached far to his right at the net and volleyed Thorne's backhand for a cross-court winner. He then broke Thorne's serve to win the set, as Thorne hit a forehand wide and double-faulted for the final two points.
"I knew he hit really hard," said Thorne. "He came up with some shots I didn't think he would get."
Thorne began the second set breaking Schmidt's serve.
He broke again in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead. Tied at 15, he came up with three outstanding shots, including a corss-court return of Schmidt's serve for the final point.
Schmidt held serve for a 1-0 lead in the third set and went to deuce in the next game. Thorne served an ace to take advantage, but Schmidt made it deuce with a hard forehand that Thorne couldn't return. Schmidt netted Thorne's next serve and lost the game when Thorne charged the net and slammed an overhead.
Thorne held for a 4-2 advantage as Schmidt mis-hit one ball and netted three. Thorne returned the favor in the seventh game, however, and Schmidt came within 4-3.
But Thorne hit three winners to make it 5-3, and, after winning the first three points on Schmidt's errors, had little trouble holding serve in the final game. Schmidt fought off one match point with a backhand volley winner, but Thorne ended the match with an ace.