Before his semifinal match in the USTA National Boys' 16 Clay Court Championships against Churchill junior Jared Pinsky, Tyler Hochwalt sat near the court, bobbing his head and tapping his feet. Rapper Lil John was one of the day's featured artists playing on his iPod. The energetic music flowing through his ears got his energy level up.
Hochwalt, the No. 9 seed from Scottsdale, Ariz., defeated Pinsky, 6-3, 6-4, on the green clay at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville.
"He played real well today," the fifth-seeded Pinsky said of Hochwalt, who will play No. 17 seed Waylon Chin today in the final at 10:30 a.m. "I just didn't play smart enough. I was going for shots too early in the point, trying to get too many winners and not working the point like I should have."
Hochwalt's serve was a factor in the win, as he served several aces. In the final game of the first set, Hochwalt drilled three.
"This [match] was a lot tougher," said Hochwalt, who wasn't really tested in the quarterfinals or the round of 16, dropping just four games in the two matches. "Jared made me earn it."
The win was a bit of a relief for Hochwalt, who hasn't had luck closing out opponents. At the Easter Bowl, a tournament held in Palm Springs, Fla., this April, Hochwalt was leading No. 1 seed William Guzick 5-0 in the second set after winning the first, 6-4. Guzick saved several match points to win, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1. Said Hochwalt, "I got one under my belt now so it feels good going into the match [today] because I know I can close matches out."
Later in the day, Hochwalt won the boys' 16 doubles final, teaming with Guzick to top Calon Alpar and Alexander Sanborn, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Pinsky, who plans to begin training this week for August's USTA Boys' 18 and 16 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., will take on Christopher Price at 9 a.m. for third place in the clay championship.
No. 3 seed Alexander Clayton continued his dominance in the boys' 18 singles bracket at Woodmont, closing out Sasha Ermakov, 6-3, 6-2. Clayton will face No. 9 seed Attila Bucko in the final today. Bucko beat University of Maryland incoming freshman Andrew Orban, 6-2, 6-4.
Orban did, however, make it to the boys' 18 doubles finals. Orban and partner Michael Venus defeated Clancy Shields and Christian Welte, 6-2, 6-3.