Krueger Falls to Qualifier Ram-Harel, Qualifiers Mmoh and Black Get First US Open Main Draw Wins
With No. 15 seed Mackenzie McDonald losing Sunday and No. 14 seed Noah Rubin dropping a 6-3, 6-3 decision to 2011 semifinalist Kyle Edmund of Great Britain earlier today, it was up to No. 5 seed Mitchell Krueger to assure a US boys seed in the second round. The Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist couldn't deliver however, falling to qualifier Or Ram-Harel of Israel 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in front of a large and vocal Court 13 crowd, whose loyalties were evenly divided.
"In the beginning it surprised me how many people were for him," said Krueger. "I'm in the US, playing a guy who is from Israel, lives in Israel and has no ties here and they were cheering for him. But it got better when I got off to a good start in the second set."
Krueger didn't maintain that good start, but he managed to break Ram-Harel serving at 5-6 to even the match.
In the fourth game of the third set, Krueger was unable to convert either of two break points, and was broken himself in the next game, with a double fault, and a backhand error, one of many he made in the final set, contributing to the break.
Ram-Harel hit with a lot of topspin and came up with very few winners in the final set, but Krueger, playing in his final junior match, could not find a way to build any momentum. Several more unforced errors put him down two match points serving at 3-5, and although he saved the first with a spectacular backhand down the line winner off an excellent offensive lob, he couldn't duplicate that in the next point, when his forehand reply to Ram-Harel's return went long.
Krueger was philosophical about the loss and said he wouldn't trade his win in the men's qualifying tournament for a victory in the juniors.
"You can always learn things from a match win or lose," said Krueger when asked what he might have done better. "Maybe being more aggressive, coming forward more. But I'm glad I could end [my junior career] in New York, just maybe not this early."