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Old 09-02-2013, 02:53 PM   #181
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Default No U.S. Men in Final 16 Is a First at Open

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/sp...open.html?_r=0



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After the other 14 American men bowed out in the first six days of the United States Open, the burden of 133 years rested on the shoulders of Tim Smyczek.
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From the action on the hardcourts to what's being served at the food courts, Straight Sets is ready to serve your U.S. Open coverage.

Smyczek, a 109th-ranked wild-card entry, was one of only three American men to make the third round in the singles draw. After John Isner and Jack Sock lost Saturday, Smyczek stood alone on the seventh day of the tournament.

Smyczek, who had never made the third round of a Grand Slam event or even been ranked inside the top 100, looked to be enjoying the role of torchbearer. But his run, as well as that of the American men, ended in a 3-hour-24-minute heartbreaker to 43rd-ranked Marcel Granollers, 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5.

The result silenced a crowd that had been chanting “U-S-A!” for much of the night, and featured five well-prepared fans who spelled out “S-M-Y-!-!” on their shirts.

It also meant the American men would not be represented in the Round of 16 here for the first time since the event began in 1881.

“Couldn’t be much more disappointed right now,” Smyczek said after the loss. “But, you know, these are kind of the types of situations that you dream about. I mean, it was pretty cool to be the last American in the draw, male, for a day.”

Smyczek had looked in command of the match after winning the third set, 6-0, and then taking a 4-1 lead in the final set. Three times, he was a point from match point at 5-4 in the third set, but Granollers held, broke and then held at love to seal the victory.

The first United States Championships tournament in 1881 featured a 25-player singles draw, compared with this year’s 128-player draw. In that first year, the event made a net profit of $4.32, not even enough to buy a cup of gelato at this year’s tournament. But through all the changes, an American man in the Round of 16 had been a constant.

The season’s final Grand Slam event ends a year in which no American man made the Round of 16 at any of the four Grand Slams. Only one American man reached the third round of each of the first two Grand Slams: Sam Querrey at the Australian Open and Isner at the French Open; they each defeated a fellow American in the second round of those tournaments. At Wimbledon, no American men reached the third round, the first time that had happened since 1912.

Smyczek, however, was largely sanguine about the country’s hopes.

“At the very top of the game American tennis is a little bit behind where it has been in years past,” he said. “I know we got really spoiled with Pete, Andre, all those guys — and Andy — for so many years. But, you know, I think it’s also a really exciting time, because there’s five, six, seven guys that are hovering right around 100 and have a good chance to make a big breakthrough.”

When asked about the American men’s lack of success at majors this year, Smyczek pointed to a bigger picture.

“I think it’s tough being judged by just the Grand Slams,” he said, citing recent success by Isner, who won a title in Atlanta and made the finals in Washington and Cincinnati.

But with Isner out, Smyczek was the one left to turn the lights out on his country’s biggest tournament, an unfamiliar experience for a player who has spent most of his career at Challenger events and qualifying draws.

“I’d never heard somebody yell out from the stands, ‘You’re our last hope!’ ” he said with a smile. “That was new.”
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:21 AM   #182
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Default From The Eyes Of The “Die Hard” Fans

I can relate. Tim is so likeable it is hard to root against him.



http://tennisnerds.com/2013/09/02/fr...die-hard-fans/

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It was a Monday morning in February 2012 when I saw Tim Smyczek for the first time. A friend and I were going to our first ATP World Tour tournament, the SAP Open in San Jose, California. We had no idea who Smyczek was, but on initial glance he looked like a pretty cool guy. The atmosphere in the indoor arena known as the “shark tank” was similar to a golf course; utterly silent. His match wasn’t even in the main draw, he was playing in the final round of quallies. He beat Ricardas Berankis that day, and with very few fans in the arena, I was able to get an autograph from Tim. His ranking at the time of that match? Number 301 in the world.

From that day I on I started to follow Smyczek’s results week to week. They were up and down. One week he would win a couple main draw matches, and the next he would lose first round of a challenger. A huge step in his career was this year at the Australian Open. After being awarded a lucky loser, Tim won his first round of the main draw and played David Ferrer in the second. Ferrer has a game that Smyczek strives to have, with both players being very small. Tim took a set in that match, and I personally began to believe that Tim could be a great player.

My friends and I bought tickets to the US Open in June. We really are “Tennis Nerds”, and I was pumped to experience my first Grand Slam. When I saw that Tim could potentially get to the third round, I started to think of what we could do to support him. Our friends from Ithaca College a year ago had done shirts for S-O-C-K, and I thought that doing the same for “S-M-Y” would be even better because very few fans actually know Tim. After watching great tennis all weekend, it was Sunday evening, around 6 p.m. Smyczek and Marcel Granollers were walking onto court, and we had front row seats. As I looked around the Grandstand, I was disappointed. Most fans had elected to instead watch the Haas-Youzhny match on Armstrong. Smyczek was the last American man left in the draw, and no more than 1000 people were there to watch.

I shrugged my shoulders and told my friends, “Looks like we’re going to have to carry them(the crowd).” From the opening game, all five of us were in full support of the man we like to call Smy. Tim lost the first set after being up a break, which was disappointing. He got down a break to open the second, but broke right back to 1-2. At that point, somebody from Smyczek’s camp came over to us and said, “We need you guys to get this place nuts.” That was all we needed. I was going to wear the “M” with more pride than ever.

From that point on, after every changeover, we lead a different chant. From “Let’s go tim”, to “Smy-Czek”, to “U-S-A”. Smy started to play better, absolutely crushing his forehand like I had never seen him do before. He took the second set 6-3. At the end of the set, Mike Haber, a High Performance Evaluator for the USTA, came over and told us to “make this like a college match”, with the Grandstand being Smy’s home court. Things were starting to get crazy.

Tim started playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen from him. He won the third set 6-0 and he was doing so it some style. He was painting lines and crushing serves, not exactly what you expect from a guy who is 5’9 (and that’s generous). The crowd was not only getting behind Smy but behind us; they were engaging like I’ve never seen at a US tennis match. We ran around the Stadium, getting people out of their seats and into uproar. The atmosphere was electric. It could even be described at epic. People started to file into the Grandstand, hearing how loud we were getting.

Granollers played a very strong fourth set, and took it 6-3. Still, we believed. Tim played inspiring tennis to go up 4-1. We were going nuts; a couple of us including myself voices were shot. That didn’t matter, we were so invested into the match that nothing else mattered. We were literally heartbroken when Smy dropped the match 5-7 in the fifth.

But looking back on it all, it was the greatest sporting experience of my life. Tim Smyczek is exactly the kind of player you want to root for. He plays the game the right way, has a funny personality, and is pure class. His tweets today represented exactly the kind of guy he is.

Quote:
Tim Smyczek @timsmyczek

Touched by all the messages I've received. Last night was the most disappointing loss of my life but also the best experience of my career.
Quote:
Tim Smyczek @timsmyczek

Never felt an atmosphere like that. Thanks to everyone behind me. Sorry I couldn't do it for America. Can't wait to try again next year.
I’ve never rooted for a player harder than I did last night. Tim will likely move into the top 100 for the first time when the rankings come our next monday, something most people will take for granted. I certainly won’t. People shouldn’t be Smyczek fan’s just because he’s an American, but because he’s everything an American should be.

One last time: FIGHT SMY!
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:00 AM   #183
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Amazing US Open Experience!

http://blog.tenniswarehouse.com/tour...en-experience/

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Hi everyone,

I just want to start out by thanking everyone who’s made the past couple of weeks such an incredible experience. The outpouring of love and support has been both humbling and heartwarming. It’s such an amazing feeling to have so many people behind you.



Saturday night was a three and a half hour adrenaline rush. I’ve never been a part of something that special on a tennis court. I found it impossible to feel tired with a crowd like that carrying me the entire way. I can tell that feeling is addictive and I can’t wait to be in that same position again. I got chills every time the crowd started chanting, “USA, USA!” I wanted so badly to win that match for all the people cheering me on, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

There’s a reason that Pete and Andre and Andy used to love coming to New York every summer and I feel like I can in some small way relate to that. And I can’t wait to be back next year to do it all over again.

Tim
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:47 AM   #184
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Video version in the link: http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/int...087822927.html

An interview with: TIM SMYCZEK
Sunday, September 1, 2013
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Q. What was that like for you out there?

TIM SMYCZEK: It was pretty cool. I mean, obviously it was pretty disappointing to lose, especially being up a break in the fifth. But, yeah, you know, I can't wait to come back next year. It's a really cool feeling. You know, like I said, couldn't be much more disappointed right now, but, you know, these are kind of the types of situations that you dream about. I mean, it was pretty cool to be the last American in the draw, male, for a day. But, you know, got a little taste of it. It's where I want to be. Can't wait to do it again.

Q. What was that like, being the last American guy?

TIM SMYCZEK: I mean, just 'cause of the schedule, I was later in the week. But, no, it was a cool feeling. You know, got a little taste of maybe what John or Sam or Andy went through for so many years, or James sometimes just a little taste. Love to have more of it.

Q. What in your mind did he do well or you not do well in the fifth set?


TIM SMYCZEK: He came up with some amazing shots, like some passes. You know, I didn't feel like I played a bad game to get broken back, but maybe one or two loose errors. He just came up with some stuff, I think. Before I knew it, we were back on serve after I missed like a mid court forehand. But, you know, I had a chance to break the next game, I think. He served his way out of it. I might have missed a return, too.

Q. Were you surprised he could hang in there? He played two five setters coming in.

TIM SMYCZEK: I think he's considered one of the fitter guys on tour. I was a little surprised that I won the third set so easily 'cause I did think then he showed signs of slowing down. But he came right back out and he was as good as ever, so...

Q. You were talking about having another chance to break. There was one point I think you were down to one challenge where it looked like I think it was a backhand might've caught the line. Do you remember if you thought about asking for that one?


TIM SMYCZEK: I don't remember.

Q. It was 4-3, two breakpoints, and it was the second one.

TIM SMYCZEK: I think I missed a backhand a 15-40. As soon as I hit it, I thought I missed it. So I don't know if I should have challenged. Did you think it was pretty close?

Q. You only had one left. It was sort of a tough one.

TIM SMYCZEK: You know, I think at deuce he hit an ace wide and I thought about challenging. I realized I was down to my last challenge.

Q. Didn't cross your mind then?

TIM SMYCZEK: No, not on the backhand. Felt like I missed that one.

Q. Obviously it's not on you that you were the last American in there. Since you are, do you go around thinking about American tennis very much or are you just doing your own thing?

TIM SMYCZEK: Yeah, not really. I talked about this with Doug a couple weeks ago, and I told him then that I think, you know, at the very top of the game American tennis is a little bit behind where it has been in years past. I know we got really spoiled with Pete, Andre, all those guys, and Andy for so many years. But, you know, I think it's also a really exciting time because there's five, six, seven guys that are hovering right around 100 and have a good chance to make a big breakthrough. You have Harrison back in the top 100, you have Sock who is doing really well, and a bunch of guys just outside. I think you can look for American tennis to be on the upswing again real soon. And John and Sam, you know, I think John fell out of the Top 20 for a week; now he's at 13. Sam will be back there soon. He's too good a player not to be. I think we're in a pretty solid place right now.

Q. This is the first time there's not been an American man in the fourth round of a Grand Slam ever.

TIM SMYCZEK: This year, yeah. You know, I think it's tough being judged by just the Grand Slams. 'Cause if you look at it, John has had an unbelievable summer. He won Atlanta; he finaled Cincinnati; he finaled Washington. He just had a rough match third round against Kohlschreiber here. I think to be judged on just the Grand Slams alone isn't quite fair. But I do understand Grand Slams are what makes a career. I think you can expect that to change next year.

Q. What were some of the new experiences for you being the last American guy here?

TIM SMYCZEK: I never heard somebody yell out from the stands, You're our last hope. That was new (smiling). But it really happened pretty fast 'cause those other guys just lost yesterday, so...

Q. Were you feeling any pressure out there? Didn't look like it.

TIM SMYCZEK: I don't think so. Played second round and this round guys ranked ahead of me, guys that have been into the second week of slams before. I didn't feel pressure like that. I mean, maybe when I got broken back in the fifth I might have felt a little pressure, but not so far as that I should dial it back a little bit. Early on in the first set, I was just working points and playing real consistent with him, and he was killing me at that. I knew that to win points I had to not necessarily play higher risk but, you know, maybe big targets, up the pace a little bit.

Q. What was it like to have the entire place cheering for you?

TIM SMYCZEK: It was really neat. You know, I never had to step up to the baseline with goosebumps so many times. Like I said earlier, I got a taste of it. I can't wait to come back again next year and do it because it was a really special feeling. You know, I used to hear James and Andy talk about how playing Davis Cup was one of the greatest experiences of their careers. I didn't quite get that before. But I think now, you know, it's a pretty special feeling to have everybody behind you like that.

Q. Not to pin it on you again, but you see some positive signs. It's fair to say we're sort of hitting bottom here and the only way is up.

TIM SMYCZEK: Yeah, for sure. I've, this summer, been up a break against three or four guys and lost. You know, gonna take a couple days off and maybe take a step back and think about some things and just really take the positives. I think it might be hard to think about them right now, but I think there are some. But, yeah, I'll definitely take a step back and analyze.

Q. I was talking a little bit more about American tennis, men's tennis in general.

TIM SMYCZEK: No, no, I mean, I think John is 13.

Q. 17.

TIM SMYCZEK: Oh, 17. Okay. Well, 17, 13. I really don't. I really think we're in a good place. I think that you can expect some guys that are ranked around 80, 90, 100, to really make a jump later this year and in the early part of next year. You know, I think John and Sam are really going to come back in a big way.

Q. How did this tournament make you reassess yourself?


TIM SMYCZEK: I saw a stat earlier that there's something like 10 guys in the third round that are over 30. Does that sound right? I mean, I think I'm not a young guy anymore, but it's really inspiring to see some of these players play their best tennis after 30. Hopefully my body stays healthy. That might be an opportunity for me to extend my career and hopefully my best tennis is ahead of me.

Q. Fall schedule?

TIM SMYCZEK: Got a couple weeks off and then those challengers in Northern Cal. Then I'm not quite sure after that. Either play some of the tour events in Europe or the challengers, the indoor challengers.

Q. Will you eagerly be awaiting the rankings next week?


TIM SMYCZEK: No, I actually I'm pretty sure I didn't, because I was defending a qually and won a round last year.

Q. There's no rankings this week, so you have to wait.


TIM SMYCZEK: Yeah, no, I mean, I got a couple weeks with no points coming off. Good chance next few weeks, I hope.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:15 AM   #185
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Tim already done great Job but just one game away from 4th Round, THis maybe his only chance to make 4th Round in a slam
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:17 AM   #186
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Yes true. Felt so sad about him in this match vs the Spanish vulture. Do you have any information of his upcoming commitments. He is not in the list for any of the challengers this week or the ATP 250 events whose entry list is weak and his ranking can secure him a direct MD spot. He seems like playing just ATP 250 or 500 events in the USA. Saw some of his tweets he made a joke of taking a boat to Australia in January because he hates the air travel.
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:43 PM   #187
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Not sure but I think Tim will play the American challengers this fall (has quite a bit of points to defend).
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:42 PM   #188
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Question and Answer: Tim Smyczek
http://tennisnerds.com/2013/09/11/qu...r-tim-smyczek/



As many of our readers know, Tim Smyczek is one of our favorite players. We were able to support him in his epic third round encounter against Marcel Granollers. He’s done so much for us at The Tennis Nerds, and he’s back again. He is the second American Man in this installment of our Q and A series. He gave us some incredibly good answers and even though it was through email, it was the greatest interview I’ve been apart of. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Player: Tim Smyczek (USA)

Height: 5’9

Current Ranking: 104

Turned Professional: 2006

Q: When you’re playing in front of crowds that are going crazy in support of you, how does it affect you and your game? Does it inspire you? Do you get nervous?

A: I think a supportive crowd can only help you. It’s inspirational. I had some great crowds my first two rounds of the Open this year, but nothing could compare to the third round. From the moment I walked onto the Grandstand I could feel them carrying me. I told someone last week that I’ve never had to play with goosebumps for so long. They were doing the wave during changeovers, chanting “USA, USA” and “SMY-CZEK.” I had so much adrenaline pumping. In a long five setter I never felt tired and I was so wired after the match that I don’t think I got to sleep until about 5am.

Q: I recently found out that as a Junior player you often played doubles with your coach, Billy Heiser. First off, that is so cool. Second, how is your relationship with Billy as your coach? Does the fact that you guys competed together in the past help or hurt the way you’re coached?

A: Billy has been my best friend for a long time. I first played him in a tournament in East Lansing, Michigan when I was 10 or 11 and we had a three set battle. When we first started working together last summer, it was a little bit difficult to navigate our relationship because we were going from being best friends to player/coach. I had trouble telling him to do things at first, and I’m sure he struggled with the same things. But in the long run I think it has helped us to be so close. We’ve gotten good at compartmentalizing. It’s a lonely life out on tour and it helps to have your best friend with you.

Q: Speaking of the Juniors, you had quite a bit of success in the ITF’s as a young kid. You got up to a career high #14 in 2005. What challenges did you face in translating Junior success to making it on the professional tour?

A: Tennis at the professional level is just a different game than at the junior level. It was nice to play all of the grand slams as a junior, and when I got to them at the professional level it was helpful to have seen the sights and played on the courts, but for me that’s really where it ended. Unfortunately, I came out of the juniors thinking that making it in the pros would be easy. Needless to say, I was in for a rude awakening.

Q: At 25, you can’t really be called a “young gun”, but with so many guys 30+ having great results, how excited are you for the rest of your career? Do you think tennis really is getting “older”?

A: Absolutely. I think I saw a stat that said there were 10 players 30 or older in the round of 32 at the US Open. That’s pretty incredible. Doing really well at a young age is becoming more and more rare. I think I saw another stat that said there are no players under 20 in the top 200. It’s really inspiring to see some players playing their best tennis later on in their careers, as well as extending their careers well into their 30′s. I think that’s definitely the direction that tennis is going at the moment. I’ve developed later than a lot of other players and I’m really excited for this next stage in my career.

Q:You’ve been asked this repeatedly over the last week and a half, but how does reaching the third round of a grand slam for the first time give you confidence for the rest of the year?

A: It was incredible to reach the third round. It just instills some belief in myself and reenforces what I’ve been trying to convince myself of for a long time. I’m hitting the ball great, but competing even better. Winning a tough four setter and then coming back and winning a four hour five setter gives me a lot of confidence in my physical condition. I’m looking forward to playing five or six more tournaments this year and really continuing to compete and improve and set myself up for next year.

Q: You’re a short guy. You’ve said in the past that one of your strengths is your speed. Were you a great natural athlete growing up, or did you have to work more in the weight room and off the court to improve your quickness?

A: I’ve been blessed with some athleticism, but being a small guy I have a lot to make up for and I spend a lot of time in the gym and on the field. I’ve been fortunate to have had some great strength and speed coaches, most of all Jason Riley at the Performance Compound in Tampa.

Q: You’re up to 104 in this weeks rankings, and you’ve been as high as 101. How much would it mean to you to break the top 100?

A: It’s been my goal for as long as I can remember to break into the top 100. Earlier this year, I’m pretty sure I was one ranking point from being number 99. It would mean a lot to reach that milestone, but at this point I’m really trying to focus more on improving certain parts of my game and setting my sights even higher.

Q: If given a Wildcard, you said you will be playing the Napa challenger starting September 21st. With your current ranking, how do you decide when to enter ATP World Tour events, and when to enter Challengers?


A: A lot of it depends on which tournaments I get into without having to play qualifying. Also, two of the challengers in California are 100K’s so there are some good opportunities to make some valuable points.

Q: What are some short and long term goals you have set for yourself? And what parts of your game are you trying to improve the most?


A: Short term, I want to ensure I’m in the main draw of the Australian Open. Long term I want to set myself up for a long career and stay healthy enough to play into my 30′s. Watching Ferrer and Haas and some of these other guys who are playing so well late in their careers gives me hope.

Q: And finally, a fun one. What is your favorite tournament(I hope you say New York or San Jose…) and where is the best place to eat at that tournament?

A: New York is definitely my favorite place to play. I’ll never forget the feeling of having so many people pulling for me last week. I’ve eaten at this place La Esquina a couple of times there which has incredible Mexican food. San Jose will always be special to me because it was the first ATP tournament I qualified for. Indian Wells has to be my other favorite tournament. It’s one of the most player friendly tournaments of the year. Finally, it’d be silly not to mention the Australian Open. They know how to put on a tournament in Melbourne. (And the buffet at the Hyatt is probably the best breakfast of the year.)

We want to give a huge thanks to Tim for his great, articulate answers and for everything he’s done for our blog. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tim Smyczek is everything an American should strive to be.
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:40 AM   #189
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Napa Draw: http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/singles_draw287.PDF

If Tim does not make the quarterfinal with this draw, I will be disappointed.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:53 PM   #190
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Will play Bradley Klahn in the quarterfinal.
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:35 AM   #191
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread





https://www.facebook.com/NapaValleyC.../photos_stream
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:14 PM   #192
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Tim is into the semis of Sacramento, will play Nick Krygios. Also congrats to Tim on a new career-high, top 100 debut.

Pic from last week.

http://norcaltennisczar.blogspot.com...-young-in.html
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:48 PM   #193
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Tim!
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #194
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Bahhh, bad performance in the final.
It's hard to believe this was his first challenger final of the year. Should have been a title, though...
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:05 PM   #195
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Default Re: Tim Smyczek Thread

Didn't see the match but from twitter, it sounded like a mess + some choking

Edit: from his 1st round match

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