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LI's Cannon Kingsley reaches quarterfinals of U.S. Open juniors

Cannon Kingsley hits a backhand return against Thiago

Cannon Kingsley hits a backhand return against Thiago Augustin Tirante during their second round juniors match in the 2019 U.S. Open on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

At the end, Cannon Kingsley said, there was “a lot” going through his head. “Too much.”

He was serving for his U.S. Open junior boys’ third-round match against 10th seeded Liam Draxl of Canada on Thursday, ahead by a set and 6-2 in the second-set tiebreaker. Kingsley, the 18-year-old recent graduate of Northport High School, had survived the first set, also in a tiebreaker, by saving four set points.

And he finally appeared in full control.

“I thought too much future,” Kingsley said. “I thought, ‘Ah, I’m in the quarters; four match points.’ Really tight at the end.”

A netted forehand, consecutive Draxl’s service winners and Kingsley double fault brought Draxl even at 6-6. “Breathing,” Kingsley said of his strategy at that point. “Lot of breathing. Sometimes I like to think it’s a different score than it actually is, even though I didn’t do that today.”

But he rushed the net for a winning forehand volley and, at 7-6 — his fifth match point —“I kind of relaxed a little bit,” he said, “and thought of it as a regular point instead of match point.”

And then he shot a backhand winner past the charging Draxl to end the drama after an hour and 52 minutes with a 7-6 (7), 7-6 (6) victory

That made the unseeded Kingsley one of three Americans to reach the junior quarterfinals, along with eighth-seeded Emilio Nava of Woodland Hills, Calif., and 11th-seeded Brandon Nakashima of San Diego. Nava on Thursday defeated the only other American in the junior field, qualifier Aidan Mayo of Torrance, Calif.

On Friday, Kingsley will play unseeded Swiss Dominic Stephan Stricker, who knocked off No. 2 seed Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune of Denmark, in the second round.

Kingsley had faced 13 break points along the way but saved 11 of them. “Just so glad I got through,” he said.

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