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It took most of the day and courts in separate cities, but Jake Sweeney of Rogers made it through.

Sweeney, 15, advanced to the quarterfinals of the United States Tennis Association's Southern Closed 16's Championships with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Grant Durham in a match that began at Rebsamen Tennis Center in Little Rock and finished at Burns Park Tennis Center in North Little Rock on Wednesday.

It was Sweeney's first victory in four career matches against Durham, 15, of Hilton Head Island, S.C.

"I played better," Sweeney said. "I played smarter. He's playing well, but not his best, but his playing not his best is still unbelievable. I held serve and I got a couple of breaks, and that was really it."

Durham said recent success at a tournament in Mobile, Ala., might have made him overconfident.

"I felt pretty good about how I was playing, and I came into this thinking I'd just show up and play exactly the same," Durham said. "I should know way better than that, but I just didn't put it together."

The match began at 12:34 p.m. at Rebsamen but was stopped an hour later by lightning with Sweeney up a set and leading 2-0 in the second. Steady rain over the next two hours persuaded tournament director Chip Stearns to move the afternoon matches to Burns Park. Once there, more lightning led to another 42-minute delay.

Play resumed at 5:12 p.m. After Durham took a 4-3 second-set lead, Sweeney won the next three games to advance.

"One thing I knew, he fights really, really hard," Sweeney said.

Including delays and the change of venue, the match consumed six hours, 11 minutes, but the long day did not appear to affect Sweeney.

"I'm playing some of the best tennis of my life right now," he said. "I just want to keep it rolling."

Durham is best known among peers for his loud and continuous commentary, which is weighted heavily toward self-criticism throughout his matches.

An example came in the first set after he failed on a point midway through.

"Dude, your entire game is built around your forehand," he said. "Your entire game and you can't hit it."

Players, parents and officials seated at a concrete picnic table at Rebsamen laughed knowingly. Sweeney said he has learned to adjust to Durham's banter.

"He probably wins matches because his opponents focus on him," Sweeney said. "They probably get a little nervous. I just tried to tune him out, and I was getting pumped up myself."

Though clearly disappointed by the result, Durham handed Sweeney credit.

"He did play well, I will say," Durham said. "I just didn't show up."

USTA Southern Closed Boys and Girls 16's Championships results

at Rebasmen Tennis Center, Little Rock


Round of 16

(2) Jake Sweeney def. (9) Grant Durham 6-4, 6-4

(9) James Delgado def. (5) Andrew Broadstreet 0-6, 6-2, 6-0

(4) Ashe Ray def. (17) Samuel Barrow 6-2, 6-0

(5) JonBrann Reid def. Harrison Kim 6-1, 6-3

(17) William Fullett def. (17) Will Cubitt 6-1, 6-0

(3) Maxwell Smith def. (9) Baylor Sai 6-4, 7-5

(17) Walker Stearns def. (5) Rohan Sachdev 6-3, 2-6, 6-3

(1) Benjamin Koch def. Nicholas Heng 5-7, 6-4, 6-3


Round of 16

(2) Carrie Beckman def. (9) Brooke Despriet 6-4, 6-3

(5) Samantha Johns def. (9) Reagan Welch 6-4, 6-0

(4) Emma Charney def. (9) Kida Ferrari 6-4, 6-3

(9) Gavriella Smith def. (5) Avery Durham 6-1, 6-1

Jade Houston def. (9) Olivia Gallagher, 7-6, ret.

(3) Brooke Killingsworth def. (17) Jackeline Lopez 6-1, 6-1

(9) Whitley Pate def. (17) Brooke Bittner 6-3, 6-0

(1) Lara Schneider def. (9) Sarah Yang 6-7, 6-0, 6-1

Sports on 06/14/2018

Print Headline: Rogers teen uses 2 courts to get first victory over foe

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