VERO BEACH – On a sun-splashed Friday at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation $15,000 ITF/USTA Pro Circuit championships, two afternoon quarterfinals ended in bizarre, scary fashion.
Unseeded junior Nico Godsick, the son of former world No. 4 Mary Joe Fernandez, was leading a set and 4-3 in the second-set tiebreaker when he stumbled hard to the clay court while chasing a drop shot from third-seeded Duarte Vale of Portugal.
Godsick, 18, who won his second-round match, 6-4, 7-5 over Chad Kissell of Latrobe, Pa., in the morning, writhed in pain, and had his right ankle taped by the trainer. He gamely tried to continue but dropped the final three points, barely able to run and then shook hands with Vale, who trains at the same MNO Tennis and Diego Moyano High Performance academy at Mission Bay in Boca Raton.
“I felt terrible,’’ said Vale, 24, who won 3-6, 7-6 (4), retired. “Nico was playing unbelievable and was serving the best I’ve honestly seen at this level. I was trying to hang in there and make it as long as possible and I’m just sorry it ended this way.”
Fernandez drove her son to a nearby hospital for X-rays before heading home to Delray Beach. Godsick and partner Aidan Kim withdrew from doubles.
Duarte will play Jaycer Lyeons, a wild-card entrant originally from Houston, in a 9 a.m. semifinal Saturday. Lyeons won his quarterfinal via attrition as both players were cramping in humid conditions. However, his opponent, the sixth-seeded Roberto Subervi of the Dominican Republic, at 4-5 of the second set, was cramping so badly that he sat down on the court and received four consecutive delay of game penalty points to lose the set and match 6-7 (4), 6-4, retired.
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Subervi, 29, ranked 677th, was unable to continue, handing Lyeons a free pass to his second consecutive ITF semifinal berth (Sunrise), this time at the Vero Beach Fitness and Tennis Club at Timber Ridge.
“You never like to win like that but I’m handling the pressure well on the big points and I’m not panicking,’’ said Lyeons, 22, who lives in Miami Beach and trains with Othmane Garva, former coach of Sloane Stephens when she won the US Open in 2017.
In their only other meeting Vale defeated Lyeons 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in a Boca Raton ITF last November.
Earlier, Lyeons won his postponed match from Thursday night, when play was stopped with him leading the third-set tiebreaker 4-1 over top-seeded Adrian Boitan of Romania. Lyeons won three of four points, including a forehand cannon on match point, to wrap up the, “biggest win of my career,” 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2).
Boitan, 23, was recently named the ITF World Tennis Tour’s player of the month after winning three successive ITF $15,000 singles titles in Florida (Palm Coast, Weston and Naples) in April to improve his ATP rankings from 818 to 502.
Boitan’s doubles partner at Baylor, unseeded Jacob Brumm of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., utilized his huge, inside-out forehand to dispatch German qualifier Benni Henning, 7-6 (4), 6-3 despite cramping and falling on his elbow at 5-1 of the second set. It’s the 24-year-old’s first ITF semifinal.
Brumm will play fellow unseeded Canadian Dan Martin, who displayed an all-court variety of strokes, including a sweet one-handed backhand to down second-seeded Andres Andrade of Ecuador, 6-1, 7-5, who also trains at Mission Bay.
Martin, 23, has played college tennis for five years at Dartmouth and now Miami, so he has rarely tested his game on the Pro Circuit. This is his first semifinal berth in a $15K event.
“These are baby steps for me. I’m not picturing myself in the Top 100 yet,’’ said Martin, who is pursuing his master’s at UM in Sports Administration. “When you’re starting every good player starts with these type of tournaments. Even though it’s lower level, you gain a lot of experience, and it builds character, makes you stronger and tougher.”
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Mardy Fish Pro Circuit: Quarterfinals end in bizarre, scary fashion