Ryan Harrison vs. Denis Kudla in Newport

NEWPORT, Rhode Island – The future of American tennis met on Bill Talbert Center Court on a hot, late afternoon Wednesday at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

For the first time since a pair of then 19-year-olds Andy Roddick and Robby Ginepri played against each other in 2002 in San Jose, two American teens met in an ATP World Tour match.

17-year-old Denis Kudla (ATP #793) was defeated, barely, 75 76 by 18-year-old Ryan Harrison (#262).

It was a tight match all the way, with plenty of consistent baseline play and impressive volleying by both competitors. Kudla was up a break late in the second and served to force a third set. The frustrated Harrison, attired in all white Nike, was down 0-15 in the 5-6 game when he shouted, “The condition of these courts is so bad it’s comical.”

That verbal outburst seemed to adversely effect Kudla. Kudla, who defeated Spanish veteran Santiago Ventura in the first round 63 36 75, lost the next three points in a row to Harrison and eventually the game – and then the tiebreak 7-5. All in all it was a fine showing by both players, who both appear destined to reach the ATP top 50, if not higher.

In his post-match interview on the court, the well-spoken Harrison sounded like a seasoned veteran as stated how happy he was to be in his first ATP quarterfinal while also commending Kudla, noting that his potential future rival has a “very bright future.”

A wildcard entry into Newport, Harrison, who dominated veteran Karol Beck in the first round 61 62, now has a 4-8 career ATP won-loss record. Today he will meet Great Britain’s Richard Bloomfield, who qualified for the event, for a place in the semis against either Brian Dabul or Olivier Rochus. Bloomfield has defeated Christophe Rochus and Santiago Giraldo in Newport.

“I’m real excited to be in the quarterfinals. Obviously, it’s my first Tour event quarter, so I’m happy to be through,” said the Shreveport, Louisiana native, who showed a mature, philosophical side of his likeable personality. “At the end of the day, the worst you’ve ever felt after a win is better than the best you’ve ever felt after a loss.”

Kudla, who was born in Ukraine and now resides in Arlington, Virginia, took the defeat in stride and seemed pleased with how he performed on center stage in his ATP World Tour debut tournament. “It’s amazing how it can all happen in one day. I’m definitely going to remember that match for the rest of my life,” said Kudla, who wore all white Lacoste clothing and a backwards white ballcap. “I felt like my whole life, this is what I’m working for. And you always want to go for your dreams.”


  • vinko · July 10, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Young Harrison will learn as he gets more experience not to blame the condition of the court for his mistakes. The court is the same for both players.
    I’m curious as to the attendance at Newport. Are they drawing a crowd? I started to go out there on Monday but the traffic at the CT-RI line was brutal. It was backed up for miles. The heat and holiday meant alot of people were headed for the beach and I heard it was the same out at Newport. We just turned around rather than spend all day in traffic with the temperature about 100 degrees.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 10, 2010 at 3:18 am

    There were decent crowds at Newport the first few days, and I think there would’ve definitely have been more if it wasn’t so hot. Newport is an ideal place to watch tennis, but it’s a totally different game than regular grass or hard court tennis. The ball does take funny bounces, and you have to be able to improvise.

    Fish said you don’t have to serve aces, but it’s good to get your first serve in and take the ball out of the air. I, personally, love the Newport courts because you get results like Robby Kendrick beating Andy Murray love and love one year. The best player I ever saw at Newport was Phillipoussis the year he played and dominated the event. But Santoro with his slices and dices was also dominant there.

    As for Harrison, he does look like an affable guy. I saw walking along Bellvue Ave in Newport one afternoon with his tennis bag on his shoulder and two young guys greeted him and he shook their hands and talked to them. Kudla also is a nice, affable young guy. He apparently trains with a real passion and energy. And I liked the way he could chip his forehand and charge the net and he looks like he has a Spadea-like backhand. These guys could be the future of men’s tennis along with Alex Doumajian, who looks good, but seems to a rather stiff fellow.

  • Dobey · July 10, 2010 at 3:20 am

    Harrison is from Shreveport, La? If I am not mistaken, that is also Terry Bradshaw’s home town. Not too shabby. I hope that Ryan Harrison will become the player everyone expects him to be. Boris Becker and Mats Wilander and John McEnroe were already great players as teenagers and stayed at or near the top for many years.Lleyton Hewitt was the same. There are other players who seem headed for stardom but just do not get there.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I’m sorry, I mistakenly said Robert Kendrick beat Andy Murray 6-0, 6-0 at Newport in 2006, but in fact, it was Murray who double-bageled Kendrick. And then lost to Justin Gimelstob in straight sets, so the Newport grass plays tricks on scores and matches.

    Look at the semis this year: Fish and Dabul, O Rochus and Richard Bloomfield, whoever that is?

    As for stardom, I’d say tennis has more “can’t misses” miss than any other major sport. You rarely see a LeBron James do a Donald Young in basketball. There are No. 1 picks who bust in all sports, but even look over the last few years at tennis, Young, Tomic, Dmitrov, even a guy like Gilles Muller, these guys have never reached what their potential was supposed to be. I realize that Tomic and Dmitrov still have chances to redeem their great expectations, but the reality is that if you don’t get major steps done by 20, you’re probably not going to make the big cheese.

    A final point on boring and exciting playing styles: I watched a first round match at Newport between Querrey and Jesse Levine, and it was a snooze-fest. I mean, I find Querrey’s power on his serve and forehand fun to watch, and he’s moving better, but he’s the Todd Martin of this generation, a pattern player who only hits top spin, rarely ventures to the net, and has little subtlety or finesse to his game. Levine, well, he is a bore.

    So when I see a player like Dustin Brown, who doesn’t dress in the obligatory pro tennis player Nike or K-Swiss or Adidas outfit, has a lot of color, not only in his skin color, and plays like an artist and not like a computer programmer, it’s a major breath of fresh air.

  • vinko · July 11, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Jamaica has produced many world champions in track and field going back decades. If they could channel a little of that talent pool into tennis they could have players in the top 100. They have the climate for tennis year round.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Jamaica has produced the best sprinter of all time Usain Bolt and Lennox Lewis’s mom is Jamaican and his biological father I believe is too. Two of the best athletes in sports history come from that island which is quite phenomenal. Don’t forget two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200 Veronica Campbell Brown. Let’s hope Dustin Brown gets some luck and can continue to rise the ranks. Tennis will be better with him showing his stuff in big TV matches. A star is waiting to be born.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I was overwhelmed by DB in that match, I think there has to be more and big better things to come from this guy. 26 is a startling time to be making a breakthrough in big time tennis, but hey, this guy’s a special player.

    On Jamaica producing a big time tennis player, don’t forget, DB didn’t grow up in Jamaica, I think he lived there for about four years from 14 to 18. It’s very hard to do anything big in tennis coming from Jamaica. You have to get out and go somewhere else, as Brown did, going back to Germany. I can only think of two players, Ronald Agenor and Roger Smith, I believe, who played for Caribbean countries and broke top 100. Anyone else remember anyone else?

  • vinko · July 12, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Ryan Sweeting is from Bahamas. I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head.

  • Sid Bachrach · July 12, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Isn’t Mark Knowles from one of the island countries? The guy is like 40 years old and still winning doubles events. There is no way a kid can stay in Jamaica and become a great player. You wouldn’t get the level of competition you need. Jamaica has lots of British influences so logically soccer(football) will be the sport the best youngsters gravitate to. Track and field has also been popular in Jamaica and Bolt is the latest track genious. Lewis has been greatly underappreciated in the boxing world. NO other big man (and I mean big) could ever jab and move the way Lewis did.
    Now a trivia question that is not so hard. What was the most famous sports event to take place in Jamaica?

  • Dan Markowitz · July 12, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Don’t forget that Patrick Ewing is also from Jamaica, but moved to Boston at around 14. Good call with Knowles, who I think is also from the Bahamas. One of the seven players featured in Jim Courier’s “Unstrung,” the player who I believe beats Donald Young in the Orange Bowl the year the movie was filmed, I can’t remember his name, was also Bahamian.

    Greatest sports event held in Jamaica? A heavyweight fight? A cricket tournament?

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Sid, it was the “Down goes Frazier” -Foreman fight in Kingston right (quote credit Howard Cosell)? Dan, Happy Birthday by the way, Dustin Brown is 25 still. Roger Smith is from Bahamas and coaches Sloane Stephens or he was at last year’s US Open, took the train back with him after qualies one day. Agenor is from Haiti.

  • vinko · July 13, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Speaking of Caribean players Charlie Pasarell was from Puerto Rico if I remember correctly.



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