Oct. 14, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Rhys Johnson's run at the 2013 USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional came to an end Monday, as the junior dropped his semifinal match to 24th-ranked Hunter Reese of Tennessee.
"Rhys didn't play as well today as we've been seeing him play all tournament," said Vanderbilt head coach Ian Duvenhage. "He competed really well but there were a lot of unforced errors today, something we haven't seen him do much of all tournament."
Johnson started the day with a quarterfinal match with David Biosca of ETSU.
After staying on serve for the first nine games, Johnson had a few set points but could not break as the ETSU freshman brought the set to 5-5.
Both Johnson and Biosca won their following serves to send the first set to a tie-break.
In the tie break Johnson was able to jump to an early 3-1 lead. The Vandy sophomore would go on to take the next five points to win the tie break 7-2.
Johnson would break Biosca's serve again to extend his lead to 4-1. Johnson would win his next two serves to take the set over Bisoca 7-6 (2).
In the second set with the Buccaneer, Johnson would jump to an early 2-0 lead after breaking on Biosca's first serve. Johnson would go on to once again break Biosca's serve, at love, to take his lead to 4-1. The Australian would win his next to serves to take the match, 7-6 (2), 6-2, and advance to the afternoons semifinals.
In the semifinal matchup Johnson was matched up with Tennessee's Hunter Reese, who won in three sets over Fox of MTSU.
"Rhys played some superb points in his second match against Reese," said Duvenhage. "Despite the great points he played it was the number of unforced errors that ended up hurting him in the end."
Reese, the No. 24 singles player as ranked by the ITA, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after breaking on Johnson's first serve. It stayed on serve until Johnson broke back in the sixth game to knot it up at 3-3.
Both players held serve, with Reese sending it to a tiebreak in the 12th game.
In the tiebreak it would stay on serve until Reese was able to break and win the tiebreak 7-5.
The second set saw much of the same as both players went back and forth, each breaking once, and ultimately going to a second tiebreak.
The tiebreak was all Reese, after a few breaks he held a commanding 5-1 lead going into the changeover.
"You have to give Hunter Reese credit," Duvenhage said. "He played a nearly flawless second tiebreak."
The 24th-ranked players lead proved to be too much for the Aussie to overcome, as Reese took the tiebreak and the match, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).
Johnson's performance brings fall record to 9-3. His run in the draw saw him emerge out of the crowd of over 100 players, falling just short of taking on the top-ranked singles player in the country in the regional final.
Singles - Quarterfinals
Rhys Johnson def. David Biosca (ETSU): 7-6 (2), 6-2
Singles - Semifinals
No. 24 Hunter Reese (UT) def. Rhys Johnson: 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2)