Shulman Overcomes Strong Effort From Bernstine
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
Second seeds aren’t usually tested in the opening match of a tournament. Such was not the case Thursday when No. 2 Eric Shulman took the court against 15-year-old Chase Bernstine in the round of 16 at Hermitage Country Club.
Shulman had an idea of what he was going to face, and he soon found out how difficult it was going to be. The first two games went to deuce three times, and the two-time defending champion managed to pull out both of them.
“After those first two games, I knew I had to use my speed and conditioning in order to scrap out a lot of his aggressive balls,” said Shulman, who had to work hard for a 6-3, 6-4 decision. “Make him play one or two extra balls.”
The strategy worked, as Bernstine made a number of unforced errors, particularly when he had some chances early on.
“I definitely had a couple of chances to go up against him,” said Bernstine, a rising sophomore at Goochland High School. “But he came up with some big serves, some big returns when he had a chance to. I was definitely happy with the way I played.
“Just some unforced errors that I need to work on for the future. I knew I had to play aggressive if I would have a chance against him.”
Shulman, a former No. 1 player for Christopher Newport and an assistant coach for the men’s team, coasted through the opening set – except for one stretch where he inexplicably lost eight straight points – but ran into trouble again in the second.
Bernstine had three break-point opportunities in the second game but couldn’t capitalize on any of them.
“It was kind of difficult to go for some of them after all those chances that I had in the first set,” said Bernstine.
Shulman broke serve to take a 2-1 lead and was in front the rest of the way. The only hiccup came when he lost his serve at 5-2 and was penalized a point in the next game for slamming a ball onto the court. Earlier he was warned for hitting the backscreen with his racquet.
Bernstine held his delivery to close within 5-4 but Shulman quickly recovered and served out the match at love.
Shulman was very impressed with what he saw from Bernstine’s game.
“For his age, the way he hits his lefty forehand as hard as he does, he got a real bright future,” said Shulman, 24. “When he gets through his growth, and gets stronger and stronger, he’s going to be real tough to handle, especially when he gets to be a junior and senior.
“He’s a class act on the court. His serve and volley threw me off a little bit. His one-hander [backhand] was one of his strengths. It didn’t break down like I thought it would. He was mixing it up, using his slice as well. All around, he was tough to deal with today.”
Shulman became the first player to reach the quarterfinals, which aren’t scheduled until Saturday, weather permitting, at Byrd Park. The remainder of the round of 16 gets under way this afternoon if the weather cooperates.
Because of intermittent thunderstorms, matches were played indoors Thursday at Hermitage, the Country Club of Virginia and acac.
The only other seeded player in action was Christopher Radke, one of four players co-seeded fifth in the draw of 28. Radke, the younger brother of Ryan Radke, runner-up to Shulman the past two years, ousted Taylor Napier 6-2, 6-2.
#2 Eric Shulman def. Chase Bernstine 6-3, 6-4
#5 Chris Radke def. Taylor Napier 6-2, 6-2
Zach Carl def. Chris Cosby 4-6, 7-6, 1-0 (5)
Baxter Carter def. Danny Khuorn 6-4, 6-1
Feibelman def. DePew 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (4)
Grant Sarver def. David Magner 7-5, 1-6, 1-0 (10)
Butterworth/Foote def. Cosby/Fernandez 7-5, 7-6(5)
Moorhead/Sullivan def. Cerny/Kinder 6-1, 6-2
Carli/Williams def. Carey/Reed 0-6, 6-4, retired
Gonzalez/Oakes def. M. Bernstine/C. Bernstine 5-7, 6-4, 1-0
Cappellino/Thomas def. Brown/Carey 7-6(2), 6-4
Blair/Carter def. Hayes/Singleton 6-7(4), 6-4, 1-0
#1 Moorhead/Wortham def. Parrish/Stafford 6-1, 6-2
Jon and Laura Ramthun def. Clark/Kolawole 6-1, 6-0