Sridhar stuns Boys' 18s No. 3 seed to advance at Orange Bowl

December 7, 2016 07:13 AM

By Pat Mitsch, special to

Varsity men’s tennis will return to Arizona State University next season, and so Sangeet Sridhar’s upset victory at the Metropolia Orange Bowl on Tuesday could be seen as quite the twist of fate.

Sridhar, the 16-year-old top prospect from Scottsdale, Ariz., toppled the No. 3-seeded Canadian Benjamin Sigouin, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-0, in a first-round match on the green clay of the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla., taking out one top contender from the Boys’ 18s singles draw.

Sridhar’s win is certainly an upset, according to each player’s ITF world junior ranking. Sridhar is ranked No. 287 in the world and came through qualifying this week; Sigouin is ranked No. 11. But Sridhar certainly has pedigree – he represented the U.S. at the 2016 Junior Davis Cup Finals in Hungary and is’s No. 11-ranked prospect in the nation in the Class of 2018.

Sridhar is also the latest top junior prospect from the Phoenix area to train under renowned coach Lou Belken, following the likes of Nathan Ponwith, once a Top-20 world-ranked junior now at the University of Georgia, and 2015 Eddie Herr Girls’ 18s champion Kylie McKenzie.

It just so happens that Belken was the longtime men’s tennis coach at Arizona State, right up until the program went on hiatus in 2008, at which point he transitioned into private instruction.

And now, the Sun Devils’ first season back will be Sridhar’s senior year of high school.

Another American took out a seed in the Boys’ 18s draw on Tuesday. Danny Thomas, a 17-year-old from Pickerington, Ohio, beat No. 8 seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina, 6-1, 6-1, to give the U.S. 11 of the 32 players left in the Boys’ 18s second round.

The numbers are even better for the United States on the Girls’ 18s side, with 17 players – more than half of the remaining field – winning their first-round matches.