CMU’s Lyden drops first match at nationals

Jordan Lyden shook off the nerves of playing in the national tennis championships, but the humidity and his opponent were too much.

The Colorado Mesa University junior lost in the first round Thursday of the USTA/ITA National Division II Championships in Fort Myers, Fla.

No. 3 seed Armand Levandi of Lewis (Ill.) University defeated Lyden 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the men’s singles tournament. Levandi is from Estonia.

Lyden, who is from St. George, Utah, is the only American-born player to qualify for the tournament.

“It was tough,” Lyden said. “The toughest part was adjusting to the humidity and the weather. I felt like my shirt weighed 20 pounds.

“The guy I played was a grinder. We had extremely long points. Sometimes I was too aggressive and trying to finish off the point early. I definitely could’ve beat him, I felt like.”

Lyden got off to a good start, breaking Levandi’s serve for a 4-2 lead in the first set.

“(Lyden) had some good chances,” CMU coach Dan MacDonald said. “The guy was a good grinder. He’s played a lot on clay courts. Jordan was trying to attack. It was a tough match. He played well.

“The kid was solid. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes. Jordan had to be aggressive.”

Levandi, though, was patient and persistent, winning the next four games of first set, which took one hour, 20 minutes to play. MacDonald said the match took two hours.

“I knew I wanted to be aggressive, because that’s my game,” Lyden said. “(With the humidity and low elevation), the ball moves a lot slower. There is a lot more spin involved. I had to adjust for that. He was getting to everything. I thought I’d hit a winner, and he’d get to it.

“I had to wait for a short ball, then attack.”

Lyden plays Jacob Carey of Bluefield State (W.Va.) College in the consolation semifinals this morning. The freshman from New Zealand lost 6-1, 6-1 to the No. 2 seed.

“From what I heard, he’s different,” Lyden said. “He’s a little more aggressive. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be ready. I’m excited to play (today).”

The winner plays for fifth place Saturday morning. The loser plays for seventh place Saturday morning.

“I think he has a good chance,” MacDonald said. “All of (the qualifiers) are solid. They are all good players, but (Lyden is) right there with them.”


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