Ivan Lendl pupil Moritz Geis among winners at USTA S.C. Junior State Open

ccox@islandpacket.comNovember 26, 2013 

As far as Moritz Geis knew, Hilton Head Island's warm temperatures lasted year round.

The German tennis standout has only called South Carolina home since July, when he left Europe to train full-time at the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy. Until the last couple days, the 15-year-old had only experienced the friendly weather usually found in the Lowcountry.

"I've learned that it can be really cold in America, too," he said, laughing.

And yet, Geis -- decked out in shorts and a tee shirt -- still managed to fight through the windy, bitter conditions Monday morning for a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Raymond Donovan to claim the boys 18 division of the S.C. Junior State Open Championships.

"It's tough to play," he said, "because your feet don't want to move that well like in hot conditions. And the balls are really heavy."

Geis' championship match and the 6-3, 6-0 semifinal win over Patrick Tobacco that preceded it Sunday represented the toughest conditions he recalled playing in. He had been accustomed to playing indoors from September to March while in Germany.

He didn't expect these types of conditions to greet him over the last two days. He also didn't anticipate playing on Shipyard's clay courts, and he struggled to maintain his footing at times.

"I expected this tournament to be on hard courts," he said. "I already have new shoes, and I'll play with them next time."

Donovan lamented his inability to capitalize on Geis' troubles. The 18-year-old Athens, Ga., native took a 1-0 lead in the second set and got the first break, but ultimately failed to put away his younger counterpart.

"In the beginning I served well and played well, he just out-rallied me and out-grinded me," he said. " ... He just played amazing from there on. He didn't miss."

It was another frustrating finish for Donovan, who finished third in the 18's on Hilton Head Island a year ago. The Division II hopeful cruised in a semifinal win over Jacob Fuqua 6-2, 6-1 Sunday and was optimistic about his chances Monday.

"First of all, he's a really good player," he said. "Second of all, he's from Germany, (and there are) great players from there. ... I looked up his ranking on ITF and all that stuff, and he's really good."

Geis opted to make the move to IJTA in order to test his mettle in professional conditions, he said. If Monday's results are any indication -- his victory netted him his third singles title this year -- he appears to be on track, regardless of the temperatures.

"It wasn't the best," he said. "It was just that I played all matches pretty decent. Nothing special, but not bad."

S.C. Junior State Open Championships

at Van der Meer Shipyard Resort, Hilton Head Island

Monday results

Boys' 16 Singles (Final Round)

(3) Beau Pelletier def. (2) Murphy McCullough

Boys' 16 Singles Consolation

John Crawford def. Moses Hutchison 6-2, 6-2

Boys' 16 Singles (Playoff)

Cross Tolliver def. Trevor White 6-3, 7-5

Boys' 18 Singles (Final round)

Moritz Geis def. Raymond Donovan 6-1, 6-2

Boys' 18 Singles (Playoff)

Patrick Tobacco def. Jacob Fuqua, walkover (emergency)

Girls' 14 Singles (Final round)

Kristina Zieglar def. Makayla Mills 6-0, 6-0

Girls' 14 Singles Consolation

Sara McClure def. Mary Hyche, walkover (emergency)

Girls' 14 Singles (Playoff)

Elizabeth Truluck def. Katherine Lyman 7-6(6)

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