Donaldson Dominates Royal Lāhainā Challenger
By Maui Now Staff
American Jared Donaldson, 18, played extraordinary tennis on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, to take home the trophy at this year’s Royal Lāhainā Challenger. Donaldson defeated Nicolas Meister 6-1, 6-4.
Donaldson started off strong with a first set lead of 4-0. He took the first set, and dominated the first half of the second set, leading Meister 5-2.
With the championship on the line, Meister won the next two games, taking his deficit up to 4-5.
Donaldson proved too strong, however, and took the set and the match 6-4.
Reflecting on the match, and ecstatic Donaldson shared his thoughts about his first challenger win.
“I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Donaldson. “I just came from Australia, and obviously I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, losing in the second round of the ‘qualies,’ but I really learned a lot from that week and tried to put what I learned into matches which I am really, really thankful for.”
Meister challenged Donaldson during the match, Donaldson said.
“Nick was really tough,” said Donaldson. “He had a really good week, too, making it to his first challenger final. We both know each other’s game well and train in the off-season in Irvine. It’s nice to see that both of our hard work is paying off.”
Donaldson looks forward to keeping the momentum strong in his next matches.
“It doesn’t stop until you’re number one, and that’s where I want to be,” said Donaldson. “And even then, it doesn’t stop.”
Donaldson now has a common bond with tennis superstars Andy Roddick and James Blake, whose first challenger wins were in Hawai‘i.
Roddick, who won the Waikaloa Challenger in 2001, won the U.S. Open only two years later in 2003.
Could this–Donaldson’s biggest career win thus far–be the breakout win that will take his game and confidence to the next level?
But Donaldson’s winning streak didn’t end in singles. He and Stefan Kozlov (US) defeated Rhyne Williams and Chase Buchanan 6-3, 6-4 in an all-American doubles final–their first doubles win in Hawai‘i.
“It’s honestly an amazing feeling,” said Kozlov, who celebrated his 17th birthday on the day of their win. “Winning doubles is not an easy thing to do. I really feel good winning this doubles title. I feel the momentum will carry on into next week in Memphis.”
Donaldson and Kozlov will move on to the Memphis Open for their next tournament.