An underdog from Lacey emerged Tuesday at the Pacific Northwest Open at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club, winning another match after he defeated a No. 1 seed in the qualifying round.
And he hadn’t played in a competitive tournament since 2013.
Matt Huynh defeated Roman Kravchuk, 6-3, 6-2, in the round of 64.
Huynh won his first match Monday, knocking off Ethan Ogard, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. Ogard was one of eight players given No. 1 seeds in the qualifying round brackets. .
Ogard, who is a sophomore at the University of Portland, was favored, but Huynh was able to pull off the upset.
“I’m just staying on my grind,” Huynh said. “I was down 0-5 in the second set and I knew I was going to lose that one. After the set, I loosened up a bit and went on to win 6-0 and win the match.”
Huynh graduated from North Thurston High School in 2008. He had hopes to play at the University of Washington, but he wasn’t accepted academically and wasn’t recruited either.
Instead, he enrolled at Green River Community College and was the No. 1 player on the tennis team there. Midway through the season, he suffered an arm injury and was forced to serve underhand in the rest of his matches.
Huynh was able to make the finals at the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament, but lost.
After his year at Green River, he enrolled at The Evergreen State College and stopped playing for a couple of months because of his injury.
He gradually started playing again, graduated from Evergreen and started coaching tennis at Capitol City Club in Tumwater.
Huynh decided to play in the PNW Open just for fun, and didn’t really have any expectations for himself or his game.
“My cousin from Fresno (California) is in town, and he said, ‘Hey, why don’t we play,’” Huynh said. “So we signed up for doubles and I signed up for singles.”
The duo will play the top-seeded pair, Robert Kendrick and Kyle McMorrow.
“We’ll probably lose,” Huynh said, laughing. “But it will be fun, and that’s what I came here for.”
Huynh, 25, said the PNW tournament has provided some confidence for him and his game. He said he wants to start training more, and enter other competitive tournaments.
“I never really believed in myself like my coaches did throughout my career,” Huynh said. “They always said that if I got off my butt and trained, that I could be good.”
But now he has some confidence after his first two matches and after beating a top seed.
“I didn’t expect to beat Ogard,” Huynh said. “So for me to come out here and win helps me believe in myself.”
Meanwhile, a couple of college-bound players won their matches Tuesday.
Jeremiah Kalmus, a 2015 graduate of Inglemoor High School, beat top seed, Andrew Anderson, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
“My serve was doing some damage, so that definitely helped,” Kalmus said. “My forehand was also loose, and I was just being aggressive.”
Kalmus said he will attend Seattle University in the fall to play tennis.
Jackson Suh, a junior at Issaquah High School, won his match against Jason Holoch, 6-0, 6-3, and will play Thomas Tenreiro, the seventh seed in the main draw, on Thursday.
“He’s got a big forehand and a huge serve,” Holoch said of Suh. “He has a ton of potential.”
Suh is coming off an arm injury, and said this is his first competition since a back injury during his high school season.