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National

Ozan Baris and Nishesh Basavareddy win boys' doubles at 2022 US Open

Dan Levinsohn | September 14, 2022


 

As they kick off their freshman years of college, Americans Ozan Baris and Nishesh Basavareddy took all of 41 minutes to defeat the Swiss-Bolivian pairing of Dylan Dietrich and Juan Carlos Prado Angelo in the 2022 US Open boys’ doubles final, 6-1, 6-1.

 

Baris and Basavareddy—a pair of 17-year-olds who have been “balling” since they met at age eight—were seeded eighth at this year’s tournament. They surprised the boys’ doubles field with a straight-set quarterfinal victory over No. 3 seeds Martin Landaluce and Pedro Rodenas of Spain, and followed that up with a decisive semifinal win against No. 2 seeds Gonzalo Bueno and Ignacio Buse of Peru. In the latter, they clinched the first set 6-1 in 15 minutes, then secured a win via tiebreak, 7-6(4).

Nishesh Basavareddy and Ozan Baris react during a junior boys' doubles championship match at the 2022 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

In their championship match on Saturday, the teenagers played fast and seemed totally relaxed, working in tandem. They served hard and returned almost everything struck their way.

 

About a half hour later, Baris and Basavareddy entered the interview room from the media entranceway, casually mentioning how heavy their trophies weighed. They seemed less like two elite athletes who had won a junior Grand Slam title and more like, well, friends.

 

Which might explain why they played so well together.

 

“Where am I supposed to look?” Baris asked the moderator midway through commenting on the day’s performance, earning laughs.

“I just asked him a few months ago to play in this tournament,” Basavareddy said, explaining how they had met through various junior tournaments—10-and-under, 12-and-under. “That's kind of how it started. [It] ended up working out pretty well.”

 

“Yeah, this guy has always been balling since eight years old,” Baris said. “I was like, ‘I've got to play with him in doubles [this tournament].’” 

 

The duo’s biggest challenge arrived in the second round, when Baris and Basavareddy dropped their only set all tournament to Great Britain’s Patrick Brady and William Jansen and won in a 10-6 match tiebreak. From there, it was mostly smooth sailing—with second-set tiebreaks in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

 

In preparation for their final, the teenagers watched American Rajeev Ram and British partner Joe Salisbury claim the men’s doubles title on Friday. Like Ram, Basavareddy is from Carmel, Ind., and took inspiration from the elder player.

 

“We saw their level, what they were doing on the court,” he said. “Obviously they're the best doubles team in the world, so you can always learn from them.”

 

It was only at the end of the press conference that Baris and Basavareddy dropped a "Superbad"-esque plot twist: Baris has already started his freshman year at Michigan State, while Basavareddy heads off to Stanford next week.

 

“I just continue to improve there, play tournaments while I'm there, play college tennis,” Basavareddy said. “Hopefully in a few years' time I'm ready to make the jump to pro tennis, move up the rankings. That's my ultimate goal. Just continue to improve.”

“Obviously, we'll be playing on different college teams,” Baris said. “The goal for me is to be a professional player. Just trying to get there however I can. I know that Michigan State is a great place for me to keep improving [and] really reach that level.

 

Baris still hopes to play with Basavareddy in the future.

 

“I think we got some real good potential,” he said. “Maybe one day win the main thing.”

 

He smiled at his partner: “That would be pretty nice.”

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