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No one has to say anything about hydration to Centerton's Hayden Shoemake.

Shoemake played a two-hour, one-minute match through the heat of the third round of the United States Tennis Association's Southern Closed Boys and Girls 16's Championships at Rebsamen Tennis Center in Little Rock on Monday. His 7-5, 6-2 victory over Ryan Xiao of Cary, N.C., included a 1-hour, 22-minute first set played with a heat index reported by the National Weather Service of 95 degrees.

Both players seemed unscathed at the end.

Extreme heat and dehydration nearly led to disaster for Shoemake two summers ago during a match at Burns Park in North Little Rock.

"It was the first time it really got hot that summer," Shoemake said. "I felt my whole right leg cramp. I won the match anyway, but I went to get the trainer, and I'm having full body cramps. I'm on the floor, shirt off, throwing up everywhere."

"I've never seen anything like that," Southern 16's tournament director Chip Stearns said. "He made The Exorcist look like a joke."

Shoemake was rushed to the hospital, where he was told he was close to kidney failure.

Shoemake entered this week's tournament as a 17th seed, but he knew early he was in deep against the unseeded Xiao, who started on serve and won the first two games of the first set. There were four deuce points in Game 2, and three more in Game 3.

"I knew if I got down love-3, it was going to be tough to break back," Shoemake said.

Shoemake recovered from his slow start to take a 4-3 first-set lead and served with a chance to go up 5-3, but Xiao broke back with four consecutive points to tie the set.

"He got them back so deep, and I didn't react well to them," Shoemake said. "I just kind of hit them lazily. I had a bad game. He had a good service game, and I just kind of lost focus."

Xiao held to take a 5-4 lead, but Shoemake said he remained confident.

"I knew this guy was good," Shoemake said. "I mean, at the beginning of the match, he was playing awesome. He hit everything a foot inside the baseline. It was insane."

"I just wanted to play well and play loose," Xiao said. "I played pretty good through the first two rounds. In this one, I just made a few more errors."

Shoemake won the next three games to take the set 7-5. He won the first two games of the second set to lead it from start to finish.

"I felt good once I got up 6-5 in the first set," said Shoemake, who advanced to the round of 32 with his victory to match his finish in last year's Southern 16's. "Then I was like, 'OK. I got this. I can just serve this out, get this set, and I know I'm going to feel good in the second set.' "

As a consequence of the summer of 2016, Shoemake now understands what that takes. He needs no advice when it comes to the roles of fluids, nutrition and electrolyte replacement for anyone involved in vigorous activity, particularly on summer days in the south.

"I know I have to drink," Shoemake said. "I eat better, and I drink plenty of fluids. I get lots of electrolytes. I know what to do now."

Sports on 06/12/2018

Print Headline: Lesson from 2016 does body good for Shoemake

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