Klahn Wins Challenger in Korea; Bangoura Takes Niceville Futures; Smyczek, Minella Claim $50K Challenger Titles
As promised, today's post will review the Pro Circuit results from last week and look at this week's final two events of the year in the United States.
Stanford's 2010 NCAA champion Bradley Klahn has made a push toward the ATP Top 100 this fall, and after reaching the final at the $50,000 Challenger in Australia and his title at the $35,000 Challenger in Korea last week, the 23-year-old Californian is now at 101, and in good position for the main draw at the Australian Open in January. In Korea, the fourth-seeded Klahn defeated unseeded Taro Daniel of Japan 7-6(5), 6-2 for his second Challenger title of the year. Klahn is also playing in Japan at a $50,000 Challenger this week, where he is again the No. 4 seed and has advanced to the second round. 2012 NCAA doubles champions from Ohio State Blaz Rola, who lost his first round singles match, and Chase Buchanan, a qualifier who won his, are playing doubles together for the first time since January and beat the No. 3 seeds in the first round. US Open boys champion Borna Coric of Croatia, a wild card, also advanced to the second round.
Former Florida Gator Sekou Bangoura Jr. had played 17 Futures events this year, but hadn't gotten past the quarterfinals until last week in a $10,000 tournament in Niceville, Florida, where he won the title, his first. The eighth-seeded Bangoura, who will be 22 next week, defeated unseeded Eric Prodon of France, who retired in the final after losing the first set 7-6(9). Fifteen-year-old Stefan Kozlov reached the quarterfinals, while 17-year-old Deiton Baughman got through four rounds of qualifying and won his first round match over No. 3 seed Nick Meister(UCLA). France's Alex Musialek(Kentucky) and Arthur Surreaux(New Mexico State) won the doubles title, beating South Africa's Damon Gooch(Elon) and Sweden's Lucas Renard 7-6(5), 6-4 in a final between two unseeded teams.
The $50,000 Knoxville Challenger singles title went to top seed Tim Smyczek, who beat unseeded Peter Polansky of Canada 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Unseeded Tennys Sandgren, comfortable on the courts of his Alma Mater Tennessee, reached the semifinals before losing to Smyczek. JP Smith, another former Volunteer, collected his sixth Challenger doubles title of the year, with he and fellow Australian Sam Groth, the top seeds, beating unseeded Polansky and Carsten Ball 6-7(6), 6-2, 10-7 in the final. Smith is now 74 in the ATP doubles rankings, number three among Australians behind John Peers(Baylor) and Paul Hanley.
The women closed out the year, in the United States at least, in Captiva Island, Florida, with Luxembourg's Mandy Minella taking the $50,000 tournament's singles title. Minella, the No. 2 seed, beat Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski, who was unseeded, 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Unseeded 18-year-old Allie Kiick reached the semifinals, but was then blanked by Minella. Top seeds Allie Will(Florida) and Dabrowski won the doubles title, beating unseeded Julia Boserup and Alexandra Mueller 6-1, 6-2 in the final.
The women are done for the year in the US, but the men have both a Futures and a Challenger this week. The $50,000 Challenger in Champaign has already had its share of upsets after the first day, with top seed Smyczek, No. 4 seed Alex Kuznetsov and No. 5 seed Polansky going out to Erik Crepaldi of Italy, Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria (and Texas), and Dan Smethurst of Great Britain, respectively. Wild cards Marcos Giron(UCLA), Tim Kopinski and Jared Hiltzik(Illinois) play later tonight. Kopinski and Ross Guignon, who were semifinalists at the National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships this past weekend, received a doubles wild card and won their first round match Monday.
At the $10,000 Bradenton Futures, Ohio State's Devin McCarthy picked up the best win of his short professional career, beating top seed and ATP No. 257 Benjamin Balleret of Monaco 6-3, 6-4. US Open boys doubles champion Martin Redlicki earned his first ATP point with a 6-4, 6-1 win over fellow wild card Alejandro Tabilo of Canada. 2012 Orange Bowl 16s champion Andrey Rublev, who is seeded No. 6, also advanced to the second round. Only five first round singles matches were played today, with 11 more scheduled for Wednesday.
At the close of the year, the ATP now holds a Challenger Tour Finals in Brazil, and this year Oleksandr Nedovyesov, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy and ITA Player of the Year, will be participating, starting Wednesday. The ATP website filed this feature on Nedovyesov, who describes his college experience:
“I learned a lot there, especially how to live by myself,” Nedovyseov said. “I lived four and a half years away from my family and I didn’t take any money from my parents at the time. It was a really useful experience and if anyone asks me if I would do it again, I would definitely say yes.”