Spencer, Paul Reach Niceville Futures Semifinals; Guignon and Kopinski Advance to Champaign Challenger Doubles Final
Wil Spencer continued his startling comeback to tennis and 17-year-old Tommy Paul reached his first Futures semifinal at the $10,000 Niceville, Florida Pro Circuit event.
Spencer, the former All-American at the University of Georgia, defeated Reilly Opelka 6-2, 6-4 in quarterfinal action Friday. Spencer had won a wild card tournament to get into the draw, after not having played in sanctioned events in nearly two and a half years. The 25-year-old will meet 26-year-old Jean Yves Aubone, the former Florida State All-American, who is the third seed in the tournament. Aubone defeated qualifier Sora Fukuda of Japan 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semifinals, after advancing to the final last week in the Birmingham Futures.
Aubone already has one title this week, partnering current Florida State player Benjamin Lock to take the doubles title. Aubone and Lock defeated Randy Blanco of Cuba and Jun Nan Tao of China 6-1, 6-2.
Paul, who had made the quarterfinals of a Futures twice before this week, advanced to the semifinals for the first time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No.5 seed Catalin Gard. Paul will play No. 7 seed Peter Nagy of Hungary, who defeated Ty Trombetta 7-6(6), 7-6(2).
For the second consecutive week, a home town wild card college team has reached a $50,000 Challenger doubles final. Last week, Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee won the Knoxville doubles title, and this week, Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon of Illinois have reached the Champaign Challenger final. Kopinski and Guignon, who were finalists last Sunday at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, met the same team that Libietis and Reese had beaten in the final in this evening's semifinal: Portugal's Gastao Elias and Great Britain's Sean Thornley. Helped by a home crowd that appeared to irritate their opponents, the Illini seniors found the balance between composure and energy and defeated the more professionally experienced pair 7-6(3), 6-4. Up 4-1 and serving in the second set, they were broken, but didn't get rattled and finished off the match with confidence. They will play unseeded Frank Dancevic and Adil Shamasdin of Canada in Saturday's final. Dancevic and Shamasdin defeated No. 3 seeds Kevin King and Juan Spir 6-4, 6-4.
The singles final has top seed Adrian Mannarino of France going against qualifier Frederik Nielsen of Denmark. Nielsen defeated No. 2 seed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-1, 6-2 this afternoon, and tonight Mannarino held off No. 3 seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia 6-4, 6-4.
At the $50,000 Yokohama Challenger, Bradley Klahn and Australian Matt Reid won the doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated top seeds Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell of New Zealand 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.