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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fritz, McDonald Beat Seeds, Advance to Quarterfinals at Sacramento Challenger; Krajicek into Tokyo Quarterfinals; Freshmen Qualifiers Advance in ITA All-American Championships, Lohan Defeats Elbaba

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Fritz and UCLA junior Mackenzie McDonald posted big wins today at the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger, with both defeated seeded players.  McDonald, who received a special exemption into Sacramento based on his semifinal showing last week at the Tiburon Challenger, defeated Tiburon champion Tim Smyczek, the No. 4 seed, 6-1, 7-5, while Fritz, a wild card, saved three match points in the second set of his 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 7-6(7) win over No. 3 seed Dustin Brown of Germany.

McDonald continued his fine play, serving well and winning the court positioning battle. Taking the ball early and giving Smyczek little time, McDonald came back from 4-2 down in the second set to get the win.

In a match as close as the one between Brown and Fritz, the big moments are too many to detail, but the three match points are a place to start.  Serving at 4-5 in the second set, Fritz hit an ace at 30-40, and at ad out, hit another good first serve up the T.  At 5-6, 30-40, another first serve up the T saved that match point, with Brown hitting his return way long.  At 5-6 in the second set tiebreaker, Fritz seized his chance, rushing up to the net for a Brown short angle and dipping a cross court forehand pass by him.

Brown served well, with 21 aces, a number of them on second serves, but he was unable to cash in on his five opportunities to break in the third set. Fritz had no break chances in the final set, but it was the ATP No. 108 Brown who cracked in the third set tiebreaker, double faulting at 5-all. That mistake didn't end up as costly as it might have been, with Brown whistling a forehand winner past Fritz from well behind the baseline to save his first match point.  Brown saved a second with a good first serve, but he missed a volley to give Fritz his third match point, which he converted when Brown's forehand return of a second serve went well long.

The US Open boys champion will now play qualifier Marcos Giron, the 2014 NCAA champion, who defeated No. 8 seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia in a mere two tiebreakers, 7-6(3), 7-5(2).  McDonald will play No. 7 seed Jared Donaldson, who defeated Tennys Sandgren 6-1, 6-4.  Top seed Denis Kudla will play unseeded Daniel Brands of Germany, and wild card Matt Reid of Australia faces qualifier Nick Meister.

Fritz and Reilly Opelka, the 2015 Kalamazoo doubles champions, are into the doubles semifinals after defeating fellow wild cards Giron and Tommy Paul 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-7.

The quarterfinals of the $50,000 women's tournament in Kirkland, Washington will also feature six Americans: Sachia Vickery(1), Alexa Glatch(2), Nicole Gibbs(3), Jessica Pegula(4), Melanie Oudin and qualifier Sabrina Santamaria, the recent USC graduate. Germany's Antonia Lottner and Luxembourg's Mandy Minella are both in the bottom half, so an American will reach Sunday's final.

At the $15,000 Mansfield Futures, Oracle Masters champion Cameron Norrie of TCU, a qualifier, has reached the quarterfinals, as has his former teammate Nick Chappell, a wild card. Laguna Niguel champion Nik Scholtz(6), a recent Ole Miss graduate, and Illinois sophomore Aleksandar Vukic will play for a spot in the semifinals.  Seventeen-year-old Michael Mmoh(4) and Alexios Halebian are the second and third Americans remaining in the draw.

The women's $10,000 tournament in Hilton Head has give Americans in the quarterfinals: Alexa Graham(1), Raveena Kingsley(6), qualifier Makenna Jones, Nicole Coopersmith and Caroline Price.

Congratulations are in order for former Texas A&M All-American Austin Krajicek, who has advanced to his first quarterfinal at the ATP 500 level this week in Tokyo, and in the process has cracked the ATP Top 100 for the first time in his career.  The 25-year-old from Florida plays top seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland next.

After a problem with the draws at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, in which all the qualifiers were mistakenly slotted against seeds in both singles and doubles draws, the first round got underway with corrected draws about three hours later.

There were three upsets, with No. 5 seed Romain Bogaerts of Wake Forest, Austin Smith of Georgia(9-16) and Felipe Soares of Texas(9-16) losing to Diogo Rocha of Denver, Shane Vinsant of Texas A&M and Nick Crystal of Southern Cal respectively.

Two freshmen were among the six qualifiers to advance to the second round: Ohio State's Hugo Di Feo and Georgia's Walker Duncan. Di Feo defeated Diego Hidalgo of Florida 6-2, 7-5, and Duncan won his third straight third-set tiebreaker, beating William Bushamuka of Kentucky 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5). Other qualifiers advancing are Marko Krickovic of Auburn, Jordan Angus of San Diego, Konrad Zieba of Northwestern and Max de Vroome of Southern Cal.

Complete draws can be found at the ITA tournament page. Live scoring and streaming (no audio) is available for all courts from links found there.

At the Women's All-American at Riviera, three of the four seeds in the bottom half of the draw went out, including No. 2 seed Julia Elbaba of Virginia, who lost to Miami's Sinead Lohan 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.  Freshman qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State defeated No. 4 seed Josie Kuhlman of Florida 6-2, 6-0 and Michigan's Ronit Yurovsky beat No. 8 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Two other qualifiers, aside from Di Lorenzo, advanced to the round of 16: Florida's Belinda Woolcock and Georgia's Ellen Perez, who plays Di Lorenzo next.

There's no live scoring or streaming, but draws will be updated at the ITA tournament page.


Dave said...

Curious how Donaldson, who turns 19 today, seems to be passed over routinely in these headlines. Arguably our brightest under-21 player, at least if you go by rankings. I wonder why...

Colette Lewis said...

It's nothing against Donaldson, who I featured regularly when he was still eligible for junior events. I agree he is one of the top young American prospects and has the results to prove it. But because my focus here (for my own sanity, I have to limit it somehow) is primarily junior and college players, he's now not in either category. Tommy Paul will move on to Donaldson's stage in January. But, as with Smyczek last week, I'm not always entirely consistent, so I appreciate the inquiry.

Bingo said...

That's what was the point being discussed about earlier - regardless of who you cover and why, you spotlight the same couple players over and over, except when they lose. When that happens, no mention of their match at all or anything about those that beat them (even if they are technically in your focus), you just move away and cover juniors. Actually trying to be helpful cause it is obvious, and bias isn't good in any reporting.

Colette Lewis said...

@Bingo: I accept you are trying to be helpful (are you the same person who has been commenting on this issue previously?) I just wish you would be more specific so that I could understand what my blind spots are.

Alex Ho said...

It was posted locally that McDonald may turn pro after the Sacramento Challenger. It doesn't look like playing a year of no ad scoring hurt his development

hmmmm said...

Prior to this McDonald had been in a slump. Results were poor for months. Not sure one good tournament playing off a WC and no pressure is reason to change course. But a lot of players react this way.

Devil's Advocate said...

Alex, what was Mackie's result at the NCAAs following a year of no-ad. One could argue that Mackie's game has stepped up in recent months during his time away from college competition.

Though to be fair, there was plenty of deuce/ad tennis in college last year.

Alex Ho said...

McDonald got a wild card because he made the semi finals of the tiburon challenger the week before.
McDonald's summer good results:
Futures: 2 quarters, 1 semi (he qualified), and a final
Challengers: 16, quarter, semi final

Honestly, I just like to poke fun about no ad, people take it so seriously on this site.

If you really want to make it on pro tour, one to two years probably optimal for college tennis. It allows your body to mature while getting coaching and playing future/challenger level comp, than move on. Player should move through futures level fairly quickly if they have a shot at top 100