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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ohio State's Torpegaard Wins ATP Challenger in Columbus; McDonald, Smith, El Mihdawy Earn Futures Titles

Mikael Torpegaard at 2016 NCAA Championships in Tulsa
photo courtesy Bill Kallenberg, CapturedInAction.com
ATP Challengers on college campuses aren't new, and the wild cards given to the home team's top players usually result in a win or two, rarely more.  The $50,000 Columbus Challenger is new, with this week's tournament in just its second year at the Ohio State Varsity tennis Center, yet it was able to deliver what other events couldn't: a title for the local wild card.

Mikael Torpegaard, a junior from Denmark, was evidently not satisfied with making the final in his first appearance at the Challenger level. Taking on top seed Benjamin Becker of Germany in the championship match this afternoon, Torpegaard added another first to his resume, an ATP Top 100 win, by beating the former Baylor star 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

Torpegaard started well and seized the only break point opportunity of the first set for either player at 4-4. Torpegaard closed out the set with a confident hold, but Becker went up 3-0 in the second set and got another break on his way to drawing even in the match. Torpegaard was able to get a break at 2-3, with Becker throwing in two of his four double faults in the set in that game, and he held for 5-2.  Becker went down 15-40 in the final game, saved one match point, but not the second, and Torpegaard had claimed the championship.  His ATP ranking will rise to around 370 as the 2016 NCAA singles finalist prepares for his next event, the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa next month.

Earlier in the day,  2015 Columbus singles champion, Dennis Novikov, teamed with Mikelis Libietis of Latvia to win the doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated unseeded Peter Polansky and Philip Bester of Canada 7-5, 7-6(4) in the final. It's Novikov's third Challenger doubles title of 2016, while it's Libietis's first of the year.

Mackenzie McDonald at 2016 NCAA Championships in Tulsa
photo courtesy YourGameFace.com
While 2004 NCAA singles champion Becker was unsuccessful in his final, 2016 NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald had no trouble picking up his first Pro Circuit title at the $10,000 Futures in Irvine, California. The top seed defeated No. 2 seed Jan Choinski of Germany 6-0, 6-3 in just 47 minutes to add the singles title to the doubles title he won on Friday.

Next up for McDonald is the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, where he reached the semifinals last year. McDonald received a wild card into the main draw, as did Brian Baker, Noah Rubin and Robby Bellamy of USC. Bellamy won his wild card in a shoot-out between the semifinalists at the Battle in the Bay collegiate event.  In Monday's qualifying in Tiburon, Kalamazoo champion Michael Mmoh will face Wimbledon boys champion Denis Shapovalov of Canada for a place in the main draw.

Recent Georgia graduate Austin Smith won his first Pro Circuit title today, defeating unseeded Daniel Cukierman of Israel 6-1, 6-2 in the final.  Smith, who won three matches to qualify, dropped only one set en route to the title.  Smith will play his second and final round of qualifying for next week's $25,000 Futures in Israel on Monday.

At the $25,000 Futures in Canada, top seed Adam El Mihdawy won his fourth Futures title of the year, beating No. 7 seed Brayden Schnur of Canada 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Another top seed won at the $75,000 women's tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Luxembourg's Mandy Minella defeating No. 3 seed Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 6-4, 7-5.

Former USC All-American Maria Sanchez won the doubles title in Albuquerque, with partner Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands. The No. 3 seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Minella and Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

3 comments:

Wondering said...

For winning the challenger, does Torpegaard receive any sort of SE or WC to a future challenger? I understand it was a bit of a fluke that 3 of the semifinalists were lower ranked, so the other 2 guys earned SEs into Tiburon. Did Torpegaard decline an SE or did he just have "bad luck" that two other higher ranked guys also were in line for SEs this week? Seems like if a lower ranked guy wins. Challenger, that player should receive some sort of SE or "floating" WC to be used at another Challenger level event. Congrats to Torpegaard and college tennis!

Colette Lewis said...

If he wasn't among qualifying acceptances for Tiburon, I don't believe he's eligible for an SE.

RobC said...

Im pretty sure the SEs are given to the higher ranked player(s). I remember one year DY and Stepanek made the semis of Washington and Stepanek got the SE the next wk because he was ranked higher.