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
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
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.