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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fawcett Shocks Top Seed Bemelmans at Tiburon Challenger; Qualifying Complete at Three USTA Women's Pro Circuit Events

Currently 1228 in the ATP rankings, Stanford senior Tom Fawcett was a heavy underdog in his first round match at the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger today against top seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, ranked 92. But the wild card didn't let that rankings disparity or the loss of the first set deter him, coming back for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory, with the help of 8 aces.  It's not the first time Fawcett has faced a Top 100 player, having drawn top seed and No. 80 Dan Evans of Great Britain last year in the Aptos Challenger, which resulted in a 6-2, 6-2 loss. Fawcett hadn't beaten any player in the ATP Top 400 before today and he will face No. 346 Frank Dancevic of Canada in the second round, after Dancevic beat Alex Sarkissian 7-6(5), 6-4.

I spoke with Fawcett after his win earlier this month at the American Collegiate Invitational at the US Open in this post last week.

Bemelmans wasn't the only seed to fall today, with qualifier Deiton Baughman, ranked 708, defeating 17-year-old phenom Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-2, 6-2. Baughman converted 5 of 6 break points against the No. 7 seed, while facing only two himself. Auger-Aliassime, currently 162, is Baughman's best win by ranking, with his previous best coming in qualifying this week over No. 2 seed and ATP No. 219 Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador.

Live streaming of the tournament, with commentary by Mike Cation, is available at the USTA Pro Circuit site.

To the south, in Fountain Valley California, the top seed was also swept aside in the first round of the $15,000 Futures, with Arizona State newcomer Michael Geerts of Belgium beating Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in exactly three hours.  Patrick Kypson, Sam Riffice, Ronnie Schneider, Isaiah Strode and Oracle Masters champion Brandon Holt were American players advancing in first round action today.

Three USTA Women's Pro Circuit events are being held this week, with a $15,000 tournament in Charleston South Carolina, a $25,000 tournament in Stillwater Oklahoma and a $60,000 tournament in Templeton California.

Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay is the top seed in Charleston, and is one of only two Top 500 players in the draw. Wild cards were given to Jessica Livianu(St. Johns), local teenagers Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck and 14-year-old Alexandra Yepifanova.  Although Yepifanova (plus Beck and Livianu) were beaten today, two other 14-year-olds will play their first round matches Wednesday, with Allie Gretkowski and Elvina Kalieva advancing through qualifying.

In Stillwater, top seed Danielle Collins will be defending her title, with the wild cards going to Oklahoma State's Marina Guinart Espana, Vladica Babic, Sofia Blanco and Katarina Stresnakova. Nicole Mossmer is the only US junior to advance to the main draw through qualifying.

In Templeton, Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland is the top seed, with Sonya Kenin seeded No. 2.  Wild cards went to Quinn Gleason, Robin Anderson, Taylor Townsend[5] and Gonzaga's Sophie Whittle. The four qualifiers are Russia's Alisa Kleybanova, who won last week in Lubbock, Elena Bovina of Russia, Anna Tatishvili and Sabrina Santamaria.