Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hometown Favorite King Beats Dimitrov in Atlanta; Recaps of Basavareddy, Smejkal 14s Clay Court Titles; Mandlik Defeats Kratzer in Evansville $25K; USA's Team for Pan American Games

Former Georgia Tech All-American Kevin King earned the biggest win of his career last night, beating wild card Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the BB&T Atlanta Open. The 28-year-old King reached a career-high of 162 last year, having qualified for the Australian Open, but this year he was 6-15 in Challengers, and needed a wild card into the Atlanta qualifying, where he beat No. 2 seed Guido Andreozzi of Argentina and Ryan Harrison to advance to the main draw. King, who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in 2012, returned to serve as volunteer coach for the Yellow Jackets in 2016 as he recovered from hip surgery, so his many connections with the area were bound to make him the crowd favorite. King had played only four main draw ATP matches before last night, but one was in Atlanta, where he qualified in 2013, losing to No. 5 seed Rendy Lu of Taiwan.

Next up for King on Thursday is No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz, with Fritz holding a 1-0 head-to-head with King after beating him early last year in the Noumea Challenger 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4.

For more on King's win, see this article from the ATP website.

The Tennis Recruiting Network wrap-ups of the USTA 14s Clay Court finals are out today, so check out those articles for more on champions Nishesh Basavareddy and Lara Smejkal. Harvey Fialkov, who wrote both articles, shares the news that both Amanda Anisimova and Coco Gauff were in Plantation, site of the Girls 14s tournament, last week to work with Nick Saviano, who has his academy there.

At the two women's Pro Circuit tournaments in the US, both No. 2 seeds were eliminated today in first round action. At the $60,000 event in Ashland Kentucky, qualifier Alexa Glatch defeated Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-4, 6-4. At the $25,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana, Elli Mandlik took out 2017 USTA Girls 18s National Champion Ashley Kratzer by the same score.  Other juniors reaching the second round in Evansville, all expected to play the Nationals in San Diego, are qualifier Katrina Scott, Natasha Subhash and Clay Court 18s champion Gabby Price.

At the $25,000 men's tournament in Champaign-Urbana Illinois, Jenson Brooksby, the No. 3 seed, took the court in Pro Circuit competition for the first time since April, beating qualifier Pierce Rollins 6-1, 6-1. Brooksby, the defending champion, will not be defending his Kalamazoo 18s title, having withdrawn earlier this week. Govind Nanda, who is playing Kalamazoo, is Brooksby's second round opponent. No. 7 seed Cannon Kingsley, also entered in Kalamazoo, won his opening round match on Tuesday.

While I was covering Wimbledon, the USTA announced the players who would be representing the United States in next week's Pan American Games in Peru. I tweeted the link, but wanted to make sure I mentioned it here too. Two current collegians, North Carolina rising senior Alexa Graham and Florida rising sophomore Sam Riffice, are on the team, along with former collegians Kevin King and Michael Redlicki. Usue Arconada and Caroline Dolehide are the other two women named to the team. USTA national coaches Adam Peterson (women) and Eric Nunez (men) will travel with the teams. Two former American collegians have won the Pan American Games singles titles: Stanford's Paul Goldstein in 1999 and Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi in 2011.