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Saturday, January 13, 2018

King, Kudla and McDonald Qualify for Australian Open; Altamirano, Min Reach Pro Circuit Finals; Arizona State Men's Tennis Returns

The qualifying for the Australian Open was extended to a fifth day after two days of rain threw the schedule into chaos.  Six US men and four US women reached the final round of qualifying, and although some matches have yet to be played, former Georgia Tech star Kevin King is the only American to have advanced so far.  The 26-year-old King, who was competing in slam qualifying for the first time in his career, defeated Australian veteran JP Smith 6-4, 7-6(6) in the final round.  King, who was out for most of 2016 after undergoing hip surgery, betrayed no nerves in what was certainly the most important match of his pro career.  Smith served for the second set at 6-5 and had a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, but King never looked rattled and when he earned his first match point in the well-played tiebreaker, he executed a deft offensive lob and then hit a difficult overhead winner off an excellent defensive lob by Smith to claim the win.  King did not drop a set in his three qualifying wins, taking all three tiebreakers he played during the week.

King is joined in the main draw by Denis Kudla and Mackenzie McDonald, both of whom won tough three-setters to advance. Kudla defeated Matteo Berrettini of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 and McDonald beat Stephane Robert of France 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-4. McDonald played in the main draw of the US Open after winning the 2016 NCAA title, but had not reached the final round of qualifying in his other five attempts at slams. None of the three American qualifiers were seeded.

The women's final round qualifying matches are underway now. I will update the scores below as they become available.

Men's second round:
Mathias Bourgue(FRA) def. Taylor Fritz[1] 7-6(3), 0-6, 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo[4] def. Zsombor Piros[WC](HUN) 6-3, 6-4
Kevin King def.  Zdenek Kolar(CZE) 6-1, 7-6(2)
Denis Kudla v Tobias Kamke(GER) 6-2, 7-5
Mackenzie McDonald v Jozef Kovalik(SVK) 6-2, 6-2
Elias Ymer[27](SWE) def. Dennis Novikov 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3
Stefan Kozlov def. Yannick Hanfmann[10](GER) 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4
Ernesto Escobedo[11] def. Alessandro Giannessi(ITA) 6-3, 6-2
Bernard Tomic[29](AUS) def. Tommy Paul 6-0, 6-7(5), 7-6(4)
Peter Polansky[26](CAN) def. Christian Harrison 6-2, 7-5

Men's third round:
Kevin King def. JP Smith(AUS) 6-4, 7-6(6)
Mackenzie McDonald def. Stephane Robert(FRA) 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-4
Quentin Halys[22](FRA) def. Bjorn Fratangelo[4] 7-5, 6-1
Casper Ruud[25](NOR) def. Ernesto Escobedo[11] 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-1
Dustin Brown[17](GER) def. Stefan Kozlov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Denis Kudla def. Matteo Berrettini[20](ITA) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5

Women’s second round:
Anna Kalinskaya(RUS) def. Julia Boserup[24] 6-1, 6-4
Bernarda Pera[14] def. Irina Bara(ROU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Irina Falconi def. Polina Monova(RUS) 6-2, 7-6(2)
Danielle Collins def. Danka Kovinic[6](MNE) 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
Viktoria Kuzmova[16](SVK) def. Caroline Dolehide 6-2, 6-4
Kayla Day def. Xinyun Han[21](CHN) 7-6(5), 6-0

Women’s third round:
Magdalena Frech(POL) def. Kayla Day 6-3, 6-0
Viktorija Golubic[4](SUI) def. Bernarda Pera[14] 6-3, 6-2
Irina Falconi[15] def. Priscilla Hon[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-1
Denisa Allertova[18](CZE) def. Danielle Collins 6-0, 6-1

The finals are set for the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit events in Long Beach and Daytona Beach.  At the men's Futures in Long Beach, former Virginia star Collin Altamirano has reached the final for the second consecutive year, with the unseeded 22-year-old defeating No. 3 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-3, 6-2.  He will face qualifier Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, the former USC star, who defeated No. 6 seed JC Aragone 6-4, 6-3.    In Daytona Beach, unseeded Grace Min will face top seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in the final.  Min ended the run of wild card and former Mississippi State player Alexandra Perper of Moldova with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.  Kalinina had a much tougher time ousting University of Florida senior Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan, a qualifier, eventually posting a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.

At the $15,000 Naples Futures, the last American lost in today's semifinals, with lucky loser Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) falling to top seed Javier Marti of Spain 6-3, 7-5.  Nineteen-year-old Louis Wessels of Germany, the No. 8 seed, will play Marti in the final, after Wessels defeated No. 4 seed Fred Gil of Portugal 6-4, 7-5.

Wessels and Trent Bryde won the doubles title today, with the unseeded pair beating top seeds Gil and Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain 6-1, 1-6, 11-9.  It's the 18-year-olds Bryde's first title on the Pro Circuit.

College tennis dual matches have begun and one of the high profile contests today took place in Tempe Arizona, where the Duke men defeated Arizona State 5-2.  Although the Sun Devils lost, having an opportunity to play a men's dual match for the first time in 10 years tempered the disappointment of the loss.  The ITA has a article on today's match and what went into the comeback, with athletic director Ray Anderson willing to put his own money into reviving the program.