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Kalamazoo Winner Novikov to Play Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center USTA Pro Classic
CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 8, 2012) â€“ US Open first-round winner Dennis Novikov leads a talented group of young American players into next weekâ€™s 17th annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center USTA Pro Classic, a USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 Futures event being played at the Claremont Club.
The 32-draw singles and 16-draw doubles events began with 128-round singles qualifying on Friday. The tournament is once again being run by tournament director Barry Friedman of the Claremont Club.
Foreign players have won the singles title six of the past seven years, with two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson from the nearby City of Orange snapping the six-year streak by capturing the singles before his senior season at USC last year.
The Russian-born, Bay Area-raised 18-year-old Novikov made the US Open main draw by way of his USTA Boysâ€™ 18s National title at Kalamazoo where he also won the doubles title. At the Open, Novikov beat Polandâ€™s Jerzy Janowicz in four sets hitting 25 aces. Entering the Open, Novikov held a world ranking of 1,089 while Janowicz came in at No. 87. In the second round, Novikov fell to France’s Julien Benneteau.
“My confidence is pretty high right now, especially coming off a 15-0 winning streak that includes both singles and doubles from Kalamazoo, where I played seven singles and six doubles matches, and then my match here,” Novikov told reporters in New York City, where he also got to meet LMFAOâ€™s Redfoo. “So I’m feeling really good about things.”
In doubles at the Open, Novikov and Michael Redlicki upset the ATP veteran team of Bobby Reynolds and Michael Russell, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7), in the opening round.
The top seed in Claremont is expected to be 28-year-old tour veteran Alex Bogdanovic from Great Britain, who is currently ranked No. 311 in the world. He achieved a career-high ranking of No. 108 in singles in 2007 and has finished in the top 200 in the year-end rankings five times in his career, most recently in 2009.
He has won 13 professional titles, including nine Challengers. Heâ€™s no stranger to the USTA Pro Circuit; his last three titles have come on U.S. soil. He captured back-to-back clay court titles in the U.S. in July, winning Futures titles in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Rochester, N.Y. He also made the semifinals at the Lexington Challenger in July.
Using a protected ranking, Prakash Amritraj qualified for the main draw despite not playing a match in 2011. The 28-year-old veteran of the pro circuit was born in Encino, Calif., and represents India in ITF events. He achieved a career-best ranking of No. 154 in 2009 and has been playing professionally since 2001. His two career singles titles came in 2007 on the pro circuit in India.
Former UCLA Bruin Daniel Kosakowski is the highest ranked American in the draw. He recently reached the final round of qualifying at the US Open. He won his first â€” and only â€” career title in the summer of 2011 at the Sacramento Futures event. He has reached the finals in two Futures events this year: in Biois, France; and Calabasas, Calif. His best result this year has been a quarterfinal appearance at the Caltanissetta Challenger in Italy.
Others players in the draw include former collegiate stars Devin Britton and Jeff Dadamo.
Notable players in qualifying with Southern California ties include former Pepperdine standout Alex Llompart; former Washington All-American Kyle McMorrow; 18-year-old Glendale resident Alexios Halebian; former Stanford star Ryan Thacher; former USC standout Daniel Nguyen; current UCLA sophomores Dennis Mkrtchian and Marcos Giron: current UCLA junior Clay Thompson and current USC junior Ray Sarmiento.
Several current ATP World Tour stars have found success in Claremont. Dmitry Tursunov of Russia won the 2002 singles title, broke into the Top 20 in 2006, and has won seven tour-level singles titles and five tour-level doubles titles. Israeli Dudi Sela, the 2006 Claremont singles champion, peaked at No. 29 in the world in 2009 after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon.