September 4, 2015

Three Americans Headline Tallahassee Semifinals, Race For French Open Wild Card Continues

TTCLogo new_rev blue type

By Taylor Crosby

(April 30, 2015) Tallahassee – Three Americans highlight the singles semifinals at the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, kicking off Friday at 3pm at Forestmeadows Tennis Complex.

It’s an all-American semifinal as 23-year-old Tennys Sandgren and 17-year-old Frances Tiafoe face off.

Sandgren, who was a doubles champion here in 2013, defeated No.3 seed Frank Dancevic, Argentina’s Renzo Olivo, and No.6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo this week in Tallahasse.

Tiafoe is through to his second consecutive Challenger semifinal. The young gun defeated No.1 seed Facundo Bagnis, former FSU No.1 Jean-Yves Aubone, and Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez en route.

Both men are vying to win the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge for a chance to play in the French Open.

18-year-old American Jared Donaldson continues his run for a maiden Tallahassee

Tennis Challenger title as he takes on Argentina’s Facundo Arguello in the semifinals.

Donaldson, who won his first Challenger tour title earlier this year in Maui, won three tough battles en route to the semis, defeating FSU’s No.1 Benjamin Lock in the first round, No.8 seed James McGee in the second, and France’s Vincent Millot in the third.

No.5 seed Facundo Arguello is through to his first semifinal in Tallahassee. The Argentine has qualified for three ATP main draw events this year. He beat three Americans to advance to the semis: Stefan Kozlov, Tommy Paul, and Mitchell Krueger.

The Indian duo of Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh booked their spot in the doubles final with a tough 7-6(10), 6-4 win over the Argentinian pair of Facundo Arguello and Andrea Collarini.

Devvarman/Singh are looking for their first Challenger doubles title together.

In 2013, the tournament made a switch from hard courts to Har-Tru green clay, making it the final stop of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge and joining forces with other USTA Pro Circuit events in Sarasota and Savannah. In the Challenge, the American with the most rankings points in two of the three events earns the U.S. wild card into the French Open. Tiafoe leads the Wild Card Challenge Standings with 47 points. Donaldson follows with 33 and Sandgren has 7.

 

Results – Thursday, April 30

Singles Quarterfinals

Tennys Sandgren (USA) d [6] Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-2, 6-2

[5] Facundo Arguello (Argentina) d Mitchell Krueger (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Jared Donaldson (USA) d Vincent Millot (France) 6-4, 7-6(4)

Frances Tiafoe (USA) d Emilio Gomez (Ecuador) 6-1, 7-6(2)

Doubles Semifinal

Somdev Devvarman (India)/Sanam Singh (India) d Facundo Arguello (Argentina)/Andrea Collarini (Argentina) 7-6(10), 6-4

Order of Play – Friday, May 1

Center Court – 3pm

Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. Tennys Sandgren (USA)

Not before 5:30pm

Jared Donaldson (USA) vs. Facundo Arguello (Argentina)

Alex Kuznetsov (USA)/Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs. Dennis Novikov (USA)/Julio Peralta (Chile)

Share

Qualifier Takanyi Garanganga wins USTA Pro Circuit Long Beach Pro Futures

Takanyi Garanganga photo by Chris Ganz

Takanyi Garanganga photo by Chris Ganz

By Steve Pratt

LONG BEACH, Calif., (Jan. 18, 2015) – For three straight days Takanyi Garanganga dropped the first set at the USTA Pro Circuit Long Beach Futures Pro Tournament, and teetered on the brink of elimination. And each time he came back to pull out improbable victories, including Sunday’s final match of the $15,000 tournament played at the El Dorado Park Tennis Center.

 

The 24-year-old Garanganga, of Harare, Zimbabwe, rallied once again to defeat No. 6-seeded Frederik Nielsen of Denmark, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, in the final to capture the $2,160 first-place check and 27 valuable ATP ranking points.

 

Ranked No. 382 in the world, Garanganga did it the hard way all week. Having traveled from Amsterdam where he was training, he missed the entry deadline and showed up last week to sign into qualifying needing a wild card. Garanganga sat through two days of rain delays last Saturday and Sunday where not one ball was hit and then played and won every match he played for seven consecutive days, including two in qualifying and five in the main draw.

 

“I missed the deadline but I had to come here anyway on my way to Maui (for next week’s USTA Pro Circuit Challenger),” Garanganga said. “It was actually good for me to get the matches at the start of the year. I wasn’t playing very good at the beginning so it was good for me.”

 

The final was a match of momentum shifts and the large crowd on hand enjoyed the high-level tennis. Nielsen opened strong with an early break and led 4-1 in the first when midway through the sixth game Garanganga reached wide for a forehand and seemed to roll his right ankle.

 

He took a medical timeout and had his ankle wrapped, proceeded to break Nielsen’s serve and quickly got it to 4-4. In the first-set tiebreaker, Nielsen fell down 5-2 and on the eighth point following a missed forehand wide, Nielsen launched a ball halfway to downtown L.A. and was given a ball abuse warning.

 

But that seemed to lift his level of play as Nielsen then hit two big serves to pull it to 5-4. Garanganga missed a critical overhead long to make it 6-5 Nielsen, who then served out the set, which finally ended after an hour and 15 minutes.

 

Garanganga said he didn’t think back to the quarterfinals and semis where he also dropped the first set before coming back. “I just keep playing,” he said. “I just kept waiting for my chances. I was just playing in the moment and wasn’t thinking about past.”

 

He added: “I’m tired. I’m tired and my body is feeling it. But I will take a day off and then fly to Maui probably on Wednesday.”

 

Final Singles Results:

q: qualifier

Takanyi Garanganga (q), Zimbabwe def. Frederik Nielsen (6), Denmark, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4

 

Final Doubles Result:

Nick Meister, U.S. / Eric Quigley (3), U.S., def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria / Dennis Novikov (4), U.S., 6-3, 6-2

 

Share

Wimbledon Doubles Champ Frederik Nielsen Reaches Final of USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 Long Beach Futures Tournament

By Steve Pratt

LONG BEACH, Calif., (Jan. 17, 2015) – Steadiness and experience have gone along way for Frederik Nielsen this week at the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 Long Beach Futures Tournament taking place at the El Dorado Park Tennis Center.

 

The 31-year-old 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion and No. 6-seeded singles player this week, Nielsen of Denmark held off 2014 NCAA singles runner-up Alex Sarkissian from Glendale, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, to advance to Sunday’s final.

 

Nielsen, who avenged a 2013 loss to Sarkissian at the Aptos Challenger in their only career meeting, will play qualifier Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe in the 11 a.m. final.

 

Garanganga battled to the very end against hometown favorite Jason Jung of Torrance, pulling out the close 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over the No. 3 seeded former University of Michigan star.

 

The average age of the four players Nielsen beat this week was an average age of 19.5, including Martin Redlicki (19), Mackenzie McDonald (19), Stefan Kozlov (16) and Sarkissian (24).

 

Sarkissian held a 4-2 lead with Nielsen serving in the second set, and had two break points to go ahead 5-2 and serve out the match. But Nielsen stayed steady and held on to win the game and eventually the set.

 

“At the start of the match I felt like he was a step ahead of me and he was playing better than me and faster than me,” Nielsen said. “I started slicing and slowing the pace down.”

 

He added: “Physically I feel amazing, and mentally I feel tough. All and all I’m very happy with where I’m at.”

 

Nielsen has made some time for some sight-seeing this week and has been enjoying the picture-perfect 72-degree sunny weather this week. On Friday, he saw the sunset and views of the Pacific from the Griffith Observatory, and on Saturday evening he was headed to the Santa Monica Pier for dinner.

 

He surprised many with his 6-0 win in a third set against Kozlov in the quarterfinals on Friday. “I think it’s very tough to evaluate him now because of his age,” Nielsen said of Kozlov. “He’s only 16 years old and it’s outrageous his composure and how impressive he handles everything. I do feel he let me play a little too much on my terms and that he may have some physical limitations over the next couple of years. But he’s very mature and he’s a great fighter. I’m just glad I was able to beat him now.”

 

USTA League Captain’s Appreciation Day is Sunday, Jan. 18, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The tournament is free and open to the public.

 

Saturday’s Semifinal Singles Results:

q: qualifier

Frederik Nielsen (6), Denmark, def. Alex Sarkissian, U.S., 3-6, 6-4, 6-3

Takanyi Garanganga (q), Zimbabwe, def. Jason Jung (3), U.S., 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4

 

Friday’s Final Doubles Result:

Nick Meister, U.S. / Eric Quigley (3), U.S., def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria / Dennis Novikov (4), U.S., 6-3, 6-2

 

Sunday’s Final Singles Schedule

Starting at 11 a.m. PT

Frederik Nielsen (6), Denmark, vs. Takanyi Garanganga (q), Zimbabwe

 

SINGLES:                  Prize Money                Points

Winner                         $2,160                         27

Runner-up                   $1,272                         15

Semifinalist                 $753                            8

Quarterfinalist             $438                            3

Round of 16                $258                            1

Round of 32                $156                            —

 

DOUBLES:                Prize Money (per team)

Winner                         $930

Runner-up                   $540

Semifinalist                 $324

Quarterfinalist             $192

Round of 16                $108

Share

Jason Jung Reaches Semis of Long Beach Pro Futures Tournament

By Steve Pratt

(January 16, 2015) LONG BEACH, Calif. – Jason Jung did everything on Friday during the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 Long Beach Pro Futures Tournament semifinals that he wasn’t able to do against Mitchell Krueger last Sunday night in the final of the USTA Southern California Futures Tournament played at USC.

 

The 25-year-old No. 3-seeded Jung, who grew up just up the 405 Freeway in Torrance some 15 miles north from the tournament site at the El Dorado Park Tennis Center, avenged a bad finals loss to Krueger just five days ago in which he managed to win just three games. On Friday, Jung advanced to his second straight Futures semifinal in recording a come-from-behind victory over the No. 7-seeded Krueger of Aledo, Texas, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 6-4.

 

The former University of Michigan standout Jung is trying to win his third career USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles title. His last came in 2013 at the $10,000 Futures in Edwardsville, Ill. He spent most of last spring and summer competing overseas in ITF-level events in Korea and China. At Michigan, he received All-Big Ten honors in 2010 and 2011 and ranks fourth all-time in Wolverines’ history with 88 career doubles wins.

 

“This is my fourth year surprisingly as a pro,” Jung said. “It’s going to have to a big year for me with some big jumps and hopefully I’ll be able to play some Grand Slams.”

 

He added: “Hopefully there’s not too much pressure on me and I can have some fun. But I’m going to go for it and if it doesn’t happen, that’s OK.”

 

Ranked No. 321 in the world rankings, Jung will face qualifier Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe in Saturday’s second semifinal. Garanganga beat current USC senior Yannik Hanfmann of Germany also in comeback fashion, taking the final two sets in a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory.

 

Garanganga is currently ranked No. 382 in the world but had to get into qualifying with a wild card because he was a late entry and missed the deadline. Garanganga, who won the African Junior Championship at the age of 14, was discovered by Atlanta-based coach Brian de Villiers who brought him to the United States.

 

He turned down offers to play collegiately at the University of Georgia and the University of Illinois to focus on a professional career. Last year he posted wins over current Top 80 player Sam Groth and NCAA champion Marcos Giron.

 

In the first semifinal starting at 11 a.m., it will be Frederik Nielsen of Denmark, the No. 4 seed, against the unseeded former Pepperdine star Alex Sarkissian of Glendale, Calif. Nielsen needed three sets to beat 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov (7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-0) while Sarkissian eliminated qualifier Mico Santiago in another close match (7-6 (5), 6-2).

 

Serving was the key for Nielsen, who had eight aces and three doubles faults compared to eight double faults and three aces for Kozlov.

 

In the doubles final, a pair of former collegiate stars Nick Meister (UCLA) and Eric Quigley (University of Kentucky), the No. 4 seeds, defeated the No. 3 team of Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria of Dennis Novikov, also formerly of UCLA, 6-3, 6-2.

 

Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles Results:

q: qualifier

Frederik Nielsen (6), Denmark, def. Stefan Kozlov, U.S., 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-0

Alex Sarkissian, U.S., def. Mico Santiago (q), U.S., 7-6 (5), 6-2

Jason Jung (3), U.S., def. Mitchell Kruerger (7), U.S., 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 6-4

Takanyi Garanganga (q), Zimbabwe, def. Yannik Hanfmann, Germany, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3

 

Friday’s Final Doubles Result:

Nick Meister, U.S. / Eric Quigley (3), U.S., def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria / Dennis Novikov (4), U.S., 6-3, 6-2

 

Saturday’s Semifinal Singles Schedule

Starting at 11 a.m. PT

Frederik Nielsen (6), Denmark, vs. Alex Sarkissian, U.S.

Followed by Jason Jung (3), U.S., vs. Takanyi Garanganga (q), Zimbabwe

Share

Brengle Dominates Larcher De Brito To Capture Red Rock Pro Open Singles Title

 Madison-Brengle photo by Tracey Lee / Red Rock Pro Open


Madison-Brengle photo by Tracey Lee / Red Rock Pro Open

By Steve Pratt

SUMMERLIN (Sept. 28, 2014) – Breaking into the top 100 is the goal of any professional tennis player, and it’s a place Madison Brengle is likely headed to for the first time on Monday once the WTA ranking are released.

 

Missing among all the great headlines at the Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas this week was how the 24-year-old worked her way through the draw without dropping a set, including a dominating performance on Sunday in a 6-1, 6-4 final win over rival Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal to capture the $7,600 winner singles check at the USTA Women’s $50,000 Pro Circuit event played at the Red Rock Country Club.

 

But more importantly than the cash, the Dover, Del., native is also the welcome recipient of 80 valuable WTA points. The points will likely be enough to leap-frog the No. 4 seeded and currently No. 110 world-ranked Brengle into the top 100.

 

“Everyone wants to be in top 100 because that gets you right into the Grand Slams; that’s why we’re playing,” Brengle said. “I’ve been working really, really hard back home with my coaches so it just kind of solidifies the work I’ve been putting in. It’s just makes you want to keep going and getting better.”

 

The 21-year-old No. 8-seeded Larcher De Brito held a 5-2 career head-to-head over Brengle coming into the match, including the only time the two had met in a final. But several unforced errors early on allowed Brengle to get up early on Larcher De Brito and win the first set easily, 6-1.

 

“We’ve played so many times before,” Brengle said. “Michelle is such a fighter out there and she doesn’t give you anything. What she does so beautifully is she can re-direct the ball and she has really good control of it. So I had to play as solid as I could and keep the ball deep and move it around a lot.

 

“She really moved the ball around great yesterday against Anna (Tatishvili).”

 

Brengle did not face a seeded player on her way to the final, but beat players who, unlike Larcher De Brito, rely on a power game.

 

“I played some big hitters like (Julia) Boserup, (Samantha) Crawford and (Nicole) Vaidisova and they were all knocking the cover off the ball,” Brengle said. “So I had to play a little more defense this week, and I had to track down a lot of balls.”

 

Brengle has played Las Vegas before, but knows the goal is to not return here, but instead be a regular on the WTA Tour and play bigger events like former Las Vegas Pro Circuit players Lauren Davis, Sorana Cirstea, Varvara Lepchenko and CoCo Vandeweghe have.

 

“I’m older now and hopefully a little bit wiser,” she said. “As you get older you know what works for you preparation wise and my fitness is better than it’s ever been.

 

“I just have to keep going and keep improving. I really do enjoy playing and I have a great time out there.”

 

In the doubles final it was the No. 2-seeded team of Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay and Maria Irigoyen of Argentina taking out local Las Vegas resident Asia Muhammad and former USC All-American Maria Sanchez, 6-3, 5-7, 11-9 in a entertaining super tiebreaker.

 

The packed crowd of more than 400 enjoyed the matchup of the tournament’s top-two seeded teams. The winners from South America will split the $2,786 first-place check while the runners-up take home $1,393.

 

“This is the largest crowd out for a doubles match I’ve ever seen in Las Vegas,” Muhammad told the crowd after her match. “It was a really great week and I hope we keep this pro event in Las Vegas for years to come.”

 

SUNDAY’S FINAL RESULTS

Singles

Madison Brengle (USA) [4] def. Michelle Larcher De Brito (POR) [8], 6-1, 6-4

Doubles

Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) / Maria Irigoyen (ARG) [2] def. Asia Muhammad (USA) / Maria Sanchez (USA) [1], 6-3, 5-7, 11-9

Share

Melanie Oudin Captures Party Rock Open Title

MelanieOudin7172012

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 29, 2013) – Melanie Oudin captured her seventh overall career singles titles, sixth USTA $50,000 Pro Circuit event and first Party Rock Open with an exciting three-set win over fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe on Sunday at the Darling Tennis Center.

Traditionally not a fast starter, the 22-year-old Oudin from Marietta, Ga., was broken in the first game of the match and dropped the first set 5-7, before gaining control of the match to reel off a 6-3, 6-3 win and capture her first title of 2013 and the $7,600 that goes along with it.

For the second straight year the singles final was contested by two Americans at the Party Rock Open, which was played under ideal and warm 82-degree desert temperature and in front of an enthusiastic crowd that enjoyed top-level tennis all week long, even though both players said they got off to a slow start Sunday due to nerves.

“It wasn’t the best quality tennis from both of us,” said Oudin, who has won one WTA event on grass and now has six $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit titles, including wins in Vegas, Charlottesville, Va. (2012), New Braunfels, Texas, (2012), Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., (2009), Raleigh, N.C., (2009) and Lexington, Ky., (2008). “Obviously it’s never easy returning CoCo’s serve, but I felt like I was doing a better job of attacking it in the second set. It was close the entire time.”

Vandeweghe, 21, had a long exchange with the chair umpire after a disputed line call with Oudin leading 2-0 in the third set and Vandeweghe serving at deuce.

A late out call by the linesman went in favor Oudin and she won the next point taking the crucial 3-0 lead.

“I thought the ball was out,” Oudin said. “It was just a late call. It makes sense to me. And I think that’s what happened. But she was obviously upset about it.”

Vandeweghe took what seemed like two or three minutes to get an explanation from the chair umpire. “I have no idea what happened there,” Vandeweghe said afterward. “There was no explanation. I did my best to come back and kept fighting.”

Vandeweghe did, indeed, breaking Oudin’s serve for 3-1 and then serving what Oudin called a “great” game in the fifth game to hold and make it 3-2.

Oudin said she hasn’t decided but would like to play the next Pro Circuit event in her home state, a $25,000 event in Macon, Ga. Then she will play three more $50K events, two in Canada and one in Florida before shutting it down for the season.

Oudin was asked by a local reporter if she gets tired of often being solely linked to her great US Open quarterfinal run in 2009. “Yes, that’s way over. That’s like so long ago now. I’m so past that. Waaaay past that.”

Vandeweghe, who won $4,053 for finishing runner-up, was able come back and win the doubles title a week after taking the Albuquerque Challenger doubles event as she Austrian partner Tamira Paszek, the No. 2-seeded team, took out the U.S. pair of Denise Mursean and Caitlin Whoriskey, 6-4, 6-2. The winning team split $2,786 ($1,393 each) while the finalists earned $1,393 total ($696.50 each). Mursean and Whoriskey were both three-time All-Americans from the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee, respectively.

The Party Rock Open is Las Vegas’ only professional tennis tournament, and is named for LMFAO’s Redfoo and his Party Rock franchise’s title sponsorship.

Share

Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy to Host $50K USTA Women’s Pro Circuit Event in November

!cid_image002_jpg@01CEBB99

September 27, 2013, CAPTIVA, FLORIDA – The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy has announced that they will be hosting a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Event – the South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic – from November 3rd-10th at the award-winning South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Florida.  This tournament is the last USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Event on the calendar in 2013 and opportunity for players to obtain WTA Tour points for the 2014 Australian Open. This event will benefit three local philanthropic causes – the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Madisen’s Match and Partners for Breast Cancer Care, Inc.

 

“We are thrilled to have been selected to host the South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic,” said Tournament Director, Nick Blackwood (also Co-Founder of the Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy).  “The tournament will not only bring highly competitive tennis to our area that will give the excitement and experience of the professional game up close, but it will also benefit our community and the three philanthropic causes we are supporting.”

 

For more information on the South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic, visit www.facebook.com/www.ssirproclassic

Share

Shelby Rogers Claims US Open Wild Card Through USTA Pro Circuit Events

Shelby Rogers by Craig Glover / Party Rock Open

Shelby Rogers by Craig Glover / Party Rock Open

From the USTA: (July 28, 2013) The USTA announced that Shelby Rogers has earned a main draw wild card into the 2013 US Open. This year, the USTA awarded one women’s singles main draw wild card into the US Open to the American who earned the most WTA Tour Ranking points at two of three $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events in Yakima, Wash., Portland, Ore., and Lexington, Ky. Rogers earned a combined 102 points with her best two results, winning the title in Lexington today and reaching the semifinals in Portland.

Rogers also earned a main-draw wild card into the 2013 French Open by winning the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge; in Paris, she defeated Irena Pavlovic in the first round to win her first-ever Grand Slam main draw match. The winner of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge was determined similarly to this US Open wild card system by the player who accumulated the greatest number of WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events. Rogers rose to the top of the standings by winning the title at the $50,000 event in Charlottesville, Va., and reaching the quarterfinals at the $50,000 event in Dothan, Ala.

Last year, Rogers made a run to the final of the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Las Vegas and claimed the singles title in Yakima with a victory over US Open girls’ champion Samantha Crawford. As a junior player, Rogers won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn a wild card into the main draw of the 2010 US Open for her first appearance in a Grand Slam (in the either main draw or the juniors). She trains at the USTA National Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and is ranked No. 143 in the world.

The USTA first used this wild card format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker, who each advanced to the second round at last year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. The USTA also used this format to grant a men’s and women’s main draw wild card into the 2012 US Open, which was won by Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, who both reached the third round of the US Open, as well as the 2013 French Open, which was won by Alex Kuznetsov and Rogers.

Ranking points from two out of four men’s events—$50,000 events in Binghamton, N.Y., and Lexington, Ky., and $100,000 events in Vancouver, B.C., and Aptos, Calif.—will be used and combined to calculate the men’s point total and determine the US Open wild card recipient. Vancouver and Aptos will be held over the next two weeks. Lexington concludes today. Alex Kuznetsov currently leads the men’s standings with 80 points after winning Binghamton.

Only players who have not earned direct acceptance into the US Open are eligible for the wild card.

Share