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:
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