Fritz almost had another shock loss at a challenger. He beat Gonzalo Lama 6-7(9) 6-4 7-6(10). #epic He will hit top 70 in the live rankings if he wins his QF match against Ito. Fritz has been a bit shaky lately so I don’t really know if he’s gonna get the win there. If he plays well he can take that one but Ito might be too solid especially if Taylor isn’t playing too well kinda like his recent results show. Hope he can win that match against Ito. It should be a good one. Vamos Fritz!!
Bjorn Fratangelo got the RG USTA wildcard with his title in savannah. He was on fire towards the end. He just obliterated Kudla and Donaldson in the semis and final and also beat tiafoe earlier in the event as well. He crashed out first round to eventual finalist Halys next week in Tallahassee but Donaldson lost to Hemery first round so Bjorn got the WC. Speaking of Tallahassee Halys plays tiafoe in the final tomorrow. Harrison was in semi against tiafoe and unsurprising blew it. He was up a break like twice in the second set and just kept double faulting and throwing them away. He hit a DF to give away break up 3-2 then DF to give away break up 4-3 then double faulted again this time at AD out at 4-5 and his racket was toast after that. Good news is tiafoe is in the final once again. Hopefully he can get the W this time unlike last year when he lost to Arguello. My pick for his match with Halys is Tiafoe to take the title in three sets.
There were 9 Americans at the start of the French Open qualifying tournament: Rubin, Novikov, Smyczek, Donaldson, Kozlov, Tiafoe, Nguyen, Paul, and Harrison. Five of them made it to the second round of qualies: Harrison, Donaldson, Tiafoe, Novikov, and Paul. Only two made the final round. Donaldson and Tiafoe. Tiafoe lost 6-4 in the third to Ungur who also beat Smyczek round one. Now the only hope for USA to have a player come out of qualies is Donaldson, who faces Basilashvili, who just won the Heilbronn challenger. Jared can win that but he did fall at this same stage of the qualies last year. Hope he can get some revenge. It’s a bit of a shame the Americans couldn’t do more. I thought Tiafoe was gonna get through so that was especially disappointing. Harrison did surprise me by winning a match at least lol.
The French had it even worse actually. There were 17 guys from France at start of the qualies and only one made the final round: De Schepper. He’s been to Wimbledon fourth round before but doesn’t really have a game that would seem suitable for clay but he actually cruised past a recently somewhat resurgent Volandri and his countryman Millot. Those are impressive victories for the big serving lefty. I really like his game but he doesn’t really play on the main tour that much so we don’t get to see too much of him. In fact he’s only 1-2 on tour this season. Still I guess being at home helps and he’s been able to power through in Paris. He plays Sijsling tomorrow for a spot in the main draw. Allez Kenny!!
They played a couple of the final round qualifying matches today. Five of them to be exact. I didn’t realize this until watching rerun of ithe match but Francis was up 6-4 1-0 serving up 40-30 in his loss. Not a huge lead but still that’s too bad. It was like Ungur’s 18th try at qualifying for a grand slam though and he finally did it so that’s nice for him.
By the way these are the five guys that have already qualified: Albot (def. Golubev 0 and 6), Carballes Baena (def. Copil 6-4 3-6 6-4), Djere (def. Pavlasek 6-2 3-6 6-2), Ungur (def. Tiafoe 4-6 6-2 6-4), and Kamke (def. Arnaboldi 7-5 6-4. Djere and RCB both are in their first GS main draws. Djere beat chiudinelli 4 and 0 first round and won two 10-8 tiebreaks over Kicker in second round before taking down in form Pavlasek. Pretty impressive stuff from the young Serb.
Of the eleven matches tomorrow, the two that really stand out to me are Brown VS Brands and Nishioka VS Stepanek. I’m thinking stepanek wins that in straights though it is a pretty intriguing matchup. Brown and Brands is a toss up for me. Both guys have really cruised through to this point. I’ll take the flamboyant Brown in a three set thriller. Speaking of three set thrillers, there haven’t been too many this year for some reason. Only four matches have gone past 6-6 in the third. Two in each round. One was 8-6 for nishioka over laaksonen in round two after the Jap beat Sakharov 2-6 7-5 7-5 round one. He’s grinding away on the Parisian clay. Also berlocq beat de greef in an epic 9-7 in the third encounter. The other two were Gaio over Ignatik 7-6 6-7 9-7 and Basic over Gombos 8-6 in the third.
Actually four matches past 6-6 in the third is a pretty good amount I would say. Maybe they don’t feel like that much just because none have gonna past 9-7 to something like 15-13 or something lol. I hope we get one of those tomorrow. I wanna see something like Brown over Brands 7-6(6) 6-7(4) 14-12 that would be awesome. Let’s go Dreddy!!
It’s looking shaky so far for Americans in Paris. Donald Young was ousted easily by Gabashvili and Jack Sock led two sets to love on Haase and it was two sets all when the final rain delay happened. Forecast in Paris not looking good tomorrow either. If Jack does get that match done I’m thinking he will find a way to win that fifth set. This rain delay should help because now haase won’t have all this momentum he would’ve been carrying into the decider. I’m thinking something like 6-3 for Sock.
Isner is the only American left now. Up 4-2 in the fifth. Sock was at 4-4 in the fifth this morning and up 30-0 on his serve and he just hit a bunch of random forehand and backhand errors to lose the next four points and the next game. It was really an erratic end to the match. His usually solid forehand really let him down at the end. It’s a shame we couldn’t have two Americans in the second week. Now it looks like big John will be the lone American into the fourth round. That is if he can get this one done. He’s up 5-2 now so it looks like he’s gonna get there. Let’s go Big John!!
There were 11 Americans in the first round at Wimbledon: Rampras, Novikov, Isner, Johnson, Querrey, Kudla, Sock, Young, Fritz, Baker, and Fratangelo. Only six are left. ? Young up two sets to one in round one against Leo Mayer, Johnson playing Chardy round two, Querrey cruising against Bellucci in round two, Isner up a set and down a break in the second against Baghdatis, Sock is playing Haase round two, and Novikov got his second career grand slam win and first in four years to set up a second round showdown with Sousa. Fortunately, these are all pretty winnable matches for each of these remaining Americans. Let’s go USA!! ???
Actually six isn’t bad. I probably didn’t need the sad face there lol. Plus the five that lost all had tough matchups except for Kudla. He and Pospisil both really failed to back up their awesome runs here last year.
18 year old Michael Mmoh wins first challenger title the week after 19 year old Opelka does the same. Now those two are in the lead in the aus open wildcard challenge. I’m rooting for Opelka to win it but right now Mmoh is in the lead barely because he won a match last week in Charlottesville while Opelka didn’t even play in Knoxville which is where Mmoh won. This week in Champaign is huge. One of those two will probably win the wildcard. Opelka’s shoulder was apparently tired or bothering him so he rested last week so I’d say he’s gonna be pretty well prepared with enough rest to make another run on the indoor hard courts of Champaign. Come on Reilly!! Get the wildcard!! If Mmoh wins wildcard I’ll be happy too because it will be a young American but I’m rooting for Opelka to get it. Rubin too but he’s got pretty much no chance. He would have to win in Champaign and hope that neither Mmoh or Opelka wins a match there.
Some great results for Americans lately!! First at Davis Cup they sweeped Switzerland 5-0. During that good weekend for the Americans, Ryan Harrison climbed from 78 to 62 in the rankings after winning his biggest challenger title to date by winning the 125k event in Dallas by beating another American who had a good tourney, Taylor Fritz, 6-3 6-3 in the final. Also in Quito, Ram won his first round match on the clay courts of Ecuador for a second straight year. Last year when he won his first rounder against Zeballos, it was the first ATP tour level clay court win of his career. This time, he takes down Dolgopolov. That’s pretty impressive for Rampras to pick up that opening win in Quito considering his singles form has been kinda lackluster in recent times. Also in San Francisco, a new challenger event, quite a few young Americans are in action. Jared Donaldson hasn’t really been the same since his first round collapse in Melbourne after he lost to JP Smith in straight sets today and lost to Sarkissian a few weeks ago in Maui. Now 3 straight losses for Jared who actually had a very good week in Brisbane to start the season. Still, teens Opelka and Mmoh won their first rounders and so did Americans Mackenzie McDonald and Denis Kudla. Fritz and Tiafoe are the top two seeds there in San Fran so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare as well.
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