Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Niland's dream match ends quickly

   Even though he lost, Conor Niland fulfilled a dream Tuesday.
   After toiling in tennis' minor leagues for years, the former Cal All-American faced world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open.
   Trailing 6-0, 5-1 in the biggest tennis stadium in the world with a capacity of 22,547, Niland retired with food poisoning after 44 minutes in the first round at Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   “To get to play Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 player in the world, is amazing,” the 29-year-old Irishman, who won three qualifying matches to enter the main draw, was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour Web site before the match. “It was always my goal to get to these type of situations.
   "Being an Irish player, we did not have that many guys on tour, and it was always kind of exciting to think that maybe I could be the guy to get here. It took me a long time to do it. Had it not been for the support of my family, I am not sure if I would have continued. They always told me to back myself and keep believing.”
   Niland, who beat Roger Federer when they were 13 and was named the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year in 2006, is ranked No. 197 in the world in singles after reaching a career-high of No. 129 last December. He has singles records of 117-72 on the ITF Futures circuit, 68-77 on the ATP Challenger Tour, 9-10 on the ATP World Tour and 0-2 in Grand Slam tournaments.
   “Six months is a long time on the tennis tour,” said Niland, who also lost in the first round at Wimbledon in June as a qualifier. “And you can always turn your career around in that period of time. You can go from losing matches in Futures to winning a few in Challengers to qualifying for ATP 250s. And then you are in qualies of a Slam with the chance to play against great players.
   "Nobody knows this better than me. For all those guys playing Challengers this week, keep believing and keep trying for the biggest stages in tennis.”
  Also in men's singles at the U.S. Open, Folsom resident Dmitry Tursunov lost to Steve Darcis of Belgium for the second consecutive week. Tursunov fell 6-7 (4), 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6 (0) after succumbing 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the second round at Winston-Salem, N.C.
   In women's singles, Vania King of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis dispatched Greta Arn of Hungary 6-1, 6-4. King, who had won only one singles match in five tournaments since the French Open, will meet 29th-seeded Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia in the second round.
   King's teammate on the Capitals, Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, ended a four-match losing streak in doubles. Knowles and Belgium's Xavier Malisse, seeded 15th, defeated wild cards Jack Sock and Jack Withrow, both from Nebraska, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
   Knowles, who will turn 40 Sunday, and Malisse, a comparative youngster at 31, won the Los Angeles title last month in their first tournament together. Sock and Withrow captured the boys 18 doubles title in the USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., this month to earn an automatic berth in the U.S. Open.
   Another American wild-card team, Stanford senior Bradley Klahn and former Cardinal All-American David Martin, lost to seventh-seeded Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-4, 6-4. Lindstedt and Tecau have lost in the Wimbledon final for the past two years.
   New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):  
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), no singles ranking.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), no singles ranking.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 28 in doubles (no change), no singles ranking.
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 40 in doubles (-2), no singles ranking.
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 43 in singles (+1), No. 96 in doubles (-2).
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 105 in doubles (-2), No. 701 in singles (no change).
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- No. 152 in doubles (+2), 1,234 in singles (-5).
   Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 197 in singles (+2), no doubles ranking. 
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 390 in singles (-7), No. 682 in doubles (-5).
   Dusan Vemic, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2010-11) -- No. 503 in doubles (-5), No. 1,508 in singles (-4).
   Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 767 in singles (-20), No. 1,225 in doubles (-2).
Women
   Vania King, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2010-11) -- No. 7 in doubles (no change), No. 103 in singles (+2).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 53 in doubles (-2), no singles ranking.
   Christina Fusano, Sacramento native, Plymouth resident, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 174 in doubles (no change), no singles ranking.
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 220 in doubles (-1), No. 380 in singles (-2).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please help defray travel expenses
$
Thanks for your donation!