Sunday, August 11, 2013

Brit to face wrath of Klahn in Aptos final

Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA champion from Stanford,
upset No. 2 seed Evgeny Donskoy to reach the final of
the Comerica Bank Challenger. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Today's singles final in the $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos, Calif., features two unseeded players.
   Yet it's hardly surprising that Bradley Klahn and Daniel Evans will meet for the first time.
   Klahn, who starred at nearby Stanford from 2009 to 2012, will appear in his third Challenger final in his last five tournaments. Evans will play in his second in two weeks.
   One of them will win his first title of the summer. Klahn, 22, of Poway in the San Diego area, seeks the first Challenger title of his career and Evans, 23, of Great Britain, his second.
   Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander, toppled No. 2 seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-4 in Saturday's semifinals at the Seascape Sport Club.
   Evans, a 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) right-hander, dismissed qualifier Farrukh Dustov of Uzbekistan 7-6 (2), 6-3 despite converting only 55 percent of his first serves and committing seven double faults.
   Klahn, the 2010 NCAA champion, is ranked No. 147 in the world. Evans is No. 194. Both figures are career highs.
   Evans will try to become the first British player to win the Comerica Bank Challenger since Andy Murray in 2005. Last month, Murray ended Great Britain's 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men's singles champion.
   Klahn will attempt to become the first Stanford alumnus to capture the Aptos title since Jeff Salzenstein 10 years ago and the fourth overall. Salzenstein also won in 2001, Bob Bryan in 2000 and Alex O'Brien in 1992. 
   After the 1 p.m. singles final, Chris Guccione will seek his fourth Comerica doubles title in five years. But the fourth-seeded pair of Guccione and fellow Australian Matt Reid will face a formidable challenge against third-seeded Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram, the 2008 Australian Open champions from Israel.
   Guccione, a 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) left-hander with a booming serve, and Reid advanced with a 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over unseeded Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark. Nielsen and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain last year became the first wild cards in Wimbledon history to win the doubles crown.  
   Erlich and Ram coasted past Tatsuma Ito and Hiroki Moriya of Japan 6-3, 6-4.
   Guccione won the Comerica doubles title from 2009 through 2011 with Carsten Ball, a Southern California native who plays for Australia. Guccione also won the 2009 singles crown in Aptos.
$100,000 COMERICA BANK CHALLENGER
At Seascape Sports Club in Aptos, Calif.
Singles semifinals
   Bradley Klahn, United States, def. Evgeny Donskoy (2), Russia, 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-4.
   Daniel Evans, Great Britain, def. Farrukh Dustov, Uzbekistan, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Doubles semifinals
   Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram (3), Israel, def. Tatsuma Ito and Hiroki Moriya, Japan, 6-3, 6-4.
   Chris Guccione and Matt Reid (4), Australia, def. Ruben Bemelmans, Belgium, and Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Today's schedule
Center Court
(Starting at 1 p.m.)
   Daniel Evans, Great Britain, vs. Bradley Klahn, United States.
   Chris Guccione and Matt Reid (4), Australia, vs. Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram (4), Israel.

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