Thursday, September 26, 2013

Michael Venus scores upset again in Napa

   Michael Venus pulled off his second consecutive upset in the inaugural Napa Valley Challenger.
   The 25-year-old New Zealander nipped Robby Ginepri of Kennesaw, Ga., 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) today in the second round of the $50,000 tournament at the Napa Valley Country Club.
   Venus, the only unseeded player in the quarterfinals, and Ginepri, who also was unseeded, are ranked No. 364 and No. 229 in the world, respectively. Ginepri had won their only previous meeting 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Binghamton (N.Y.) Challenger last year.
  Ginepri, 30, is the only active U.S. man to have reached a Grand Slam singles semifinal, losing to Andre Agassi in five sets in 2005.
   Ginepri has reached the fourth round or better at all four Grand Slam tournaments and won three titles on the ATP World Tour, the major leagues of men's tennis. The right-hander climbed to a career-high No. 15 in the world in 2006 but broke his left elbow in September 2010 when he fell off his bicycle trying to avoid a squirrel. He missed 10 months.
   Venus, a former LSU All-American who surprised seventh-seeded Steve Johnson of Orange, Calif., in the first round, will meet fourth-seeded Alex Kuznetsov of Tampa, Fla., on Friday at 1 p.m. on Court 6.
   The other quarterfinal matchups, in order on the Stadium Court beginning at 11:30 a.m., are No. 3 Rhyne Williams of Knoxville, Tenn., against No 8 Donald Young of Atlanta, No. 1 Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., vs. sixth-seeded Matthew Ebden of Australia and No. 2 Tim Smyczek of Tampa against No. 5 Bradley Klahn of Poway in the San Diego area.
   Neither Kudla nor Smyczek (pronounced SMEE-chek) has lost more than two games in a set in his two matches at Napa. The 5-foot-11 (1.80-meter) Kudla, ranked No. 99, is the only top-100 player in the singles draw. Smyczek, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters), gained the third round of the recent U.S. Open.
   Klahn is playing 81 miles (130 kilometers) north of Stanford, where he starred from 2009 to 2012. He won the 2010 NCAA singles title as a sophomore, underwent surgery for a herniated disc as a junior and graduated in economics last year. In his last three years, Klahn reached the quarterfinals or better in NCAA singles and doubles.
   Here are links to the singles and doubles draws and Friday's schedule:

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