Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Donaldson, 17, upstages Harrison in Napa Challenger

Ryan Harrison lost to 17-year-old fellow American
Jared Donaldson 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the
Napa Valley Challenger. 2013 photo by Paul Bauman 
   Not so long ago, Ryan Harrison was considered the top prospect in U.S. men's tennis.
   Now that distinction might go to Jared Donaldson.
   Donaldson, 17, of Chepachet, R.I., and Irvine surprised Harrison 6-3, 7-5 today in the first round of the $50,000 Napa Valley Challenger at the Napa Valley Country Club.
   Also, two seeds lost for the second straight day. Monday's victims, No. 4 Bradley Klahn and No. 7 Denis Kudla, are American. Today's casualties, No. 5 Peter Polansky and No. 8 Frank Dancevic, are Canadian.
   Alex Bolt of Australia knocked off Polansky, who won last year's $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, 6-3, 6-2. Bolt, a 21-year-old left-hander, reached the Australian Open doubles quarterfinals in January with countryman Andrew Whittington.
   American qualifier Daniel Nguyen took out Dancevic 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3. Nguyen, a 23-year-old native of Oxnard, Calif., helped USC win four NCAA championships (2009-12).
   After the first round in Napa, No. 2 Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., is the only seed left in the bottom half of the draw. 
   Hopes were high for Harrison when he reached a career-high No. 43 in the world two years ago at 20. However, the intense, temperamental resident of Boca Raton, Fla., has plunged to No. 185. 
   Donaldson, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), turned pro last month after winning three consecutive Futures titles (in four weeks) in June and qualifying for his first main draw on the elite ATP World Tour in Washington, D.C. There, he lost to American veteran Rajeev Ram 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5 in the opening round.
   As a wild card in the recent U.S. Open, Donaldson lost to 20th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round. Monfils advanced to the quarterfinals and had two match points against Roger Federer in a five-set loss.
   In other Napa first-round matches, top-seeded Sam Querrey of Las Vegas and third-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus advanced in straight sets.
   Querrey, a 26-year-old native of nearby San Francisco, defeated qualifier Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 7-6 (5), 6-3. Nielsen and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain in 2012 became the first wild cards to win the Wimbledon men's doubles title.
   Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up to Federer, improved to 16-0 in Challengers this year with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over wild card Marcos Giron of Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles area.
   Baghdatis has won Challengers in Nottingham, Vancouver and Aptos this year. The latter two came in consecutive weeks in August.
   Giron, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters), turned pro in July after winning the NCAA singles title as a UCLA junior. He graduated from Thousand Oaks High School, Querrey's alma mater.
At Napa Valley Country Club in Napa, Calif.
First-round singles
   Michael Russell, United States, def. Tennys Sandgren, United States, 4-6 6-4, 6-2.
   Elias Ymer, Sweden, def. James McGee, Ireland, 7-5, 6-3.
   Daniel Nguyen, United States, def. Frank Dancevic (8), Canada, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3.
   Jared Donaldson, United States, def. Ryan Harrison, United States, 6-3, 7-5.
   Julian Lenz, Germany, def. John-Patrick Smith, Australia, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
   Tim Smyczek (2), United States, def. Nils Langer, Germany, 6-3, 6-1.
   Sam Querrey (1), United States, def. Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
   Rhyne Williams, United States, def. Jordan Thompson, Australia, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-5.
   Marcos Baghdatis (3), Cyprus, def. Marcos Giron, United States, 6-3, 6-2.
   John Millman, Australia, def. Matt Reid, Australia, 6-1, 6-2.
   Dennis Novikov, San Jose, def. Matt Seeberger, Los Altos, 6-2, 6-2.
   Alex Bolt, Australia, def. Peter Polansky (5), Canada, 6-3, 6-2.
First-round doubles
   Liam Broady, Great Britain, and Jordan Thompson, Australia, lead Julio Peralta, Chile, and Matt Seeberger, Los Altos, 7-6 (5), suspended by darkness. 
Wednesday's schedule
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
Center Court
   Tim Smyzcek (2), United States, vs. Bjorn Fratangelo, United States.
   Alex Kuznetsov, United States, vs. Liam Broady, Great Britain.
   Peter Polansky and Adil Shamasdin (1), Canada, vs. Bjorn Fratangelo and Marcos Giron, United States (not before 1:30 p.m.).
   Wayne Odesnik, United States, vs. Jared Donaldson, United States.
   Liam Broady, Great Britain, and Jordan Thompson, Australia (to finish).
Court 7
   Denis Kudla and Michael Russell, United States, vs. Wesley Koolhof, Netherlands, and Elias Ymer, Sweden.
   Daniel Nguyen, United States, vs. Julian Lenz, Germany.
   Alex Bolt, Australia, and Frank Dancevic, Canada, vs. Sekou Bangoura and Vahid Mirzadeh (3), United States.
   Alex Kuznetsov, United States, and Nils Langer, Germany, vs. James Cluskey and James McGee, Ireland.

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