Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Querrey heads field for Sacramento Challenger

Sam Querrey waves to the sparse crowd after
his late-night win in the first round at Indian
Wells in March. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sam Querrey, ranked 52nd in the world and fourth in the United States, is scheduled to make his first Challenger appearance in more than two years later this month in Sacramento.
   The 26-year-old San Francisco native heads the entry list for the $100,000 Sacramento Pro Circuit Challenger, Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 at the Natomas Racquet Club. The only other top-100 player in the field is No. 76 Adrian Mannarino of France.
   Other entrants include:
   --Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up from Cyprus.
   --Robby Ginepri, the only active U.S. man to have reached a Grand Slam singles semifinal (2005 U.S. Open).
   --Tim Smyczek, last year's Sacramento Challenger runner-up from Tampa, Fla.
   --Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA champion as a Stanford sophomore.
   --Ryan Harrison, who reached the top 50 in the world two years ago at age 20.
   --Former Sacramento Challenger champions Wayne Odesnik (2007) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and John Millman (2010) of Australia.
   --Peter Polansky, last year's Tiburon Challenger champion from Canada.
   All except Querrey and Mannarino also are scheduled to play in the $50,000 Napa Valley Challenger, Monday through Sept. 28 at the Napa Valley Country Club.
   Donald Young, last year's Napa and Sacramento champion now ranked No. 50, is not entered in either tournament.
   The entry list for the $100,000 First Republic Bank Tiburon Challenger, Oct. 6-12 at the Tiburon Peninsula Club, has not been released.
   Querrey, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), and Mannarino, a 26-year-old left-hander, have played well recently. Both reached the third round of the U.S. Open, and while Querrey was winning both of his Davis Cup singles matches against Slovakia in Chicago last week, Mannarino was winning the $75,000 Istanbul Challenger on hardcourts.
   Querrey climbed to a career-high No. 17 in January 2011 but has battled injuries since then. Although he grew up in Las Vegas and the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks, he is very familiar with Northern California.
   He has played in the Sacramento Challenger three times, reaching the semifinals in October 2011 before losing to eventual champion Ivo Karlovic, a 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Croat, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4.
   In addition, Querrey played part-time for the Sacramento Capitals in 2012 and 2013 before the longest-running franchise in World TeamTennis at 28 years announced it was moving to Las Vegas. Less than three weeks later, team owner Deepal Wannakuwatte was charged with orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme related to his medical supply business, and the franchise disbanded without playing a match as the Las Vegas Neon.  
   Querrey played annually in the SAP Open in San Jose on the ATP World Tour, advancing to the singles semifinals in 2010 and 2013 and winning the doubles title in 2010 with Mardy Fish. The tournament was replaced on the calendar by Rio de Janeiro beginning last February after 125 years in Northern California.
   Querrey made his professional debut at 18 in Yuba City, a one-hour drive north of Sacramento. He won the 2006 Challenger, defeating Sam Warburg of Sacramento in the final.
   The Yuba City Challenger was last held in June 2009, and Warburg retired that October at age 26.

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