Friday, October 10, 2014

Giron tops No. 3 Klahn; No. 2 Smyczek stages big rally

Marcos Giron, top, ousted No. 3 seed Bradley
Klahn, below, on Thursday in Tiburon in a
battle of reigning and former NCAA singles
champs, respectively. Photos by Paul Bauman
   Third-seeded Bradley Klahn exited the $100,000 First Republic Bank Tiburon Challenger on Thursday, and second-seeded Tim Smyczek almost followed his fellow American out the door.
   In a matchup of reigning and past NCAA singles champions from the Pacific-12 Conference, qualifier Marcos Giron ousted Klahn 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1) at the Tiburon Peninsula Club to reach his first Challenger quarterfinal.
   Smyczek (pronounced SMEE-check) rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the final set and beat 17-year-old Jared Donaldson, one of the United States' top prospects, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in 2 hours, 27 minutes.
   After Donaldson held for 5-3 in the third set, Smyczek won 16 of the last 17 points, including the final 14. He also overcame a 4-2 deficit in the second set.
   Giron, who's listed at 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters) but looks smaller, turned pro after winning the NCAA crown as a UCLA junior in May. Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander who has battled injuries this year, captured the 2010 NCAA title and graduated from Stanford in 2012.
   Giron will meet qualifier Nils Langer of Germany in today's first quarterfinal at 11 a.m., followed by Smyczek vs. John Millman of Australia.
   Millman dismantled lucky loser Liam Broady of Great Britain 6-1, 6-2 in a 10 a.m. match after crushing Chase Buchanan, the 2012 NCAA doubles champion with Ohio State teammate Blaz Rola, 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.
   "The conditions here are super slow, especially in that 10 o'clock time slot," Millman observed. "There's not a lot of heat on the court, and these balls ... you're playing with soccer balls out there.
   "It becomes pretty hard to play through the conditions. The harder you try to play through the conditions, the more frustrated you're going to get because you're not getting much pace off the racket and the balls aren't doing much off the court. I was just telling myself to play with the conditions as opposed to playing through them."
   Smyczek is 1-0 against Millman, winning 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of qualifying on grass in Halle, Germany, in 2012 on the elite ATP World Tour. 
   "They nearly didn't let me start the match because I had the wrong-soled shoes on," Millman recalled with a chuckle. "They didn't like the shoes I was wearing. They thought they'd rip up the court too much."
   Then Millman joked about the hardcourts in Tiburon, "I'll check with Keith (USTA supervisor Keith Crossland) and (make sure) these are fine."
   Millman played the first two rounds of qualifying in Halle with his shoes, "but if I won, they weren't going to let me on the court," he said.
   Smyczek, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters), is ranked No. 101 in the world after reaching a career-high No. 73 last November.
   "Obviously, he's a high-quality player," said Millman, who's fighting his way back up the rankings after undergoing shoulder surgery in July last year. "He's been in and out of the top hundred, and you don't do that by fluke. You do that because you're a very good player.
   "He returns extremely well. He's not the tallest guy, so he's developed some really good returns because he probably doesn't win as many free points on his serve, although he's still got a good serve. On groundstrokes, he's really solid on the forehand and backhand wing, and he's very quick. He doesn't have a lot of holes. I expect a really tough match."
$100,000 FIRST REPUBLIC BANK TIBURON CHALLENGER
At Tiburon Peninsula Club
Second-round singles
   John Millman, Australia, def. Liam Broady, Great Britain, 6-1, 6-2.
   Marcos Giron, United States, def. Bradley Klahn (3), United States, 7-6 (3, 7-6 (1).
   Nils Langer, Germany, def. John-Patrick Smith, Australia, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
   Tim Smyczek (2), United States, def. Jared Donaldson, United States, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
Doubles quarterfinals
   Carsten Ball and Matt Reid, Australia, def. Sekou Bangoura and Vahid Mirzadeh (4), United States, 6-3, 6-3.
   Chase Buchanan and Tennys Sandgren, United States, def. James Cluskey, Ireland, and Frederik Nielsen (3), Denmark, 5-7, 6-4 [10-4].
   Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak (1), New Zealand, def. Thomas Fabbiano and Luca Vanni, Italy, 6-4, 7-5.
   Bradley Klahn, United States, and Adil Shamasdin (2), Canada, def. Julio Peralta, Chile, and Matt Seeberger, Los Altos, 7-5, 6-3.
Today's schedule
Stadium Court
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Nils Langer, Germany, vs. Marcos Giron, United States.
   Tim Smyczek (2), United States, vs. John Millman, Australia.
   Sam Querrey (1), United States, vs. James McGee, Ireland (not before 3 p.m.).
   Marcus Daniell and Artem Sitak (1), New Zealand, vs. Carsten Ball and Matt Reid, Australia.
Court 1
(Starting at 1:30 p.m.)
   Bjorn Fratangelo, United States, vs. Matt Reid, Australia.

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