Sunday, January 11, 2015

Novikov stays hot with Futures doubles title

Dennis Novikov won his fourth title in singles or doubles
in his last three tournaments. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Another week, another Futures title for Dennis Novikov.
   This one came in doubles against a former Wimbledon champion.
   The fourth-seeded team of Novikov, a 21-year-old San Jose resident, and Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria nipped top-seeded James Cluskey of Ireland and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 4-6, 6-1 [10-4] on Friday to win the $15,000 Southern California USTA Pro Futures at USC in Los Angeles.
   Nielsen and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain in 2012 became the first wild cards to win the Wimbledon men's doubles title. Nielsen's grandfather, Kurt, advanced to the Wimbledon singles final in 1953 and 1955.  
   Novikov, who led nearby UCLA to the NCAA final as a sophomore last year before turning pro, won his fourth title in singles or doubles in his last three tournaments. In December, he captured  back-to-back singles crowns in Merida, Mexico, and the first doubles title there.
   Novikov, however, lost to 17-year-old wild card Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5 in the first round in Los Angeles.
   Fritz then beat UCLA star Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont, near Oakland, and 16-year-old sensation Stefan Kozlov in straight sets. Fritz will meet third-seeded Jason Jung of Torrance in the Los Angeles area in today's rain-delayed semifinals. 
  Kutrovsky, only 5-foot-9 (1.74 meters) and 152 pounds (69 kilograms), uses two hands on both sides. He reached the NCAA singles quarterfinals as a senior at the University of Texas in 2010.

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