Sunday, August 16, 2015

Millman, Krajicek have much at stake in Aptos final

John Millman, shown Wednesday, can win his second
straight Challenger and become the first No. 1 seed in
the 28-year history of the Aptos tournament to win the
title. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   John Millman and Austin Krajicek have extra motivation today in the final of the $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos, Calif.
   Millman, a 26-year-old Australian, can win his second straight Challenger and become the first No. 1 seed in the 28-year history of the Aptos tournament to win the title.
   The seventh-seeded Krajicek, a 25-year-old left-hander from Bradenton, Fla., can earn a wild card into the upcoming U.S. Open and continue the Aptos streak.
   Millman, who won the $50,000 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger two weeks ago, outlasted third-seeded Kyle Edmund of Great Britain 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 Saturday at the Seascape Sports Club. It was the first time Millman has lost a set in the tournament.
   Krajicek beat countryman and good friend Bjorn Fratangelo, seeded fourth, 6-3, 7-6 (2) after knocking out second-seeded Malek Jaziri of Tunisia in the quarterfinals.
   Krajicek is 1-0 against Millman, having won 6-2, 6-4 in May 2014 on a hardcourt in the first round of the Busan (South Korea) Challenger. But Millman had recently returned from shoulder surgery.
Seventh-seeded Austin Krajicek, shown Thursday,
would earn a wild card into the U.S. Open with a win
over Millman today. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Millman already is ranked high enough at No. 85 to earn his first berth in the main draw of the U.S. Open, Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in  Flushing Meadows, N.Y. The 132nd-ranked Krajicek, though, much receive a wild card or qualify.
   Fratangelo leads the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge with only Aptos remaining, but Krajicek can finish first with a victory today. The American who fares the best in two of three designated summer tournaments, including $50,000 Binghamton (N.Y.) and Lexington, will receive a wild card into the  singles main draw of the U.S. Open. If Krajicek loses to Millman, Fratangelo will get the wild card.
   Krajicek has never played in the singles main draw of the U.S. Open but has competed in the main draw of doubles three times, reaching the second round in 2013 with countryman Denis Kudla.
   Krajicek is a distant relative of 1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands.
$100,000 COMERICA BANK CHALLENGER
At Seascape Sports Club in Aptos, Calif.
Singles semifinals
   Austin Krajicek (7), United States, def. Bjorn Fratangelo (4), United States, 6-3, 7-6 (2).  
   John Millman (1), Australia, def. Kyle Edmund (3), Great Britain, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. 
Doubles semifinals
   Chris Guccione, Australia, and Artem Sitak (1), New Zealand, def. Karen Khachanov, Russia, and Elias Ymer, Sweden, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 10-4.
   Yuki Bhambri, India, and Matthew Ebden, Australia, def. Austin Krajicek and Nicholas Monroe (2), United States, 5-7, 6-4, 10-8.
Today's schedule
Center Court
(Starting at 1 p.m.)
   Chris Guccione, Australia, and Artem Sitak (1), New Zealand, vs. Yuki Bhambri, India, and Matthew Ebden, Australia.
   John Millman (1), Australia, vs. Austin Krajicek (7), United States.  

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