Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mischa Zverev tops Stepanek, gains Aptos main draw

Mischa Zverev, left, poses with fellow Moscow natives Dmitry Tursunov, middle,
and Igor Andreev three years ago in Aptos. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Mischa Zverev hasn't achieved the success of Radek Stepanek.
   Few players have.
   But Zverev is no stranger to the ATP World Tour, the major leagues of men's tennis.
   Zverev, a 27-year-old Moscow native who plays for Germany, beat the eighth-seeded Stepanek 6-4, 7-5 on Monday in the final round of qualifying for the $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos, Calif.
   Zverev finished in the top 100, allowing him to play regularly on the ATP World Tour, for four straight years (2007-10). But he has plummeted from a career high of No. 45 in 2009 to No. 311.
   Stepanek, a 36-year-old Czech, was ranked as high as No. 8 in singles in 2006 and No. 4 in doubles of 2012. He won the deciding match in the 2012 and 2013 Davis Cup finals and earned his two Grand Slam titles in those years. Stepanek teamed with Leander Paes of India for the men's doubles crowns in the 2012 Australian Open and 2013 U.S. Open.
   But Stepanek sat out for seven months, from last September until April, with a lower back injury. Consequently, he has tumbled to No. 273 in singles and No. 146 in doubles.
   Zverev is scheduled to face 17-year-old wild card Taylor Harry Fritz, the world's No. 1 junior from Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area, today in the first round of the main draw.
   The winner of that match will play seventh-seeded Austin Krajicek, an American left-hander who edged Dennis Novikov of San Jose 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7) in 2 hours, 24 minutes. San Jose is 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Aptos.
   The length of the Krajicek-Novikov match pushed back the meeting between top-seeded John Millman of Australia and American Alexander Sarkissian, last year's NCAA singles runner-up as a Pepperdine senior, to today. 
At Seascape Sports Club in Aptos, Calif.
  Final-round singles qualifying
   Tennys Sandgren, United States, def. Takuto Niki, Japan, 6-3, 7-5.
   Daniel Nguyen (2), United States, def. Ernesto Escobedo, United States, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
   Ze Zhang (3), China, def. Deiton Baughman, United States, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
   Mischa Zverev, Germany, def. Radek Stepanek, Czech Republic, 6-4, 7-5.
First-round singles
   Yoshihito Nishioka (8), Japan, def. Mitchell Krueger, United States, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
   Austin Krajicek (7), United States, def. Dennis Novikov, United States, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (7).
   Jared Donaldson, United States, def. Gastao Elias, Portugal, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
   Guido Andreozzi, Argentina, def. Brydan Klein, Great Britain, 6-4, 6-4.
Today's schedule
Center Court
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Kyle Edmund (3), Great Britain, vs. Takuto Niki, Japan.
   John Millman (1), Australia, vs. Alexander Sarkissian, United States.
   Bjorn Fratangelo (4), United States, vs. Marius Copil, Romania.
   Mischa Zverev, Germany, vs. Taylor Fritz, United States.
 (Not before 6 p.m.)
   Tommy Haas, Germany, vs. Andrey Rublev, Russia.
   Court 5
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Elias Ymer, Sweden, vs. Yuki Bhambri, India.
   Farrukh Dustov, Uzbekistan, vs. Tennys Sandgren, United States.
   Jurgen Zopp, Estonia, vs. Daniel Nguyen, United States.
   Somdev Devvarman, India, vs. Guilherme Clezar, Brazil.
(Not before 3:30 p.m.)
   Malek Jaziri (2), Tunisia, vs. Karen Khachanov, Russia.
(Not before 5 p.m.)  
   Matthew Ebden (6), Australia, vs. Liam Broady, Great Britain.
Court 6
(Starting at 2 p.m.)
   Taro Daniel (5), Japan, vs. Ze Zhang, China.

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