Friday, October 2, 2015

Czech cools off another player in Tiburon Challenger

Marek Michalicka returns a serve during his victory
over fifth-seeded Ryan Harrison on Thursday.
Photo by Paul Bauman
    Dennis Novikov and Ryan Harrison arrived in Tiburon as the hottest players on the U.S. Challenger circuit.
   Marek Michalicka has knocked off both in the $100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger.
   Michalicka beat the fifth-seeded Harrison 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 on Thursday in the second round at the Tiburon Peninsula Club, located in an affluent community across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
   Novikov, from Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area, had defeated Harrison, from Austin, Texas, in the final of $50,000 Challengers in Cary, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio, in the two weeks before Tiburon. They apparently hit the wall against Michalicka, a 28-year-old former University of Wisconsin star from the Czech Republic.
   Harrison, 23, became frustrated early. After Michalicka went up 3-1 in the first-set tiebreaker with a backhand volley into the open court, Harrison swore loudly and smashed his racket, which bounced off the court and nearly hit a lineswoman.
   Harrison has improved from No. 193 in the world at the beginning of the year to No. 102. He reached a career-high No. 43 in 2012 and was the runner-up to Tobias Kamke of Germany at Tiburon in 2010.
   Michalicka, ranked No. 255, will face third-seeded Tim Smyczek of Tampa in today's quarterfinals. Smyczek reached the Columbus semifinals, losing to Harrison, last week and did not play the previous week.
Harrison, shown Thursday, was the runner-up to Dennis Novikov in
U.S. Challengers in the previous two weeks. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Mackenzie McDonald, a 20-year-old wild card from Piedmont in the Bay Area, edged Sekou Bangoura 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to reach his second Challenger quarterfinal. He advanced to the semifinals of the $50,000 Winnetka (Ill.) Challenger last year.
   Bangoura, 23, of Tampa, Fla., had eliminated fourth-seeded Dustin Brown, who stunned Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon this year, in the first round.
   McDonald, a junior All-American at UCLA, will meet sixth-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo of Boca Raton, Fla. Fratangelo, who was named after Bjorn Borg, outlasted Alex Kuznetsov of Tampa 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3.
   In the other quarterfinals, No. 1 Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., and Tampa will play No. 7 Blaz Rola of Slovenia, and Mitchell Krueger of Boca Raton will take on Quentin Halys, 18, of France.
   Kudla will try to avenge a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) loss to Rola in the first round in Washington, D.C., on the ATP World Tour in August. It was their first meeting.
   Kudla was the only American man to reach the second week of Wimbledon this year, pocketing $192,000 for advancing to the fourth round. He lost to 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.
  Rola, a 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) left-hander, won NCAA titles in singles in 2013 and doubles in 2012 (with Chase Buchanan) while at Ohio State.
Wild cards Andre Goransson, left, and Florian Lakat from Cal shocked Dustin
Brown and Denis Kudla in the first round before losing to third-seeded Novikov
and Julio Peralta in the quarterfinals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Brown on Thursday suffered another sobering defeat. The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) German fell in the first round of doubles with Kudla to wild cards Andre Goransson and Florian Lakat from Cal 6-3, 6-7 (2) [11-9].
   The match, postponed from Wednesday because of rain, got off to a scary start. On the first serve of the encounter, the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Lakat pounded the ball out wide. It glanced off Kudla's racket and struck a lineswoman in the left eye.
   She tumbled out of her chair, was helped off the court in a daze and was replaced. The lineswoman appeared to be OK a few minutes later.
   "Thank God I was wearing sunglasses," she said as a trainer checked her. 
   Goransson and Lakat -- juniors from France and Sweden, respectively -- later lost to third-seeded Novikov and Julio Peralta of Chile 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
   Peralta normally plays with Matt Seeberger, a San Francisco native and former UC Santa Cruz star, but Seeberger is playing a Challenger in Agri, Turkey, this week. 
$100,000 WELLS FARGO TIBURON CHALLENGER
At Tiburon Peninsula Club
Second-round singles  
   Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont, def. Sekou Bangoura, United States, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (3).
   Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, def. Ryan Harrison, United States, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3. 
   Bjorn Fratangelo (6), United States, def. Alex Kuznetsov, United States, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3.
   Tim Smyczek (3), United States, def. Dennis Nevolo, United States, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
First-round doubles
   Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta, Chile, def. Chase Buchanan, United States, and Blaz Rola, Slovenia, 3-6, 6-3 [11-9]. 
   Philip Bester and Peter Polansky, Canada, def. Mitchell Krueger and Connor Smith, United States, 6-7 (10), 6-2 [11-9].
   Brydan Klein, Great Britain, and Jose Statham, New Zealand, def. Adrien Bossel, Switzerland, and Quentin Halys, France, 6-2, 6-3.
   Andre Goransson, Cal/Sweden, and Florian Lakat, Cal/France, def. Dustin Brown, Germany, and Denis Kudla, United States, 6-3, 6-7 (2) [11-9]. 
Doubles quarterfinals
   Carsten Ball and Matt Reid (4), Australia, def. Sekou Bangoura, United States, and Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, 6-1, 7-6 (3).
   Johan Brunstom, Sweden, and Frederik Nielsen (1), Denmark, def. Brydan Klein, Great Britain, and Jose Statham, New Zealand, 6-3, 6-7 (1) [10-5].
   Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta, Chile, def. Andre Goransson, Cal/Sweden, and Florian Lakat, Cal/France, 6-2, 6-2.
Today's schedule
Center Court
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Mitchell Krueger, United States, vs. Quentin Halys, France.
   Denis Kudla (1), United States, vs. Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic.
(Not before 3 p.m.)
   Tim Smyczek (3), United States, vs. Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic.
(Not before 4:30 p.m.)
   Johan Brunstrom, Sweden, and Frederik Nielsen (1), Denmark, vs. Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta (3), Chile.
Court 1
(Starting at noon)
   Bjorn Fratangelo (6), United States, vs. Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont.
(Not before 3:30 p.m.)
   Philip Bester and Peter Polansky, Canada, vs. Deiton Baughman, United States, and Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont.

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