Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Darian King upsets No. 2 seed for second week in row

Darian King, playing in Sacramento last week, beat second-
seeded Ryan Harrison on Monday in the first round of the
$50,000 Fairfield Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Darian King's upset win in Sacramento last week was no fluke.
   King, 23, of Barbados shocked the No. 2 seed in the opening round for the second consecutive week, defeating Ryan Harrison of Austin, Texas, 6-4, 7-5 on Monday in the Fairfield $50,000 Men's Pro Challenger at In Shape: Fairfield Rancho Solano.
   King surprised Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger before losing to qualifier Nicolas Meister in the second round. Edmund did not enter Fairfield.
   King, ranked No. 253, will meet the winner of today's match between Tennys Sandgren of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and qualifier Peter Polansky of Canada.
   Meanwhile, 17-year-old sensation Frances Tiafoe of Boca Raton, Fla., dispatched Marek Michalicka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3.
   Michalicka, a former University of Wisconsin star, stunned the fifth-seeded Harrison in the second round of the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger two weeks ago. Harrison, 23, was coming off runner-up finishes to Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area in the two previous weeks.
   Harrison, 23, is ranked No. 104 after reaching a career-high No. 43 in 2012.
   First-round matches continue today. The schedule features No. 1 seed Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., No. 3 Dustin Brown of Germany and Sacramento champion Taylor Fritz, 17, of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area.
   Brown, 30, stunned Rafael Nadal on Center Court in the second round at Wimbledon this year to improve to 2-0 against the 14-time Grand Slam singles champion.
   Fritz turned pro in August before the U.S. Open and won the boys singles title at Flushing Meadows. He is ranked No. 1 in the world in the juniors.
   Smyczek, 27, and Fritz could meet for the first time in the second round.
   Fairfield replaced the $50,000 Napa Challenger on the calendar. Napa tournament director Chris Arns said recently that he was unable to secure enough sponsorship to hold the Challenger for the third year.  
At In Shape: Fairfield Rancho Solano
Final-round qualifying
   Henri Laaksonen (1), Switzerland, def. Jean-Yves Aubone, United States, 6-4, 6-4.
   Alex Kuznetsov (2), United States, def. Jose Statham, New Zealand.
   Sekou Bangoura (6), United States, def. Dennis Nevolo, United States, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0.
   Peter Polansky, Canada, def. Dimitar Kutrovsky (4), Bulgaria, 6-1, 6-3.
First-round singles
   Blaz Rola (4), Slovenia, def. Alexander Sarkissian, United States, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.
   Frank Dancevic, Canada, def. Marcos Giron, United States, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2).
   James McGee (8), Ireland, def. Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
   Frances Tiafoe, United States, def. Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-3.
   Darian King, Barbados, def. Ryan Harrison (2), United States, 6-4, 7-5.
First-round doubles
   Ariel Behar, Uruguay, and Ruben Gonzales, Philippines, def. Andrew Carter, United States, and Michael Kwong, Australia, 6-3, 6-4.
   Dean O'Brien and Ruan Roelofse (3), South Africa, def. Jeremy Hunter Nicholas and Matt Seeberger, United States, 6-4, 6-4.
   Sekou Bangoura, United States, and Jose Statham, New Zealand, def. Damon Gooch, South Africa, and Ben McLachlan, New Zealand, 7-5, 6-4.
Today's schedule
Stadium Court
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Blaz Kavcic (6), Slovenia, vs. Connor Hance, United States.
   Dustin Brown (3), Germany, vs. Connor Smith, United States.
   Taylor Fritz, United States, vs. Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland.
(Not before 4:30 p.m.)
   Tim Smyczek (1), United States, vs. Mitchell Krueger, United States.
Court 1
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Tennys Sandgren, United States, vs. Peter Polansky, Canada.
   Jared Donaldson (5), United States, vs. Philip Bester, Canada.
   Alex Kuznetsov, United States, vs. Nicolas Barrientos, Colombia.
   Daniel Brands (7), Germany, vs. Sem Verbeek, Netherlands.
Court 3
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Grega Zemlja, Slovenia, vs. Liam Broady, Great Britain.
   Tommy Paul, United States, vs. Quentin Halys, France.
   Sekou Bangoura, United States, vs. Jason Jung, Taiwan.
(Not before 3:30 p.m.)
   Marcos Giron and Tommy Paul, United States, vs. Philip Bester and Peter Polansky, Canada. 


  1. What in the world has happened to Ryan Harrison. While I'm very happy for Darian King, a very nice person by the way, I'm sorry to see Harrison falling apart like this. New coaching, sports psychologist, all of the above?

    1. Harrison slumped after reaching a career-high No. 43 in 2012 for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest ones are he's too intense and has a bad temper. Also, he has had notoriously bad draws on the ATP World Tour, he was plagued by injuries last year, and there has been friction with his father. Harrison has made progress this year, though, almost halving his ranking from No. 193 to No. 104. Before struggling in the Northern California Challengers, he reached Challenger finals in two consecutive weeks, losing to Dennis Novikov each time. And Harrison is still only 23.

    2. Thanks Paul for that information. Very helpful to understand what has happened to him. I hope it all turns around for him. I saw him play at Indian Wells two years ago against Andrey Golubev and did a terrific job. Hard to see him like this.

  2. Dustin Brown, in my opinion, could be a top 10 player with some good coaching. He has all the physical abilities and strokes at his disposal but his court strategy and demeanor hurt him. In my opinion, tries to go for too many winners rather than constructing a point. Then, when things don't go his way with the winners, starts to dispute calls and gets very insolent with the umpires and match starts to degrade. Too bad, because he could be just a tremendous force in tennis.