Saturday, October 3, 2015

Piedmont's McDonald gains Tiburon Challenger semis

Mackenzie McDonald, serving on Thursday, advanced to his
  second career Challenger semifinal. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Local favorite Mackenzie McDonald advanced to his second career Challenger semifinal on Friday when sixth-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo retired from their match in the $100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger.
   McDonald, a 20-year-old wild card and UCLA All-American from nearby Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, led 4-0 in the first set when Fratangelo, 22, of Boca Raton, Fla., quit with a lower-back problem.
   McDonald reached the semifinals of the $50,000 Winnetka (Ill.) Challenger last year before losing to Farrukh Dustov, a veteran from Uzbekistan. Dustov then fell to American Denis Kudla, McDonald's next opponent in Tiburon (today at 11 a.m. PDT, live streaming at
   Kudla, the top seed in Tiburon, beat seventh-seeded Blaz Rola of Slovenia by the surprisingly one-sided score of 6-4, 6-3 to even the head-to-head series 1-1. Rola, the 2013 NCAA singles champion from Ohio State, had edged Kudla 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the first round in Washington, D.C., on the ATP World Tour in August.
   Kudla, however, had played six matches the week before Washington by gaining the semifinals in Atlanta on the ATP World Tour as a qualifier.
   Atlanta was Kudla's first tournament after Wimbledon, where he became the only American man to reach the second week. He lost to 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in the round of 16.
   In the second Tiburon semifinal, third-seeded Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., will face Quentin Halys, 18, of France for the first time.
   Smyczek (pronounced smee-check), 27, dismissed Marek Michalicka of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1. At 1 hour, 13 minutes, it was the longest quarterfinal.
   Halys, last year's U.S. Open boys runner-up to Omar Jasika of Australia, defeated Mitchell Krueger of Boca Raton 6-4, 6-3.
   Smyczek gained worldwide fame in January for his sportsmanship late in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-5 loss to Rafael Nadal, who was suffering from nausea and dizziness, in the second round of the Australian Open. With Nadal serving at 6-5, 30-0, a fan yelled as Nadal tossed the ball on his first delivery and distracted him. The serve sailed long, but Smyczek allowed Nadal to take another first serve.
   “What he did at the end of the fifth is just amazing,” the 14-time Grand Slam champion told reporters afterward. “He’s a great example, what he did today.”   
   McDonald also reached the Tiburon doubles semifinals, pairing with 19-year-old Deiton Baughman of Carson, Calif., to beat Canadians Philip Bester and Peter Polansky 6-4, 6-1. Polansky won the 2013 Tiburon singles title.
At Tiburon Peninsula Club
Singles quarterfinals
   Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont, def. Bjorn Fratangelo (6), United States, 4-0, retired. 
   Quentin Halys, France, def. Mitchell Krueger, United States, 6-4, 6-3.
   Denis Kudla (1), United States, def. Blaz Rola (7), Slovenia, 6-4, 6-3.
   Tim Smyczek (3), United States, def. Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles quarterfinal
   Deiton Baughman, United States, and Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont, def. Philip Bester and Peter Polansky, Canada, 6-4, 6-1. 
Doubles semifinal
   Johan Brunstrom, Sweden, and Frederik Nielsen (1), Denmark, def. Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta (3), Chile, 4-6, 7-6 (3) [10-5]. 
 Today's schedule
Center Court
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Denis Kudla (1), United States, vs. Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont.
   Tim Smyczek (3), United States, vs. Quentin Halys, France.
   Carsten Ball and Matt Reid (4), Australia, vs. Deiton Baughman, United States, and Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont.

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