Thursday, January 14, 2016

Novikov tops U.S. nemesis in Australian Open qualies

Dennis Novikov, a San Francisco Bay Area resident playing in the U.S.
Open last September, beat James Ward of Great Britain to reach the
final round of qualifying in the Australian Open.  Photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 32 seed Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area scored a big win today to move within one victory of his first main-draw berth in the Australian Open.
   The 22-year-old former UCLA standout defeated James Ward of Great Britain 6-4, 7-5 in the second round of qualifying in Melbourne.
   Ward, who will turn 29 on Feb. 9, reached the third round at Wimbledon last summer and helped Great Britain win its first Davis Cup championship in 79 years in 2015.
   Ward has been a United States nemesis in the Davis Cup, stunning Sam Querrey and John Isner in the first round in the past two years.
   Novikov, who will face 12th-seeded Yuichi Sugita of Japan on Friday (California time), is trying to reach the singles main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time.
   Novikov received an automatic wild card in the 2012 U.S. Open as the USTA boys 18 champion and shocked then-No. 86 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the first round before losing to Julien Benneteau of France in the second round. 
   Janowicz, 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals the following year.

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