Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Millman tops Krajicek in rematch of Aptos final

John Millman and Austin Krajicek pose with their trophies and checks after
Millman's victory in the $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos, Calif.,
last August. Photo by Paul Bauman
   So far, the $693,425 Memphis Open on ATP World Tour has looked a lot like last summer's $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos, Calif.
   In a rematch of the Aptos final, seventh-seeded John Millman of Australia outlasted Austin Krajicek of Bradenton, Fla., 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in 2 hours, 42 minutes today in the first round.
   And in a rematch of their second-round encounter in Aptos, Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan defeated fellow qualifier Jared Donaldson of Irvine, Calif., 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.
   Both outcomes were the same as in Aptos, located 83 miles (133.6 kilometers) south of San Francisco on the Pacific Ocean.
   Millman defeated the seventh-seeded Krajicek 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 last August, becoming the first No. 1 seed in the 28-year history of the Aptos Challenger to win the title.
   Nishioka, a left-hander seeded eighth, pulled off perhaps the shot of the year on the Challenger Tour in his 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over wild card Donaldson in Aptos.
   Millman, 26, made his Memphis debut after reaching his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal last week in Montpellier, France.
   The left-handed Krajicek reached the Memphis quarterfinals as a 24-year-old qualifier last year, upsetting fifth-seeded Ivo Karlovic (6-foot-11 or 2.11 meters) in the second round.
   Millman, ranked a career-high No. 66, will face the oldest player in the draw, 34-year-old Benjamin Becker of Germany, on Thursday. Becker, ranked No. 107, beat 18-year-old wild card Tommy Paul of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a late match.
   Millman is 1-0 against Becker, having won 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the first round indoors in Stockholm last October.
   Two other 18-year-old Americans, wild card Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area, and qualifier Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, Fla., met in the first round in Memphis.
   Fritz, who won the Sacramento and Fairfield, Calif., Challengers back-to-back last October at 17, defeated the supremely athletic Mmoh 6-3, 6-4 for his first ATP World Tour victory.
   Fritz, who has soared from No. 694 entering Sacramento to No. 145, will play second-seeded Steve Johnson of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area on Thursday.
   Johnson, the 2012 Aptos champion, ranks third in the United States at a career-high No. 29. Six-foot-10 (2.08-meter) John Isner is No. 12, and Jack Sock is No. 23.
   Meanwhile, former Stanford stars Bob and Mike Bryan continued to struggle this year. The top seeds and three-time champions lost in the opening round to Krajicek and Nicholas Monroe of Austin, Texas, 1-6, 7-6 (5) [12-10].
   The 37-year-old Bryan twins, who own a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, have failed to advance past the third round in three tournaments this year. They lost in the first round at Sydney and, for the third straight year, the third round of the Australian Open.
   The Bryans have won more titles in Melbourne, six, than at any other Slam.
   Another former Aptos champion, 30-year-old Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, ousted fourth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (5) in the first round of the $1,945,657 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
   Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open runner-up to Roger Federer, defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan for the 2014 Aptos title.
   Fed Cup draw -- The United States will play at Australia on April 16-17 in the World Group playoffs. The winner will advance to the eight-nation World Group  that will compete for the 2017 Fed Cup championship.
   The International Tennis Federation held the World Group playoffs draw today in London.
   In the first round of World Group II last weekend, the United States defeated Poland 4-0 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and Australia edged Slovakia 3-2 in Bratislava, Slovakia.

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