Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Novikov wins thriller in Wimbledon qualifying

Dennis Novikov, playing in the Tiburon (Calif.)
Challenger last September, reached the last
round of Wimbledon qualifying. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   With a dramatic victory today, Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area moved within one match of his first main-draw berth at Wimbledon.
   Novikov, seeded 28th, edged Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-8 in the second round of qualifying.
   Novikov, a 22-year-old former UCLA star, will face Hiroki Moriya, 25, of Japan for the first time. Moriya upset 14th-seeded Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
   Novikov is ranked No. 146 to Moriya's No. 224 and, at 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters) and 200 pounds (91 kilograms), dwarfs his 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter), 143-pound (65-kilogram) opponent.
   Novikov is one of three American men in the final round of qualifying. Sixth-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo will meet 22nd-seeded Austin Krajicek, guaranteeing at least one U.S. qualifier in the main draw.
   Novikov turned pro in 2013 after leading UCLA to the NCAA final as a sophomore.
    He won the singles and doubles titles in the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2012 to earn wild cards for both main draws in the U.S. Open.
   Novikov reached the second round in each event at Flushing Meadows. He shocked 86th-ranked Jerzy Janowicz, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Pole and Wimbledon semifinalist in 2013, in singles and teamed with Michael Redlicki to knock off U.S. veterans Bobby Reynolds and Michael Russell in doubles.

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