Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fratangelo stays alive in Aptos, Wild Card Challenge

   Bjorn Fratangelo won a wild-card challenge this past spring to earn a berth in the main draw of the French Open.
   The 23-year-old Pittsburgh product faces a tough road in his attempt to do the same for the U.S. Open.
   Fratangelo, seeded third, beat 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) countryman Clay Thompson 6-3, 7-5 today to reach the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, Calif. Thompson, a 24-year-old former UCLA All-American, received a wild card to play in Aptos.
   Fratangelo, the 2011 French Open junior champion, gained the second round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at Roland Garros in May. He is one of four remaining Americans in Aptos with a chance to overtake Ernesto Escobedo and win the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge.
   To do so, Fratangelo, Evan King or qualifiers Raymond Sarmiento or Eric Quigley must win the Aptos title. The American with the most points in two of three tournaments -- $50,000 Binghamton, $50,000 Lexington, Ky., and Aptos -- will receive a wild card into the U.S. Open, Aug. 29-Sept. 11 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Fratangelo also is close to direct entry into the U.S. Open with a world ranking of No. 115. He will face unseeded Marinko Matosevic, who dismissed fellow Australian Benjamin Mitchell 6-2, 6-1.
   Matosevic, a former top-40 player and the 2010 Aptos champion, has lost only four games in his two singles matches in the tournament.
   The survivor will play either Daniel Evans, the top seed and 2013 Aptos runner-up, or James McGee of Ireland. Evans, ranked No. 80 in the world and second in Great Britain behind No. 2 Andy Murray, helped his country win its first Davis Cup title in 79 years in 2015.
   Evans, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters) held a championship point against former Stanford star Bradley Klahn in the 2013 Aptos final. 
   Sarmiento and Quigley -- former All-Americans at USC and Kentucky, respectively -- will meet each other. King, a former Michigan All-American, will take on qualifier Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the other quarterfinal. Norrie reached the NCAA semifinals in May as a Texas Christian sophomore. 
   Here are the Aptos singles and doubles draws and Friday's schedule.

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