Sunday, October 2, 2016

Mmoh, 18, ousts defending champ in 100K Tiburon

Qualifier Michael Mmoh, shown on Tuesday, saved a match point
his 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over third-seeded Tim Smyczek
on Saturday. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Michael Mmoh continued his improbable run in the $100,000 Wells Fargo Bank Tiburon Challenger on Saturday.
   Mmoh, an 18-year-old qualifier from Bradenton, Fla., saved a match point in his 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) semifinal victory over No. 3 seed and defending champion Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   Serving at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, Smyczek (pronounced Smee-check) netted a makeable backhand volley. The 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) veteran, who's 10 years older than Mmoh, also blew a high putaway backhand volley on break point to trail 3-4 in the third set but broke right back. 
   Smyczek, normally a baseliner, frequently followed punishing groundstrokes to the net against the powerful, athletic Mmoh, who was playing in his first Challenger semifinal.
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter), 187-pound (85-kilogram) Mmoh also escaped three match points in his first-round victory over Tennys Sandgren, who retired with a lower back injury while trailing 2-0 in the third set.
   Mmoh then upset fellow 18-year-old Floridian Stefan Kozlov, seeded sixth, and Florida resident Bjorn Fratangelo, seeded second.  
   Mmoh, ranked No. 356, will face unseeded Darian King, ranked No. 165, for the first time today at about 2 p.m.
   King, 24, of Barbados defeated Mackenzie McDonald, a 21-year-old wild card who grew up across San Francisco Bay in Piedmont, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. 
   McDonald, who turned pro in June after sweeping the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior, served for the match at 5-4 in the third set and was three points from victory at 15-15. But he lost the next three points on a wide forehand volley that he argued and two cross-court backhands to even the set and match. 
   King won the next two games to reach his third Challenger final in three months. He won back-to-back titles, his first on the Challenger tour, in July on clay in Cali, Colombia, and hardcourts in Binghamton, N.Y. Both were $50,000 tournaments.
  In today's doubles final at noon, third-seeded Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith of Australia will play unseeded Quentin Halys, 19, of France and Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the Bay Area. Reid has lost the past two Tiburon finals with countryman Carsten Ball.
   The doubles and singles finals will be streamed live.
   Here are:
   --The Tiburon singles and doubles draws and today's schedule.
   --The Stockton men's singles qualifying draw, singles main draw and today's schedule. The $100,000 tournament is being held at the new Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center at the University of the Pacific.
   --The Redding women's singles qualifying draw and today's schedule. The $25,000 tournament is being played at Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness. 

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