Sunday, February 19, 2017

Novikov falls in semis; Altamirano leads Virginia

Dennis Novikov, serving in doubles at the U.S. Open
last September, lost to Tennys Sandgren in the semi-
finals of the $75,000 Tempe (Ariz.) Challenger.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   The singles champion of the $75,000 Tempe (Ariz.) Challenger still hasn't been decided.
   But it won't be Dennis Novikov.
   The 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to compatriot Tennys Sandgren 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in today's semifinals.
   The unseeded Sandgren, 25, blasted 16 aces, committed four double faults and saved eight of 12 break points against him. The seventh-seeded Novikov had four aces and one double fault. He survived eight of 14 break points.
   Novikov ousted top-seeded Ernesto Escobedo of West Covina in the Los Angeles region in the quarterfinals.
   The Sandgren-Novikov match was delayed for several hours and suspended briefly early in the third set because of rain, forcing the final to be postponed until Monday. Sandgren, 25, will play unseeded Serbian Nikola Milojevic, who beat sixth-seeded Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 7-6 (3), 6-4.
   College -- No. 1-ranked Virginia, led by Collin Altamirano of Sacramento and playing at home, crushed No. 5 North Carolina 4-0 to reach the final of the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va.
   The two-time defending NCAA champion Cavaliers have shut out all three of their opponents in the tournament.
   Altamirano, a junior, dominated 16th-ranked Ronnie Schneider 6-0, 6-3 on Court 1 as Virginia avenged a 4-2 loss to the Tar Heels in last year's final. Altamirano also won at No. 3 doubles with J.C. Aragone.
   Although Altamirano is unranked in college, he's No. 813 in the world after reaching the quarterfinals and final in back-to-back $25,000 tournaments in Southern California last month.
   Virginia (8-0) will play No. 3-ranked Ohio State (12-0) for the title. Second-ranked Mikael Torpegaard lifted the Buckeyes to a 4-3 victory over No. 2 Wake Forest by edging top-ranked Petros Chrysochos 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (4) on Court 1.

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