Saturday, August 12, 2017

Qualifier Broady to face Bublik, 20, in Aptos final

   Qualifier Liam Broady of Great Britain upset wild card Taylor Fritz, a top U.S. prospect, 7-6 (3), 6-3 today to reach the final of the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, Calif.
   Throughout the match at the Seascape Sports Club near the Pacific Ocean, the 23-year-old Broady served his way out of trouble and outsteadied the 19-year-old Fritz from the backcourt.
   Broady, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander, won 84 percent of the points on his first serve (41 of 49) and saved all six break points against him.
   Fritz is ranked No. 131, down from a career-high No. 53 one year ago. Broady is No. 336 after climbing as high as No. 158 two years ago.
   Broady is the third British finalist, and second to emerge from qualifying, in Aptos in the past two years. Dan Evans defeated qualifier Cameron Norrie, a South Africa native, last year. Also, current world No. 1 Andy Murray of Scotland won the Aptos title in 2005 at age 18.
   Evans, 27, faces a suspension of up to four years after testing positive for cocaine in April.
   Broady's older sister, 6-foot-2 (1.89-meter) Naomi, is ranked No. 127 after reaching a career-high No. 76 in March last year.
   Liam Broady will face Alexander Bublik, who was born in Russia but changed his allegiance to Kazakhstan after being offered financial support, for the first time on Sunday after the 1 p.m. doubles final. The matches will be streamed live.
   Bublik, 20, defeated Sam Groth, a 29-year-old Australian with a booming serve, 7-6 (2), 6-3. The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter), 165-pound (75-kilogram) Bublik won 82 percent of the points on his first serve (31 of 38).
   Groth set an unofficial record with a 163.7-mph (263.4-kph) serve in the 2012 Busan (South Korea) Challenger.
   Bublik already has beaten two top-20 players in his career: No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain to reach the quarterfinals in Moscow on the ATP World Tour last October and No. 16 Lucas Pouille of France in the first round of the Australian Open in January as a qualifier.
   Both Bublik, ranked No. 125, and Broady will play in their second Challenger singles final. Bublik won a $50,000 hardcourt tournament in Morelos, Mexico, in February. Broady was the runner-up in Charlottesville, Va., also a $50,000 hardcourt tourney, in 2014.
   The Aptos Challenger, the oldest on the men's circuit in the United States, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Past competitors include International Tennis Hall of Famers Patrick Rafter and Michael Chang, as well as future Hall of Famers Murray, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.
   Here are the Nordic Naturals singles and doubles draws and Sunday's schedule.

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