Friday, September 29, 2017

McDonald to face nemesis in Tiburon semis

Mackenzie McDonald, from Piedmont in the San
Francisco Bay Area, will play Tennys Sandgren
in the semifinals of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.)
Challenger. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Local favorite Mackenzie McDonald reached the semifinals of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger for the third consecutive year today.
   Now comes the hard part.
   The unseeded McDonald, who grew up in nearby Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat Alejandro Gonzalez, a former top-70 player from Colombia, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   McDonald, 22, will take on second-seeded Tennys Sandgren, a 26-year-old resident of Gallatin, Tenn., who routed wild card Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-2. Harrison's older brother, 51st-ranked Ryan, reached the Tiburon final in 2010 at age 18.
   McDonald, ranked No. 196, is 0-4 against Sandgren, ranked No. 104, and 0-6 in Challenger semifinals. This will be their fourth meeting of the year and first ever past the second round.
   In their last encounter, Sandgren demolished McDonald 6-1, 6-2 in one hour in the second round of a $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., a two-hour drive south of Tiburon, in August.
   Saturday's other semifinal will be a matchup of 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) left-handers. Eighth-seeded Cameron Norrie, 22, of Great Britain will meet unseeded Prajnesh Gunneswaran, 27, of India for the first time.
   Norrie, the Aptos runner-up last year, outclassed fourth-seeded Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, Fla., 7-5, 6-2. Mmoh reached the 2016 Tiburon final as an 18-year-old qualifier.
   Gunneswaran held off another former top-70 player, 33-year-old Frank Dancevic of Canada, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
   Sandgren has rebounded from 2014 hip surgery to break through this year. He played in his first two Grand Slam main draws, first-round losses in the French Open and U.S. Open, and cracked the top 100 for the first time in June.
   McDonald turned pro in June 2016 after sweeping the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior. He has yet to play in the main draw of a Slam.
   In the doubles semifinals, unseeded former Cal stars Andre Goransson of Sweden and Florian Lakat of France will play second-seeded Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and David O'Hare of Ireland on Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner will face top-seeded Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico on Sunday.
   As soon as his doubles match ends Lakat will rush to Stockton, where he is scheduled to play 34-year-old Dmitry Tursunov of Russia not before 3 p.m. in the first round of qualifying. Stockton is a one-hour, 40-minute drive east of Tiburon.
   Tursunov moved from his native Moscow to Los Altos in the Bay Area at age 12 to train and climbed to No. 20 in the world in 2006. He owns residences in Moscow and the Sacramento suburb of Folsom.
   Here are the Tiburon Challenger singles and doubles draws and Saturday's schedule. The tournament is being streamed live.
   Here are the singles qualifying draw for the $100,000 Stockton Challenger at the University of the Pacific's Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center and Saturday's schedule.

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