Monday, February 5, 2018

No. 4 seed Kudla advances in 100K San Francisco

Denis Kudla continued his strong start in 2018.
File photo by Paul Bauman
   Continuing his strong start in 2018, fourth-seeded Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., and Tampa, Fla., defeated Ante Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (4) tonight in the first round of the $100,000 Kunal Patel San Francisco Open at the Bay Club SF Tennis Center.
   Kudla, a quarterfinalist in San Francisco last year, reached the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier last month. He upended countryman Steve Johnson, ranked 48th at the time, in the first round and led Austria's Dominic Thiem, then No. 5, two sets to none before falling.
   Kudla also advanced to the semifinals of last week's $125,000 Dallas Challenger, losing to Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   McDonald, seeded second in San Francisco, is scheduled to play wild card Florian Lakat, a former Cal standout from France, after Tuesday's featured match at 7 between top-seeded Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan and Dennis Novikov, a 24-year-old San Jose product.
  Kudla, ranked a career-high No. 53 in 2016, tumbled to No. 207 last October. He has since climbed to No. 166.
   Kudla, a 25-year-old Ukraine native, attributes his hot start to harder offseason training.
   "I did a lot more cardio ... so I could sustain a higher level of tennis for a longer period of time," he said on atpworldtour.com. "That was a big thing. I knew the game was there, but I kept dying at a certain point, and I realized I just wasn't in good enough shape. I thought I was, but I wasn't. So that was the biggest thing. When I know I'm in shape, the game is there. It was always been there."
   Earlier today, 18-year-old Serbian phenom Miomir Kecmanovic ousted eighth-seeded Brayden Schnur of Canada 6-4, 7-6 (2).
   In the final round of qualifying, 17-year-old Jenson Brooksby of Sacramento lost to 34-year-old Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 6-4, 6-2.
   Here are the qualifying, singles and doubles draws and Tuesday's schedule.

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