Sunday, February 4, 2018

Novikov to face top seed (again) in S.F. Challenger

   With Dennis Novikov's luck, he shouldn't bet on the Super Bowl.
   The 24-year-old San Jose product drew the top seed for the third consecutive week in the Kunal Patel San Francisco Open. Novikov will face Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the $100,000 tournament, which begins Monday at the Bay Club SF Tennis Center.
   Novikov upset former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori, who had been out since August with a right wrist injury, in the opening round in Newport Beach two weeks ago and lost to Nishikori last week in Dallas.
   Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, went on to defeat Mackenzie McDonald, from Piedmont across the bay from San Francisco, 6-1, 6-4 in the Dallas final on Saturday.
   Bublik, a 20-year-old Russia native, won a $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, 82 miles (132 kilometers) south of San Francisco, last August.
   McDonald, seeded second, will meet wild card Florian Lakat, a 22-year-old former Cal star from France.
   McDonald won the $100,000 Fairfield Challenger near San Francisco last October and reached the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier last month.
   Lakat won the doubles title in the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger with former Cal teammate Andre Goransson of Sweden last fall. Tiburon is located across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
   Third-seeded Michael Mmoh, a San Francisco semifinalist last year at 19, will play wild card Christian Garin of Chile. Fifth-seeded Bradley Klahn, a 27-year-old former Stanford star, drew Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador.
   Neither 2017 champion Zhang Ze of China nor runner-up Vasek Pospisil of Canada is entered this year.
   Here are the San Francisco Open singles qualifying and main draws and today's schedule.

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