Friday, August 24, 2018

Altamirano, Gibbs advance to main draw of U.S. Open

Collin Altamirano, a 22-year-old wild card
from Sacramento, beat 10th-seeded Lorenzo
Sonego today in the final round of U.S. Open
qualifying. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby won't be the only player from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento to appear in the main draw of U.S. Open men's singles next week.
   Collin Altamirano, a 22-year-old wild card, beat 10th-seeded Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (3) today in the final round of qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Sonego, 23, also advanced as a lucky loser. He reached the second round of the Australian Open and lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year, qualifying both times.
   Brooksby, 17, received an automatic wild card into the main draw of the 50th U.S. Open after winning the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., this month. He will face 54th-ranked John Millman of Australia on Tuesday. Millman has won two Northern California Challengers (Sacramento in 2010 and Aptos in 2015) and reached the final of another (Tiburon in 2014).
   Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the USTA boys 18 nationals five years ago and lost to No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
   Meanwhile, 25-year-old ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs will play in the main draw of the U.S. Open for the seventh consecutive year. Gibbs, seeded 10th in qualifying, beat Olga Govortsova, a former top-35 player from Belarus, 6-4, 6-1 to advance.
   Gibbs has reached the second round of the U.S. Open main draw for the past three years and advanced to the third round in 2014. Ranked No. 115, she is scheduled to face No. 30 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain for the first time on Tuesday. Suarez Navarro, who will turn 30 on Sept. 3, has dropped from a career-high No. 6 in February 2016 to No. 30.
   Altamirano, ranked No. 345, did not lose a set in his three qualifying matches. He toppled No. 22 seed Ivo Karlovic, a 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Croat and the all-time leader in aces by more than 2,000, in the second round.
   Altamirano will make his first appearance in the U.S. Open main draw since he won the USTA boys 18s title. He will meet Ugo Humbert, a 20-year-old qualifier from France ranked No. 139, on Monday. The winner will take on either eighth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria or wild card Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 U.S. Open champion who's rebounding from knee surgery.
   Altamirano turned pro in June 2017, forgoing his senior year at Virginia after helping the Cavaliers win the NCAA title in all three of his years on the team.
   This year, Altamirano has won his first two Futures singles titles ($25,000 Long Beach in January and $15,000 Singapore in May) and reached his first Challenger semifinal ($75,000 Winnetka, Ill., last month). In his last three tournaments, Altamirano has advanced to the Winnetka semis, the semifinals of the $25,000 Iowa City Futures and the quarterfinals of the $75,000 Lexington, Ky., Challenger.
   Humbert can top that. He has reached the final of his last three tournaments, all hard-court Challengers. Humbert lost to Stanford graduate Bradley Klahn in Gatineau, Canada, and to Canadian Peter Polansky in Granby, Canada, but defeated Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in Segovia, Spain. Klahn (wild card) and Polansky (lucky loser) also will play in the U.S. Open main draw.
   First-round losers in the singles main draws in Flushing Meadows will receive $54,000. Brooksby, however, can't accept prize money unless he turns pro, which is very unlikely, instead of enrolling at Texas Christian University in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020 as planned.
   The U.S. Open men's and women's singles champions will pocket $3.8 million each.

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