Thursday, August 23, 2018

Altamirano shocks Karlovic in U.S. Open qualifying

Sacramento's Collin Altamirano, shown in 2014, beat No. 22 seed
Ivo Karlovic, 6-foot-11 (2.11 meters), 7-5, 6-4 today to reach the
final round of U.S. Open qualifying. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Collin Altamirano recorded the biggest win, literally and figuratively, of his blossoming career today.
   The 22-year-old wild card from Sacramento knocked off 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic, seeded 22nd, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the final round of U.S. Open qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Karlovic, 39, of Croatia is ranked No. 137 after reaching a career-high No. 14 in 2008. The highest-ranked player Altamirano, who's in his first full year as a professional, had beaten was No. 160 Darian King of Barbados.
   Karlovic, the all-time leader in aces by more than 2,000, had 15 against Altamirano with four double faults. Both players won more than 80 percent of the points on their first serve, but the 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Altamirano won 65 percent of the points on his second delivery (17 of 26) to Karlovic's 42 percent (11 of 26). Altamirano converted two of six break points and saved all four against him.
   Altamirano, ranked a career-high No. 345 after beginning the year at No. 761, will face 10th-seeded Lorenzo Sonego, a 23-year-old Italian, for the first time on Friday not before 11 a.m. California time (Tennis Channel). Sonego, ranked No. 117, outlasted Guilherme Clezar of Brazil 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours, 58 minutes.
   Altamirano seeks his second berth in the main draw of the U.S. Open. He won the USTA boys 18 national title in 2013 to earn a wild card into the Open and lost to No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
   Altamirano's fellow pupil at the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento, Jenson Brooksby, repeated Altamirano's USTA feat this year and drew John Millman of Australia in the first round of the U.S. Open.
   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, he has advanced to the quarterfinals of the $75,000 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger, the semifinals of the $25,000 Iowa City Futures and the Winnetka semis.
    Sonego reached the second round of the Australian Open and lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year, qualifying in both tournaments. Last fall, he played in five consecutive Challenger or Futures finals, winning two (one on clay and one on hard court).
   Advancing to the final round of women's qualifying today was 10th-seeded Nicole Gibbs, a 25-year-old ex-Stanford star who beat Tamara Korpatsch of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (6).
   Gibbs, ranked No. 115, will meet Belarus' Olga Govortsova, a former top-35 player rebounding from injuries, for the first time on Friday at 8 a.m. Govortsova, playing on her 30th birthday, topped 21st-seeded Fiona Ferro of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 after eliminating 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 7-5 in the first round.
   Gibbs has reached the second round of the main draw in the U.S. Open for the past three years, and she advanced to the third round at Flushing Meadows in 2014.
   Gibbs' former Stanford teammate, Kristie Ahn, lost to ninth-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-1, 6-2 in 45 minutes. Ahn, who's based in Boca Raton, Fla., grew up near New York in Upper Saddle River, N.J. Jabeur won the French Open girls singles title in 2011.

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