Friday, October 12, 2018

Top two seeds fall in $100K Fairfield quarterfinals

Unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo of Orlando, Fla., beat top seed
Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals
of the Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
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   FAIRFIELD, Calif. -- Facing Bjorn Fratangelo after playing on Thursday night was a bad combination for Jordan Thompson.
   The unseeded Fratangelo upended the top-seeded Thompson 6-1, 6-4 this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 NorthBay Healthcare Men's Pro Championship at Solano Community College.
   In tonight's late match, eighth-seeded Alex Bolt of Australia eliminated second-seeded Lloyd Harris of South Africa 6-3, 6-4.
   Fratangelo, 25, of Orlando, Fla., improved to 3-0 against Thompson, a 24-year-old Australian, after winning twice on clay. Both are 6-foot (1.83-meter) former top-100 players who have had success on the ATP World Tour, the major leagues of men's tennis.
   Even though Thompson's current and career-high rankings (No. 105 and No. 63 in February 2017, respectively) exceed Fratangelo's (No. 158 and No. 99 in June 2016, respectively), Fratangelo has more firepower with his booming serve and whipping forehand.
   "I knew I had to be really solid, so I think I did that to a T," said Fratangelo, who was named after Bjorn Borg and won the 2011 French Open boys singles title, beating current world No. 7 Dominic Thiem. "We had played a couple times, and I've always done well. I knew what I had to do and executed well."
   Whereas Fratangelo defeated Dominik Koepfer of Germany in straight sets in 75-degree (23.9 Celsius) weather on Thursday afternoon, Thompson outlasted hard-hitting Maxime Janvier of France on a bone-chilling night in a match that ended at 9:56 p.m. Thompson returned to the court 16 hours later to take on Fratangelo in 87-degree (30.6 Celsius) heat.
Jordan Thompson played in radically different conditions
from Thursday night. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Fratangelo, who reached the semifinals of an ATP grass-court tournament in Newport, R.I., last year, conceded that the scheduling might have favored him.
   "(The conditions) are probably a little bit faster than what he had last night, but he's a tremendous athlete and fit as hell, so I don't think that bothered him at all," Fratangelo said.
   Actually, it did. So did the short turnaround.
   "Last night, it was cold and very slow; today it's hot and fast -- completely different conditions," moaned Thompson, who shocked then-No. 1 Andy Murray on grass in June 2017 and underwent a tonsilectomy late last year. "You finish a late match, and you get no time to recover."   
   After Fratangelo dominated the first set, he fought back from 0-40 to hold for 2-1 in the second set. Thompson overcame a 15-40 deficit to hold for 4-4 and saved two match points while serving at 4-5. But then he slugged a cross-court backhand wide and sailed a forehand long to end the match.
   Fratangelo won 22 of 27 points (81 percent) on his first serve and 12 of 19 (63 percent) on his second delivery, and saved all three break points against him.
   "He was playing well," Thompson said. "He didn't miss any balls in the first set. I did my best to adapt and nearly got there. It wasn't to be."
Fifth-seeded Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain
beat JJ Wolf, a 19-year-old wild card from Cincin-
nati, 6-0, 6-4. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Both Harris, 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters), and Bolt qualified for a Grand Slam tournament this year, losing in the first round of the main draw, and own career-high rankings of No. 113 and No. 155, respectively.
   Bolt, a 25-year-old left-hander and two-time Australian Open doubles quarterfinalist, saved all eight break points against him against the 21-year-old Harris, who was playing for the fourth consecutive week. He qualified in Chengdu, China, on the ATP tour two weeks ago and stunned 32-year-old Gael Monfils, who climbed to a career-high No. 6 in 2016, in the first round before losing to eventual champion Bernard Tomic in a third-set tiebreaker. Harris then won the $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger.
   "It was difficult," Harris said regarding fatigue against Bolt, who came within two points of losing to wild card Collin Altamirano of Sacramento in the second round, on a mercifully warmer night. "I have played a lot of matches in the last month, but he was better on the night -- what can I say?"
   Fratangelo is scheduled to meet sixth-seeded Casper Ruud, a 19-year-old Norwegian, for the first time on Saturday not before 2 p.m. Ruud, the son of former top-40 player Christian Ruud, crushed Germany's Sebastian Fanselow, playing in the Fairfield quarterfinals as a qualifier for the second consecutive year, 6-1, 6-0 in 48 minutes.
   The 6-foot (1.83-meter) Ruud, ranked No. 137, won 23 of 26 points (88 percent) on his first serve and never faced a break point. Fanselow, a 26-year-old former Pepperdine All-American, double-faulted six times, won only three of 18 points (17 percent) on his second serve and lost all five break points against him.
   After Fratangelo and Ruud square off, Bolt will meet fifth-seeded Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain for the first time. The 32-year-old Menendez-Maceiras, ranked No. 132, defeated JJ Wolf, a 19-year-old wild card from Cincinnati, 6-0, 6-4.
   Menendez-Maceiras, a quarterfinalist at the inaugural New York Open as a qualifier in February, survived all three break points against him. Wolf, a junior at Ohio State who ousted ailing third seed Noah Rubin on Thursday, converted only 46 percent of his first serves.
   Here are the Fairfield singles and doubles draws and Saturday's schedule. The tournament is being streamed live.

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