Saturday, September 28, 2019

For top seed Paul, narrow win in Tiburon tastes good

Tommy Paul, playing in Tiburon last year, took a swig
of beer after edging Gonzalo Escobar in Friday's quar-
terfinals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Tommy Paul didn't wait long to celebrate his narrow victory over Gonzalo Escobar.
   After shaking hands with Escobar, Paul walked to the side of the court opposite the chair umpire and took a swig of beer from an unattended pitcher sitting on the first row of the stands.
   The top-seeded Paul, from Greenville, N.C., edged the unseeded Escobar, from Ecuador, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (2) on Friday in the quarterfinals of the $108,320 First Republic Tiburon Challenger at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   Paul, the only top-100 player in the field at No. 87, is scheduled to meet another Ecuadorian, fourth-seeded Emilio Gomez, today at about 4:30 p.m. Gomez, ranked No. 158, beat unseeded Sekou Bangoura of Bradenton, Fla., 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
   Gomez, the son of 1990 French Open champion Andres Gomez, defeated Paul, the 2015 French Open boys singles champion, 6-2, 6-2 on clay in the final of the $54,160 Tallahassee (Fla.) Challenger in April in their only previous meeting.
   In today's first semifinal at 2:30 p.m., eighth-seeded Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia will play 14th-seeded Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Charlottesville, Va., for the first time.
   Kokkinakis, ranked No. 183, dispatched 16th-seeded Maxime Cressy, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Paris native who plays for the United States, 6-4, 6-2.
   Kokkinakis reached a career-high No. 69 at age 18 in 2015 before injuries derailed his career. He shocked Roger Federer in the second round in Miami and won the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger last year.
   Cressy and Keegan Smith of UCLA won the NCAA doubles title in May.
   Kwiatkowski, the 2017 NCAA singles champion from the University of Virginia, nipped wild card Brandon Nakashima, a Virginia sophomore from San Diego, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (6).
   Here are the updated Tiburon singles and doubles draws and today's schedule.

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