Sunday, November 15, 2020

Kudla conquers Gunneswaran for Cary crown

Denis Kudla, the Tiburon, Calif., runner-up in 2015,
won his seventh Challenger singles title and first
since 2018. File photo by Paul Bauman 
   Second-seeded Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., beat fourth-seeded Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 today to win the $52,080 Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, N.C.
   Kudla, 28, pounded six aces, committed no double faults and converted six of 12 break points on a windy day.
   Gunneswaran, a 31-year-old left-hander, had 11 aces and three double faults and capitalized on all three of his break points. He won third-set tiebreakers in the second round and quarterfinals but received a walkover in the semifinals.
   "It's a big deal that we're allowed to play and pursue our dreams, especially during the tough times," Kudla, the runner-up in the 2015 Tiburon, Calif., Challenger, said after playing Gunneswaran for the first time.
   Kudla collected $7,200 for his seventh Challenger singles title and first since 2018. Gunneswaran, a semifinalist in the 2017 Tiburon, Calif., Challenger, earned $4,240.
   Kudla will rise 10 places to No. 114 in Monday's new rankings, increasing his chances of getting straight into the Australian Open in January. Gunneswaran will improve nine spots to No. 137. 
   Dennis Novikov, a 27-year-old San Jose, Calif., product, won the doubles title with Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia on Saturday.
   Kudla and Gunneswaran have the same seedings in next week's $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open. Kudla is scheduled to play lucky loser Kevin King of Atlanta in the first round, and Gunneswaran drew Sam Riffice, a University of Florida junior who grew up in the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Roseville.
   ITF women — Alycia Parks, a 19-year-old qualifier from Port St. Lucie, Fla., defeated Robin Montgomery, a 16-year-old Washington, D.C., native, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to win a $25,000 tournament in Orlando. Parks reached the final of last year's $25,000 tourney in Redding, Calif.

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