Friday, November 13, 2020

NorCal product reaches doubles final in Cary Challenger

Dennis Novikov (above), who grew up in San Jose,
Calif., and Teymuraz Gabashvili have won all three
of their matches in Cary, N.C., in match tiebreakers.
2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Dennis Novikov apparently likes playing in Cary, N.C.
   The 27-year-old San Jose, Calif., product, who won the Cary singles title in 2015, reached Saturday's doubles final in the Atlantic Tire Championships.
   Novikov, who was born in Moscow, and Teymuraz Gabashvili, a 35-year-old Georgia native who plays for Russia, edged Hunter Reese of Knoxville, Tenn., and Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-7 (6) [10-8] today in a battle of unseeded teams. 
   Not only have all three of Novikov and Gabashvili's victories in the $52,080 hardcourt tournament come in match tiebreakers, they have finished with a bang in their last two matches. They won the last four points today after reeling off the last nine in the quarterfinals.
   Reese, who won the 2018 Cary doubles title with countryman Evan King, and Verbeek, a 27-year-old left-hander, saved a match point with Reese serving at 5-6, 40-40 in the second set. 
   Gabashvili, a former top-50 player in singles, and Novikov, playing in his first tournament since late February, are scheduled to face top-seeded Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and Nathaniel Lammons of Dallas on Saturday at 9 a.m. PST. The final will be streamed live.
   Bambridge — who has won three doubles titles on the ATP Tour, the major leagues of men's tennis — and Lammons beat unseeded Americans Nathan Pasha and Martin Redlicki by walkover. Bambridge and Lammons' two other victories came in match tiebreakers.
   Novikov seeks his seventh Challenger doubles title overall and second of the abbreviated season. He and Goncalo Oliveira, a left-hander from Portugal, won the Dallas crown in early February.

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