KNOXVILLE, November 11, 2016
The ATP Challenger Tour has returned to the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center on the University of Tennessee campus this week for the eighth edition of the $50,000 Knoxville Challenger.
Peter Polansky has caused the upset of the tournament so far by knocking out top seed and defending champion Daniel Evans from Great Britain in the second round on Thursday. The 28-year-old Canadian sent down seven aces, winning 74 per cent of his first service points to secure a 1-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory in two hours and eight minutes.
“He’s a tough opponent,” Polansky said. “He’s had a really good year. It’s always tough when some of these guys drop down to play Challengers.”
Evans is currently ranked No. 57 in the world and is enjoying a decent season. He captured three ATP Challenger titles and made it to the round-of-32 in Wimbledon as well as the US Open. However, the 26-year-old Birmingham resident has only competed in two matches since the final Grand Slam of the year due to a shoulder injury.
“It’s not always guaranteed they’re going to win. They expect to win the tournament, but it’s tough these days. I feel like there’s a lot of good players in the tournament and you’ve got to really play it match by match. Daniel obviously is a good player, very talented and he is tough to beat,” added Polansky, who also lifted one trophy at Challenger level in 2016, winning in Gatineau.
“This whole year I’ve just been improving my game one step at a time, just taking it one day at a time and enjoying the process, working hard, working on some things to get better.”
The world No. 148 from Canada advanced to his second consecutive quarterfinal on the ATP Challenger Tour after he had reached the stage of the final eigtht in Charlottesville last week. He will next take on unseeded Mackenzie McDonald, who emerged victorious from the all-US-American affair with Dennis Novikov, winning 6-4, 7-5.
Frances Tiafoe, the tournament’s number two, also fell in the second round. The only 18-year-old from the United States lost to fellow countryman Austin Krajicek 3-6, 6-3, 3-6. Krajicek fired 14 aces, saved nine of the 10 break points he faced, converting two of his own to prevail in one hour and 55 minutes. The highest remaining seed in the draw will be US-American Jared Donaldson, who will face Ruben Bemelmans from Belgium when the tournament countinues on Friday.