SAVANNAH, April 22, 2016
No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo advanced to the quarterfinals of the $50,000 St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger after defeating Henri Laaksonen 7-6(2), 7-5 on Thursday. With the win, Fratangelo keeps his hopes of clinching the USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge alive.
In the first set, Fratangelo served strong, firing in three aces. He faced seven break points and was able to save six of them, ultimately taking the first set 7-6(2) in a tie break. In the second set it looked like Laaksonen had found his rhythm and would possibly be able to force a third, but Fratangelo improved upon his second serve return percentage and took the set 7-5.
“I stayed in it well and I competed well. I thought I served decent and I thought that kept me in a lot of the games especially in the first set and maybe towards the end of the second where I was down some break points”, said Fratangelo.
Fratangelo is currently ranked No. 126 in the world and reached a career high ranking of No. 106 late last year. Fratangelo holds five USTA Pro Circuit singles and doubles titles overall (four in singles, one in doubles).
Fratangelo is in first place in the men’s USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge Stand-ings at the end of Week 1, putting him in the early lead to earn a main-draw wild card into the 2016 French Open. Fratangelo reached the semifinals at the $100,000 Joey Gratton Sarasota Open in Sarasota, Fla., last week, earning 35 points.
Next up Fratangelo takes on rising US-American Frances Tiafoe. Tiafoe defeated Tomas Lipovsek Puches, 6-4, 6-4, in the featured match of the day. Also advancing to the quarterfinals were qualifier Nicolas Jarry and No. 1 seed Dennis Kudla.
Fratangelo has become a crowd favorite and drew a wide array of Savannah residents this afternoon as he battled Laaksonen on Stadium Court.
“I like Savannah a lot. You know I like the area and this complex is very nice. The courts are good and I like them. And I’m happy to be through to the quarters”, said Fratangelo.
Thursday, April 21 – RESULTS
Singles – Second round
WC-Denis Kudla (1), United States, d. WC-Brian Baker, United States, 6-3, 6-3,
Q-Nicolas Jarry, Chile, d. Quentin Halys, France, 7-6(3), 7-6(3),
Bjorn Fratangelo (6), United States, d. Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland, 7-6(2), 7-5,
Frances Tiafoe, United States, d. Q-Tomas Lipovsek Puches, Argentina, 6-4, 6-4.
Doubles – Quarterfinals
Giovanni Lapentti, Ecuador, and Roberto Maytin, Venzuela, d. Gerald Melzer, Austria, and Ruan Roe-lofse, South Africa, 6-4, 6-1,
WC-Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison, United States, d. Sekou Bangoura, United States, and Darren Walsh (4), Great Britain, 6-2, 7-5,
Purav Raja and Divij Sharan (3), India, d. LL-Jose Hernandez-Fernandez, Dominican Republic, and Nicolas Jarry, Chile, 6-3, 7-5,
Quentin Halys and Calvin Hemery, France, d. Dennis Novikov, United States, and Julio Peralta (1), Chile, 7-5, 6-3.