APTOS, August 9, 2016
Including qualifiers and wildcards, following the first day of main draw competition, 14 US-Americans are still in the main draw of the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger presented by Santa Cruz County Bank.
US-Americans 20-year-old Tom Fawcett and No. 204 Nicolas Meister fell in the opening singles round. However two US-American players, No. 9 seed Mitchell Krueger and qualifier Raymond Sarmiento ousted their opponents on Monday. Krueger currently holds second place in the U.S. Open Wild Card challenge. In an all-US-American first round featuring qualifier Eric Quigley and wildcard Christopher Eubanks, Quigley came out on top.
On Monday, Seascape Sports Club was lit up by Ireland’s James McGee who posted a thrilling comeback to defeat Meister 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. Not long after, No. 1 seed Daniel Evans advanced to the round of 16 after battling past Fawcett in a match he hopes to be the first of many this week.
Currently ranked No. 80 in the world, Evans reached a career high ranking of No. 73 last month after defeating top-ranked players No. 34 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 38 Alexandr Dolgopolov, No. 89 Ricardas Berankis, No. 74 John Millman and many more. “I feel good, I’ve had some good success this year, but I need to keep going forward and hopefully some good wins this week will really help my ranking,” Evans said.
After losing to No. 23 Jack Sock in the round of 16 at the Citi Open, Evans’ results in the next two tournaments, the Kentucky Challenger and BB&T Atlanta Open, did not reflect the significant season he has had up to this point. He said that today’s win against Fawcett felt good after losing two first rounds in a row.
Evans returns as the No. 1 seed this year after reaching the Aptos finals in 2013. “It is nice to come back,” Evans said. “I’ve done well here in a final before and hopefully I can win the tournament, but I have to go match by match and see what happens.”