APTOS, August 11, 2016
On Wednesday at the $100,000 Nordic Naturals presented by Santa Cruz County Bank, the No. 6 seed and current leader of the U.S. Open Wildcard Challenge, Ernesto Escobedo was defeated by USC alumni and fellow Los Angeles-native, Raymond Sarmiento. If one of the six remaining US-Americans clinches the singles Title this week, including Sarmiento, they will automatically be named the winner of the Challenge and receive a direct entry into the main draw of the U.S. Open.
Sarmiento, 24, successfully made it through the qualifying rounds last weekend, deeming the Nordic Naturals Challenger the first Challenger main draw and quarterfinal appearance of his career. Ernesto’s powerful game was offset by Sarmiento’s ability to manage his own game and execute point-by-point, resulting in a 6-2, 6-2 victory. In a first time matchup, US-American wildcard Mackenzie McDonald also fell to US-American qualifier Eric Quigly in an epic three-set battle.
Reaching his second quarterfinal in two weeks, James McGee, 29, from Ireland, also used the pressure to his advantage today to dominate No. 9 seed US-American Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 6-1. Aptos was a chance for 22-year-old Krueger to capitalize on his second place standing in the U.S. Open Wildcard Challenge. Dripping with confidence after posting a thrilling comeback to win his opening round on Monday night, McGee won nine straight games at one point in the match, ultimately cutting off Krueger’s journey after one hour and 18 minutes of play.
— James McGee (@jamesmcgee01) 11. August 2016
No. 1 seed Daniel Evans beat Emilio Gomez in a tight three-setter. With multiple break chances from both sides, Evans was able to hold his ground and string points together, ousting Gomez during the critical points of the match. Evans rose to the challenge after losing an extremely close second set and quickly captured the third set.
Ending in a third set tiebreak, the No. 3 seed team, featuring young US-American Stefan Koslov and Australian Matt Reid, clinched the last doubles match at Seascape Sports Club on Wednesday evening. The team paired up to defeat US-American-duo Mitchell Krueger and Alex Kuznetsov after splitting sets and closing out the tiebreak 12-10.
Thursday’s quarterfinal competition resumes at 11 a.m. highlighted by an US-American matchup between No. 3 seed Bjorn Fratangelo and former UCLA Bruin, wildcard Clay Thompson.