APTOS, August 13, 2016
On a cold, cloudy day in Aptos, Seascape Sports Club’s center court has just began to heat up as the competitive atmosphere at the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger presented by Santa Cruz County Bank unfolds and the final rounds come to fruition. On separate halves of the draw, two Americans, out of the original 16 in singles, carved a path to the semifinals. Considering that if either Eric Quigly or Bjorn Fratangelo claim the Championship they will be named the winner of the U.S. Wildcard Challenge and receive direct entry into the U.S. Open main draw, this is crucial.
Eric Quigly, whose Aptos journey began in the qualifying rounds, is one of those US-Americans. Currently ranked at No. 443 in the world, Quigly played for the University of Kentucky for four years and reached the 2012 NCAA championship final before he turned professional. The Cincinnati native made his first ATP main draw singles appearance last year at the Delray Beach Open. On Friday, Quigly defeated fellow-US-American, Raymond Sarmiento 7-5, 6-2.
He will next take on Cameron Norrie. The British qualifier fought past Evan King 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Norrie fired 10 aces, winning 70% of his first service points to prevail in two hours and 13 minutes.
The other US-American is No. 3 seed Bjorn Fratangelo. Fratangelo returns to Aptos, reaching the semifinals for the second consecutive year. Last year, the 23-year-old Pittsburgh native earned the most points in the Wild Card Challenge to make his debut at the U.S. Open. In the past year, Fratangelo has made four straight Grand Slam main draw appearances, captured the Savannah Challenger Title and has broken into the ATP top 100. On Friday, his focus was evident when he eliminated 2010 Aptos Champion, Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes.
Fratangelo will next play the tournament’s No. 1 Daniel Evans. The 26-year-old Brit defeated James McGee 6-3, 6-4. Evans capitalized on all of his three break point chances to seal victory in one horu and 15 minutes.