APTOS, August 15, 2016
On the final day of the 29th annual $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger presented by Santa Cruz County Bank, top seed, Daniel Evans, 26, claimed the title, boosting his ranking from No. 80 to No. 60 in the world. Today’s victory earned Evans his fifth Challenger career title. He heads into the U.S. Open later this month, more focused than ever, determined to break into the top 50.
In their first competitive meeting, Evans defeated 20-year-old Cameron Norrie, who plays for Texas Christian University, 6-3, 6-4. However, the two are good friends, both from Great Britain, practice together often and know each other well on and off the court.
“I did win a lot of the longer points and he missed a few volley opportunities, I think that was the difference today,” Evans said.
Before last year’s champion, John Millman, claimed the title as the No. 1 seed, no top seed had ever been named champion in the Aptos Challenger’s 27 years of existence. Evans’ win today makes it two years in a row that the No. 1 seed has overcome these odds and walked away with the title.
“Someone did mention that to me this week,” Evans said. “My coach and I talked about it because number one seeds don’t normally win the tournament in general.”
Evans turned pro in 2006, finished in the finals of the 2013 Aptos Challenger and he has jumped over 200 ranking spots in less than a year. Despite experience playing a factor in today’s singles final, both players were under pressure, yielding long points and fun tennis according to Evans.
Scholtz And Vorster Claim Doubles Title
After splitting sets with Ben McLachlan and Mackenzie McDonald, Nicolaas Scholtz and Tucker Vorster walked away with their first Challenger Doubles Championship today. In a battle between four former distinguished college tennis players, Scholtz and Vorster, both Ole Miss alumni, clinched the thrilling match tiebreaker 10-8.
“This game is not science, it’s a game,” Scholtz explained. “The game will always win all you can do is play it. It’s either going to go your way or it’s not. All you can do is put yourself in that situation. We spoke about it and that’s what we did. It could have really gone either way.”
According to Vorster, the South African duo “couldn’t put a foot wrong” to take a breathtaking 9-2 lead in the match tiebreak. In an unexpected momentum shift, McDonald and McLachlan fought off six match points, clawing their way back to 9-8 before dropping the last point.
“We knew that they weren’t going to go away in the tiebreak, they wouldn’t be the level of players they are if they did,” Scholtz said. “We kept the same mentality and closed it out in the end.”
Last week, Ole Miss alumni, Scholtz and Vorster, made it to the finals of the Lexington Challenger during their first time ever playing together. The two have been planning their partnership for a while, but are just now executing it.
“Having just recently started playing together this is one of the biggest wins of both of our careers and its special to share it with a great friend,” Vorster said.