Tiafoe Opens Stockton Challenger Title Bid

Frances Tiafoe (photo: Stockton Challenger)

STOCKTON, October 4, 2016

Men’s professional tennis has arrived in the Californian city of Stockton, as the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center on the campus of University of the Pacific has become a stop on the ATP Challenger Tour this week.

On the final day of singles qualifying competition and the start of main draw play at the $100,000 event, a rain delay pushed matches back until 1:30pm and the tournament was only allowed to get through eight matches on Monday.

On stadium court, third seed Frances Tiafoe, who nearly upset John Isner in the first round of this year’s US Open, came back to beat Blaz Rola of Slovenia. The 18-year-old US-American quickly lost the first set 3-6 and went back and forth with Rola in the second. Tiafoe took the second 7-5 and blasted through the third, 6-3 to take the match in two hours and eight minutes.

In the all-US-American affair between the number five seed Denis Kudla and wildcard Nicolas Meister, Kudla would come out on top in straight sets. The world number 141 from Tampa fired 14 aces, winning 77 per cent of his first service points to prevail in one hour and 57 minutes. Kudla will take on the winner of the suspended Peter Polansky and Brian Baker match.

Due to darkness, two matches were suspended after being tied one set all in each match. Polansky and Baker along with Daniel Nguyen and Yuki Bhambri will begin their third sets after the first matches, which start at 10am.

Main draw matches on Tuesday will feature number one seed and US-American, Bjorn Fratangelo along with University of the Pacific men’s tennis alumni, Sem Verbeek.

The four qualifiers earning spots into the singles main draw are Frederik Nielsen, Salvatore Caruso, Brydan Klein, and Dennis Nevolo. Nielsen and Caruso would knock out the number one and six seed, respectively, placing no seeded qualifiers into the remainder of the tournament.