Kozlov Fights Past Melzer To Reach Tallahassee Challenger Quarterfinals

Stefan Kozlov (photo: Jacob Stuckey/Tallahassee Challenger)

TALLHASSEE, April 27, 2017

The US-Americans came out on top Wednesday at the $75,000 Tallahassee Tennis Challenger held at Forestmeadows Athletic Center. Bradley Klahn, Dennis Novikov, Stefan Kozlov, and Mitchell Krueger all advanced to the quarterfinals and will battle it out for the final four spots on Thursday.

In the first match of the day wild card Bradley Klahn took on German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. Klahn rallied long points with Koepfer in the opening set before breaking him and taking the first set 7-5. In the second set, Klahn closed out the match, taking the set 6-1 after 64 minutes.

Klahn is competing on the tour again after being sidelined for nearly two years after back surgery. In his first event back at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Champaign in November 2016, Klahn qualified and advanced to the quarterfinals. The World No. 600 from California will next take on Andrea Arnaboldi of Italy, who defeated US-American wild card Christian Harrison 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 26 minutes.

Next up, 2015 and 2016 Tallahassee Tennis Challenger doubles champion Dennis Novikov battled it out against John-Patrick Smith from Australia. The 23-year-old US-American took the first 6-3, but in the second set the Aussie started to find his game. Novikov prevailed though, closing out the match 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 17 minutes.

Meanwhile on Court 1, No. 7 seed Stefan Kozlov took to the court with hopes of beating former world No. 8 Jurgen Melzer. The 35-year old Austrian quickly took the opening set 6-2, but in the second set the US-American youngster rallied back and took the set 6-3. In the final and decisive set Melzer took an early 4-1 lead, but Kozlov made an incredible comeback, winning five games in a row to prevail 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 after one hour and 57 minutes.

In the featured evening match, Mitchell Krueger dispatched No. 3 seed Henri Laaksonen from Switzerland 6-3, 6-2, in a rather routine performance. Earlier this year, Krueger advanced to the finals of the $75,000 Challenger event in Launcaston and the quarterfinals of the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Guadalajara.

In doubles, the US-American team of Stefan Kozlov and Dennis Novikov defeated No. 4 seeds Peter Polansky and Neal Skupski. In the first evening match, US-American Scott Lipsky teamed-up with crowd favorite Leander Paes to defeat the wild card duo of Ryan Shane and Wil Spencer.

Wednesday, April 26 – RESULTS

Singles – Second round
WC-Bradley Klahn, United States, d. Q-Dominik Koepfer, Germany, 7-5, 6-1,
Q-Blaz Rola, Slovenia, d. Leonardo Mayer (6), Argentina, 6-2, 6-4,
Dennis Novikov, United States, d. John-Patrick Smith, Australia, 6-3, 7-5,
Guido Andreozzi (4), Argentina, d. Vincent Millot, France, 0-6, 6-4, 4-0, Retired,
Ramkumar Ramanathan, India, d. James McGee, Ireland, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2,
Q-Andrea Arnaboldi, Italy, d. WC-Christian Harrison, United States, 6-4, 6-3,
Stefan Kozlov (7), United States, d. Jurgan Melzer, Austria, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4,
Mitchell Krueger, United States, d. Henri Laaksonen (3), Switzerland, 6-3, 6-2.

Doubles – First round
LL-Gonzalo Escobar and Roberto Quiroz, Ecuador, d. LL-Andre Ghem, Brazil, and Alejandro Gonzalez, Columbia, 7-6(1), 4-6, 10-4,
Jarryd Chaplin, Australia, and Tennys Sandgren, United States, d. Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith (2), Australia, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8,
Scott Lipsky, United States, and Leander Paes (1), India, d. WC-Ryan Shane and Wil Spencer, United States, 6-4, 6-4,
Stefan Kozlov and Dennis Novikov, United States, d. Peter Polansky, Canada, and Neal Skupski (4), Great Britain, 6-3, 1-6, 10-7.