SAVANNAH, May 3, 2017
On the second day of main draw action at the $75,000 St. Joseph’s/Candler (SJ/C) Savannah Challenger the US-Americans continued their strong showing in advancing to the second round.
Kicking off the day was the All-US-American match-up of Mitchell Krueger and Sekou Bangoura. In the first set the local favourites battled it out until Krueger was able to get a much needed break and take the opening set 7-5. In the second set Krueger continued the momentum, but with Bangoura attempting a last-minute run, it would take the 23-year old seven match points before he was able to close out his first round match 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 53 minutes.
Next up, 2015 SJ/C Savannah Challenger doubles finalist, Dennis Novikov, took to the court with hopes of upsetting No. 3 seed Peter Polansky of Canada, who came into the tournament on a five match losing streak. In the first set Novikov needed one break to take the set 6-4, but in the second Polansky quickly ran away with the set, winning it 6-2 to force a third. In the final set, both players held serve to force a tie break. Novikov was able to save a match point, and then close out the match after two hours and three minutes, winning 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(6).
No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov then took to Stadium court against Latvian qualifier Mikelis Libietis. The 19-year old needed only one hour and five minutes to close out the match 6-3, 6-4, in a rather routine performance.
James McGee from Ireland also advanced to the second round, rallying past seventh favourite and NextGen star Denis Shapovalov from Canada. The 29-year-old from Dublin came back from a set down, winning 3-6,7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes to face Croatian Ante Pavic next.
Top Seed Falls In Opener
In the featured evening match, No. 1 seed Darian King from Barbados took on US-American wild card Marcos Giron. Giron took an early lead in the first set before King evened it up at 4-4, but the 23-year old from California closed out the opening set 6-4 after breaking King. In the second set, Giron continued his momentum, saving all three break points he faced, and defeated King, 6-4, 6-0, for the final spot in the second round. The World No. 410 will next take on Tallahassee Tennis Challenger champion Blaz Rola from Slovenia.
Play gets underway Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. with US-American Michael Mmoh taking on No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen. Later in the day, French Open Wild Card Challenge leader, Tennys Sandgren, hopes to continue his Savannah showing as he competes against fellow US-American wild card Christian Harrison. In the featured evening match, it is another battle of the US-Americans as Mitchell Krueger plays against wild card Tommy Paul for a spot in the quarterfinals.