SAVANNAH, May 6, 2017
The semi-finals are set at the $75,000 St. Joseph’s/Candler (SJ/C) Savannah Challenger with Joao Pedro Sorgi, Tennys Sandgren, James McGee, and Tommy Paul all advancing to the final four.
In the first of the day, Tennys Sandgren took on No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen. Everything was on the line Friday, as Laaksonen was looking at cracking the Top 100 for the first time in his career, and Sandgren was looking to extend his Wild Card Challenge lead.
In the first set, Sandgren waited until 4-4 to break and then served out the opening set 6-4. In the second set both continued to rally back and forth in difficult conditions, but Laaksonen was able to save a match point and break back to take the second set 7-5. In the final and decisive set, Sandgren forced the tie break and stormed past Laaksonen to close out the match in two hours and 38 minutes, winning 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4).
Meanwhile over on Court 6, Joao Pedro Sorgi breezed past No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov. Sorgi needed just 1 hour and 6 minutes to shut out Kozlov 6-2, 6-2. Sorgi is currently ranked No. 342 in the world and will be playing in his first ATP Challenger Tour semi-final since 2016.
Next up, James McGee took on US-American wild card Marcos Giron. The 2015 SJ/C Savannah Challenger singles finalist had a slow start to the match, but was able to come back and take the opening set 6-4. In the second set, it looked like Giron was going to push the match to a third set, but McGee was able to rally back and close out the match 6-4, 7-5.
In the final singles match of the day, wild card Tommy Paul dispatched Dennis Novikov in blistering fashion. 19-year old Paul quickly took the opening set 6-2, and in the second set he broke Novikov at 2-2. Paul closed out the match 6-2, 6-4 to reach his best ATP Challenger Tour showing since the finals of Charlottesville, Va. (l. Noah Rubin) in November 2015. With Novikov’s loss, Sandgren has secured the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge and will be competing in his first Grand Slam singles main draw match later this month.
In doubles, Peter Polansky and Neal Skupski advanced to the finals of the SJ/C Savannah Challenger after defeating Jarryd Chaplin and Tennys Sandgren. Polansky and Skupski partnered together last week in Tallahassee and lost in the first round (l. Kozlov/Novikov). Two weeks ago Polansky reached the finals of the Sarasota Open (l. Lipsky/Melzer) after partnering with Stefan Kozlov.
Play gets underway Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. with the remaining doubles semifinal. No. 3 seeds Luke Bambridge and Mitchell Krueger compete in their second doubles semifinal in two weeks, taking on No. 2 seeds Mikelis Libietis and Max Schnur. After a Special POPS exhibition, the singles semifinals take to Stadium Court for an action-packed day of tennis.