KNOXVILLE, November 14, 2015
No more seeds are left in the draw at the US-$ 50,000 Knoxville Challenger on Friday, taking place at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.
Dennis Novikov knocked out the last remaining seed, winning 7-5, 6-4 against the tournament’s number five James Duckworth. The 22-year-old US-American withstood ten aces, hitting six of his own to close the match after one hour and 15 without facing a single break point.
“Everyone’s a good player and can win on any given day, and you have to be ready to play,” Novikov said. “Just because you’re not seeded doesn’t mean you’re not a good player. You’ve got to be prepared for everyone.”
Novikov has already captured two ATP Challenger titles this year, lifting the trophies in Cary and Columbus. He was also successful at an ITF Future tournament on home soil. “The last two or three months I’ve been playing really well,” the Moscow native said. “I just feel like even in matches when I’m not playing well, I’m really competitive, so today was a good win for me. I felt I was hitting the ball well and serving big. It was a close match with only one break in each set. I hope I can continue like this.”
Novikov will take on fellow countryman Frances Tiafoe next. The only 17-year-old from Boca Raton had led 6-2, 3-0 against Tenny Sandgren before the latter was forced to retire due to shoulder injury.
Jared Donaldson defeated Liam Broady, winning 6-4, 6-4. The 19-year-old US-American saved three of the four break points he faced, converting three of his own to seal victory in one hour and 31 minutes.
Dan Evans crashed the US-American party with his victory over Bjorn Fratangelo. The 25-year-old from Birmingham won 76% of his first service points, gaining two breaks to convert his first match after one hour and 43, winning 6-4, 7-6.