Trio Of American Qualifiers Advance To San Diego Open Main Draw

Mitchell Krueger, Emilio Nava, Christopher Eubanks (photo: San Diego Open ATP 250)

SAN DIEGO, September 19, 2022 (by Richard Osborn)

Sunday afternoon saw three Americans punch their tickets through to the main draw of the San Diego Open ATP 250, advancing in the final qualifying round at Barnes Tennis Center.

None took a more arduous route than Texan Mitchell Kreuger, who needed three hours and three sets to overcome former UCLA star Govind Nanda on the Grandstand, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. Kreuger led 5-2 in the second set, only to see his opponent save five match points to force a decider.

Woodland Hills’ Emilio Nava, 20, advanced via a tight 7-5, 7-6 (4) decision over fellow American Aleksandar Kovacevic of New York in Barnes Stadium, charting eight aces and winning 79 percent (34 of 43) of his first-serve points.

“He’s a tough opponent,” said Nava. “I’ve known him a while. I knew I just had to survive the first two shots, because he hits a big ball. I was trying to neutralize that. In the important moments, I just tried to make that one extra ball.”

“To play a tough guy like Kova, with that serve and forehand, and come out on top, that’s a huge confidence boost,” he added. “To get into the main draw here at home in Cali — it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Nava’s cousin, Ernest Escobedo, wasn’t as fortunate. The Los Angeles native came up short against Atlanta’s Christopher Eubanks, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7). Eubanks, 26, saved two set points in the second set, and finished with 43 winners to 24 unforced errors in the winning effort. After playing his way into the main draw last month at the US Open, Eubanks is now into the main draw in San Diego.

“The second set could have gone either way,” said Eubanks, ranked No. 135. “But I’m just excited to be back in another main draw of a tour event. I tend to play some of my best tennis at the bigger tournaments. It’s been a pretty fun year so far. Hopefully, I can continue that progression and continue to move forward in the main draw and not just be satisfied with qualifying.”

Also advancing on Sunday was Argentine Facundo Mena, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Czech Marek Gengel.


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An all-U.S. clash between J.J. Wolf and Stefan Kozlov highlights Monday’s opening-round slate at the San Diego Open ATP 250 at Barnes Tennis Center.

Wolf, 23, sits at a career-high No. 72 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on the heels of a third-round showing at the US Open, where he upset 18th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the first round.

Kozlov, 24, is looking to snap a five-match main-draw skid at the tour level. Earlier this year, the Macedonian-born baseliner reached the quarterfinals in Delray Beach and the Round of 16 in Acapulco.

The Wolf vs. Kozlov matchup will kick off the afternoon session in Barnes Stadium beginning at 5:30 p.m., and will be followed by a first-round faceoff between American Brandon Holt and Frenchman Constant Lestienne.

Earlier this month, the wildcard recipient Holt scored the biggest win of his young career at the US Open, stunning countryman and world No. 12 Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-4. A four-time All-American and Pac-12 Player of the Year at USC, the 24-year-old from Rolling Hills is the son of Hall of Famer Tracy Austin.

The day session will get underway at 11:30 a.m. in Barnes Stadium when 70th-ranked James Duckworth of Australia takes on compatriot Alexei Popyrin. Duckworth defeated the 90th-ranked Popyrin in their only other encounter last year in the Round of 16 at the ATP Masters 1000 Paris, 6-3, 7-6 (0).



Qualifying Singles
Second Round
Qualifying – [2] F. Mena (ARG) d M. Gengel (CZE) 63 64
Qualifying – [3] C. Eubanks (USA) d [6] E. Escobedo (USA) 76(5) 76(7)
Qualifying – [4] E. Nava (USA) d [7] A. Kovacevic (USA) 75 76(4)
Qualifying – [5] M. Krueger (USA) d G. Nanda (USA) 64 57 75

BARNES STADIUM start 11:30 am
A. Popyrin (AUS) vs [7] J. Duckworth (AUS)
T. Etcheverry (ARG) vs [Q] F. Mena (ARG)

Not Before 5:30 pm
[8] J. Wolf (USA) vs S. Kozlov (USA)
[WC] B. Holt (USA) vs C. Lestienne (FRA)