SAVANNAH, April 19, 2016
Main draw play kicked off on Monday at the $50,000 St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger and it was a day full of thrilling matches. US-American’s Donald Young, Jared Donaldson, and Brian Baker all advanced to the second round after commanding wins.
In the featured match of the day, No. 2 seed Donald Young squared off against rising US-American Noah Rubin. In an rather even match, both players rallied out long points and converting all break point chances. Later in the first set, Young took an lead and closed out the set. In the second set Young improved upon his first service points won but Rubin played defensive tennis and saved five out of six break points faced. In a second set tie break Young came out on top closing out the match just shy of two hours. Young will now face Daniil Medvedev in the second round.
Rubin claimed the 2015 Australian Open Wild Card Challenge in November and put the wild card to good use after he stunned No. 17 seed Benoit Paire in the first round. Rubin was looking to build on an already stellar performance this year after upsetting No. 1 seed Denis Kudla at the White Sands Realty Group/Joey Gratton Sarasota Open last week and reaching a career high ranking of No. 181 in the world yesterday. Rubin who is currently in second place of the USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, now heads to the USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger with hopes of keeping his wild card ambitions alive.
Earlier in the day, No. 8 seed Jared Donaldson defeated 2013 singles Champion Ryan Harrison in a rather routine 6-2, 7-6(5), win. Donaldson’s next test will be Guido Andreozzi.
Fellow US-American Brian Baker also advanced to the second round after defeating wild card and rising US-American teen Tommy Paul, 6-3, 6-1. Baker who won the singles title in 2012, returned to the tour earlier this year at the Australian Open after a nearly three-year injury layoff. With the win, 30-year old tour alumni scored his first main draw victory in over three years.
Qualifying singles play also wrapped up today, with Roman Safiullin, Nicolas Jarry, Peter Polansky, and Tomas Lipovsek Puches taking the final four spots in the main draw singles field.
Play resumes Tuesday morning with the remaining first round matches filling up a majority of the day. In the featured match of the day, No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek squares off against 2015 semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe.