Tiafoe Upsets Smyczek To Move Into Second Round At Savannah Challenger

Frances Tiafoe (photo: instudioEphoto)

SAVANNAH, April 20, 2016

US-American teenager Frances Tiafoe stunned No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-2, in the first round on Tuesday at the $50,000 St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger.

In the first set Tiafoe fired in four aces and saved all break points faced, ultimately taking the set 6-4. Tiafoe then stormed through the second set 6-2 after playing decisive tennis. Tiafoe now faces qualifier Tomas Lipovsek Puches in the second round.

Tiafoe stormed onto the professional tennis scene last year after he reached the semi-finals of the SJ/C Savannah Challenger. Although he lost to eventual finalist James McGee, Tiafoe continued on his momentum and reached the finals of the USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger the following week. With the strong showing on the clay courts, Tiafoe clinched the Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, earning his way into the main draw of Roland Garros. There he became the youngest US-American to participate in the draw since Michael Chang in 1989.

Just last month Tiafoe was awarded a wild card into the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open where he defeated No. 80 Taylor Fritz in his first-round match. He then fell to eventual semi-finalist David Goffin, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(2).

Top-seed Denis Kudla also advanced to the second round, winning 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 over Giovanni Lapentti. The world number 63 from Tampa hit 10 aces and won 82% of his first service points to prevail in two hours and seven minutes. Kudla will take on fellow US-American-wild card Brian Baker next, who defeated Tommy Paul 6-3, 6-1.

It was also announced today that 18-year-old Robert Loeb and 17-year-old Sean Sculley of Hilton Head, South Carolina have been awarded a wild card entry into the doubles main draw at the 2016 SJ/C Savannah Challenger. Loeb and Sculley will face off against the “Lucky-Loser” team of Jose Hernandez-Fernandez and Nicolas Jarry in the first round on Wednesday afternoon.

“The stands should be packed with spectators all rooting on the local juniors as they go head to head with ranked professionals”, said Chris Kader, tournament director of the SJ/C Savannah Challenger.

Tuesday, April 19 – RESULTS

Singles – First round

Quentin Halys, France, d. Q-Peter Polansky, Canada, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4,

Q-Nicolas Jarry, Chile, d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (5), Georgia, 7-6(4), 6-2,

Q-Tomas Lipovsek Puches, Argentina, d. James McGee, Ireland, 7-5, 6-3,

Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland, d. Dennis Novikov, United States, 7-5, 6-1,

Bjorn Fratangelo (6), United States, d. Calvin Hemery, France, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3,

Gerald Melzer (4), Austria, d. Q-Roman Safiullin, Russia, 6-1, 7-5,

Facundo Arguello (7), Argentina, d. LL-Robin Stanek, Czech Republic, 7-6(4), 6-3,

Nicolas Kicker, Argentina, d. Axel Michon, France, 6-3, 7-5,

WC-Tennys Sandgren, United States, d. James Ward, Great Britain, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, WC-Denis Kudla (1), United States, d. Giovanni Lapentti, Ecuador, 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-2, Frances Tiafoe, United States, d. Tim Smyczek (3), United States, 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles – First round

Gerald Melzer, Austria, and Ruan Roelofse, South Africa, d. Dean O’Brien, South Africa, and Donald Young (2), United States, 6-2, 7-5,

Sekou Bangoura, United States, and Darren Walsh (4), Great Britain, d. WC-Mitchell Krueger, United States, and Daniil Medvedev, Russia, 7-6(8), 6-4.