Eight US-Americans Reach Second Round At Tallahassee Challenger

Frances Tiafoe (photo: Tallahassee Challenger)

TALLAHASSEE, April 27, 2016

For the fifth straight year there are eight US-American men in the second round of the $50,000 Tallahassee Tennis Challenger. All eight will be in action on Wednesday at Forestmeadows Tennis Complex.

With a three hour and 12 minute win over Jose Hernandez-Fernandez on Tuesday morning, qualifier Stefan Kozlov sets up a first time meeting with No.2 seed Gerald Melzer.

The 18-year-old American, who peaked at World No.2 in the junior rankings, reached the boys’ final at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2014. He’s making his second appearance in Tallahassee.

25-year-old Melzer, whose older brother Jurgen was a Top 10 player on the ATP Tour, has already won three Challenger titles this year. He’s back in Tallahassee for a third time, having reached the quarterfinals here in 2014.

Former quarterfinalist Mitchell Krueger is through to the second round here for the second straight year. The 22-year-old American, who holds two Futures titles under his belt, sets up a third career pro meeting with fellow countryman Frances Tiafoe.

2015 finalist Tiafoe is back in the second round of the Tallahassee Challenger after avenging last year’s final loss to Facundo Arguello on Tuesday night. He defeated the Argentine 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 12 minutes.

“I only played one loose game – the game where he broke me – and then I got the break right back. Then I started rolling again. I’m happy to get this first-round win. I was really excited to play him again and I’m happy to be on to the second round,” Tiafoe told.

The 18-year-old leads his head-to-head with Krueger 2-0, with their last meeting coming at the 2015 Savannah Challenger.

Top seed Donald Young advanced to the second round at the Tallahassee Challenger for the fifth time in his career with a 6-3 6-4 win over fellow US-American Ernesto Escobedo. The 2011 champion sets up a meeting with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev for a second straight week. Young notched the win at the Savannah Challenger after Medvedev was disqualified mid-match.

Defending doubles champions, Dennis Novikov and Julio Peralta, kick off Wednesday’s night session. The pair has already reached one doubles quarterfinal and one semifinal in 2016. They will meet the Argentinian duo of Facundo Arguello and Tomas Lipovsek Puches, who reached the quarterfinals of the Santiago Challenger earlier this year.

Closing off the night session will be the all-US-American battle between Brian Baker and Noah Rubin.

Wild card Baker returned to tennis earlier this year after a two and a half year hiatus due to a right knee injury. The 30-year-old, who is a former Top 60 player in the world, has won two Challenger titles in his career. He defeated former champion Tim Smyczek in the opening round.

20-year-old Rubin, who won the USTA Pro Circuit Australian Open Wild Card Challenge at the beginning of the year, has one Challenger title under his belt. Rubin ousted another American wild card in his first round, defeating Eric Quigley in straight sets. This will be the pair’s first meeting.

The Florida State University number one doubles team of Benjamin Lock and Marco Nunez scored their first-ever win at the Tallahassee Challenger, defeating Alejandro Falla and Luis David Martinez 7-6(5) 2-6 10-7 Tuesday night. They are the first FSU team to advance with a win since Jean-Yves Aubone and Vahid Mirzadeh won their first-round match in 2013.

US-American Bjorn Fratangelo, who lost in the opening round of play Tuesday at the Tallahassee Challenger, will make his French Open main-draw debut after earning a wild card into the French Open. Fratangelo, who won the 2011 French Open junior singles title, won the 2016 USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge after Jared Donaldson, the only player who could surpass him in the challenge standings, lost his first-round match in Tallahassee as well.

RESULTS – Tuesday, April 26

Singles First Round

[1] Donald Young (USA) d. Ernesto Escobedo (USA) 6-3 6-4

[WC] Brian Baker (USA) d. [3] Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-4 7-5

Quentin Halys (France) d. [4] Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 7-6(1) 6-2

[5] Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) d. [Q] Emilio Gomez (Ecuador) 6-4 7-5

Frances Tiafoe (USA) d. [6] Facundo Arguello (Argentina) 6-3 6-3

Calvin Hemery (France) d. [7] Jared Donaldson (USA) 6-4 6-3

Mitchell Krueger (USA) d. Alejandro Falla (Colombia) 4-6 6-2 6-2

Ryan Harrison (USA) d. Henri Laaksonen (Switzerland) 6-3 7-6(2)

[Q] Sekou Bangoura (USA) d. [WC] Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-2 6-4

[Q] Stefan Kozlov (USA) d. Jose Hernandez-Fernandez 6-7(4) 7-6(4) 6-4

[Q] James McGee (Ireland) d. Nicolas Jarry (Chile) 5-7 7-5 6-3

Doubles First Round

[3] Purav Raja (India) / Divij Sharan (India) d. Sekou Bangoura (USA) / Jose Statham (New Zealand) 6-4 7-6(4)

[4] Philip Bester (Canada) / Peter Polansky (Canada) d. Mitchell Krueger (USA) / Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-3 6-2

[WC] Benjamin Lock (Zimbabwe) / Marco Aurelio Nunez (Mexico) d. Alejandro Falla

(Colombia) / Luis David Martinez (Venezuela)

Nicolas Jarry (Chile) / Giovanni Lapentti (Ecuador) d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) / Jose Hernandez-Fernandez (Dominican Republic) walkover