Americans March Into Semifinals in Newport Beach
American men continued their strong showing at the Oracle Challenger Series as Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Bradley Klahn won quarterfinal matches at the Newport Beach Tennis Club to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
Third-seeded Taylor Fritz, a former US Open junior champion, took on unseeded American Noah Rubin, a former Wimbledon junior champion. In their most recent head-to-head meeting, Rubin defeated Fritz in the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in New Caledonia earlier this month.
“Since it was the finals, it hurt a lot to lose. I was looking for a title. The conditions were really slow, which favored him because it’s a lot tougher to put the ball away,” Fritz said. “It was windy so it was tough to feel the ball and get my timing. I have to give credit to him, he played a spectacular match.”
Going into his quarterfinal match Fritz admitted their last match was on his mind and he was happy to have another opportunity to take the court against Rubin.
“This was definitely a revenge match. I was really excited for it. Even if he wasn’t the easiest draw to have in the quarters, I wanted it, because I really wanted to play him. I really wanted to redeem myself from the last match.”
Fritz controlled the tempo of Friday’s quarterfinal match as he defeated Rubin 6-3, 6-2 in 70 minutes. “The conditions were definitely faster (today), which helped me and I played much better,” Fritz said. “I just played a whole level better than the last match we had.”
In the semifinals, Fritz will go up against his good friend Opelka, who eliminated unseeded Matthias Bachinger of Germany 7-5, 6-4 in one-hour and 19 minutes.
Klahn, the 27-year-old from Poway, Calif., who now trains in Los Angeles, dispatched Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 7-6 (7), 6-1 in one-hour and 20 minutes to move into the semifinals. Klahn, a former NCAA singles champion at Stanford University, will play qualifier Christian Garin of Chile in the semifinals.
In a women’s singles quarterfinal match, American Danielle Collins, a former two-time NCAA singles champion at the University of Virginia, held off a late rally by Su Jeong Jang of Korea to win 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 in two-hours and 12 minutes.
After splitting the first two sets, Collins took control of the third set, winning five of the first six games to take a 5-1 lead. Jang rallied and won three games in a row to close to 5-4, but Collins, with the crowd cheering her on, opened the tenth game with an ace and went on to serve out the match. She will meet seventh-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in the semifinals.
The women’s doubles final, which will pit American Jamie Loeb and Rebecca Peterson of Sweden against Japan’s Misaki Doi and Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
In the men’s doubles final, which will follow the women’s doubles final, second-seeded Leander Paes of India and American James Cerretani will take on unseeded Treat Huey of the Philippines and Denis Kudla of the United States for the championship.