Upsets were in the air on Tuesday at the Newport Beach Tennis Club, as a trio of American men took down their seeded opponents to advance to the third round.
Former USC Trojan Raymond Sarmiento is quietly making a name for himself this week with his second victory in as many days, this time an impressive 7-5, 6-4 upset victory over No. 9 seed Mackenzie McDonald.
“I knew he was going to be really tough from the start,” Sarmiento said of his opponent. “We kind of know each other from college, even though we never played each other, we know each other’s game styles. We play very similar game styles, so it was just about who was able to impose their will at the end.”
In the lower half of the men’s draw, 2018 Houston champion and No. 10 seed Bradley Klahn made quick work of Ernesto Escobedo 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the third round for the third consecutive Challenger Series event. He will next face Sebastian Korda, who upended No. 7 seed and defending Houston champion Marcos Giron in an epic third set tiebreaker earlier this afternoon. Korda, who failed to win above 50 percent of the total match points against Giron, will pose a tough test for Klahn, and is looking like a legitimate dark horse candidate to make a deep run here at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.
Canadian Brayden Schnur picked up right where he left off after making the final last year at Newport Beach, using a potent serve and aggressive attacking combination to beat former UCLA Bruin Maxime Cressy in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. There is no question Schnur has the tools to win the title this week, but his patience and poise will be tested when he meets an all-around solid competitor in Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in the third round. Kwiatkowski pulled off an upset of his this afternoon, dispatching No.11 seed Emilio Gomez thanks in large part to winning an impressive 78 percent of his first serve points (32/41). The Virginia Cavalier will need a similar performance next round if he is to advance to the quarterfinals – where a potential matchup with Frances Tiafoe or Chicago champion Denis Istomin seems inevitable.