Minor League Monday: The Tennis Circle of Life Rolls On
Querrey stops Kozlov’s dream run
Sam Querrey claimed his second ATP Challenger title of 2014 in Sacramento by defeating 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov, 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s final. Querrey crashed Kozlov’s coming out party, as the boy’s Australian Open and Wimbledon finalist made it all the way to the final in his debut on the ATP Challenger Tour. Starting with his defeat of Ryan Harrison in the opening round, Kozlov was taken to three sets in each of his matches in Sacramento, and rallied from a set down in both the quarterfinals (vs. Rhyne Williams) and semifinals (vs. Tim Smyczek).
“I got great crowd support as the week went on.” Kozlov told the ATP. “I’m taking some time off now. My body is pretty beat up after this week. I got a wild card into Valencia and we’ll see after that.”
Querrey also joked: “I’m also playing Valencia in a few weeks and don’t want to play him first round.”
Mama Kateryna claims trophy in Monterrey
Remember the Bondarenko sisters? Yeah, so do I.
While Alona hasn’t played since 2011 following two knee surgeries, Kateryna returned to professional tennis in April following the birth of her first child. After almost two years away, Bondarenko has had to do things the hard way, having been given no wildcards to WTA events to try and rebuild her ranking. Last week, however, she received a little bit of good fortune and ran with it all the way to the first title of her comeback.
After reaching the semifinals of the $50,000 event in Las Vegas and losing eventual champion Madison Brengle, Bondarenko received a “special exempt” to compete at the $25,000 event in Monterrey. An SE allows for a player, who would otherwise have to play in the qualifying of an event, to be placed in the main draw of that event if she is still competing in another event when the next tournament begins. Bondarenko defeated the No. 8 and No. 7 seeds en route to the final, where she defeated Croatia’s Ana Vrljic.
The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Bondarenko is extending her stay in Mexico this week, as Monterrey hosts its second consecutive ITF tournament; this one offers $50,000 of total prize money.
Belgians go streaking, say goodbye
David Goffin ran his winning streak on the ATP Challenger Tour to 20 matches by claiming the title in Mons last week. The Belgian dropped just one set en route to winning his fourth crown of the year, and first on home soil. Goffin also moves into a tie for the third-longest all-time winning streak on the ATP Challenger Tour; Goffin sits in a tie with Guillermo Coria (2000) and Denis Istomin (2011), behind Takao Suzuki (21, 2001) and Juan Ignacio Chela (24, 2001).
As a result, Goffin cracks the world’s top 30 for the first time; the Belgian moves up four places in the rankings to a career-high No. 27. It’s the latest in a string of triumphs for Goffin, who’s lost just two matches since Wimbledon; he’s also tasted victory at ATP level this year, winning titles in Metz and Kitzbühel.
Also in Mons, Olivier Rochus said goodbye to professional tennis. The final match of his 15-year professional career was a first round loss to Gerald Melzer, better known as the (also) left-handed, younger brother of one Jurgen Melzer.
Per the ATP World Tour, Rochus is the second-shortest (at 5’6″) title-winner in the Open Era and just the sixth player to win the title in his ATP debut. The Belgian claimed his first title in Palermo in 2000.
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