SANDGREN COMES BACK, SURVIVES SCARE IN ANOTHER MAIN DRAW MATCH AT STOCKTON MEN'S CHALLENGER


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SANDGREN COMES BACK, SURVIVES SCARE IN ANOTHER MAIN DRAW MATCH AT STOCKTON MEN'S CHALLENGER

Stockton, Calif. – For the second day in a row, No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren scraped his way to victory in the main draw of the second $100,000 Stockton Men's Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit event, Wednesday afternoon at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center on the University of the Pacific campus.

Sandgren, ranked 96th in the world, held off Liam Broady of Great Britain, 7-6 (9), 6-4 -- a day after beating Australia's Christopher O'Connell 7-5, 7-5 in the first round. Sandgren was in trouble in the first set tiebreaker against the left-handed Broady, trailing 5-1.

But Sandgren, ranked 96th in the world, rallied to even the tiebreaker at 5-5, punctuating the comeback with an ace. Two points later, Broady jumped ahead 7-6, but the score was even 7-7 after Broady hit out of bounds. Sandgren captured the next two points on two unforced errors to win the tiebreaker 9-7.

Play in the second set was just as fierce, as Broady had a 3-2 lead before Sandgren caught up to tie 3-3. Sandgren hung tough in the ensuing rallies and took advantage of his opponent's unforced errors to win.

"We were going back and forth a lot, and (Broady) played some great points," Sandgren said.

"I felt like I was trying to hold on half of the time. At the end of the day, Thankfully I was a little more solid, but he also played well and came forward and made some great volleys. In the end it all worked out in my favor ...

but the whole way through I wasn't what to do tactically, whether I should be more aggressive or passive."

Sandgren will be back in action Friday against eighth seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, who defeated countryman Brydan Klein in a hotly contested match, 4-6, 7-6 (9), 6-4.

"He played very well in the first set, he had a bunch of winners," said Norrie of Klein. "(In the second set), I was waiting for my chance to play better. ... It was a close match, but I think it was the hardest match that I've played the past two weeks.

All credit to him, he played well but I was lucky to get the win."

Norrie, ranked 136th in the world, has had a spectacular 2017. He's won two USTA Pro Circuit events in Binghamton, N.Y., and most recently Tiburon last week, in which he bested Sandgren in the singles championship match 6-2, 6-3.

Norrie, a former TCU standout and the top college singles player, turned pro in May and also played in the main draws of three ATP World Tour grass-court events -- Queen's Club, Eastbourne and Wimbledon -- as well as the main draw of the U.S.

Open in New York last month.

"I've had a great summer and enjoying my time on the hard courts," Norrie said. "I'm trying to get better every day, and the points and the rankings are going up.

That's always a good thing but I'm going to take it match by match and day by day."

In other second-round main draw singles matches, fourth seed Stefan Kozlov of the United States defeated countryman and wild card Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-4; and sixth seed Darian King of Barbados rallied back to oust 2016 Stockton finalist Noah Rubin 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

"It's pretty big, also I had to defend a tournament last week (in Tiburon, in which he lost in the first round to former UCLA All-American Mackenzie McDonald), and I know how much pressure there is," King said of his victory over Rubin.

"Unlucky for Noah that he got me in the second round, but that's the luck of the draw. Every match is tough, but fortunately for me I picked it up after being a set down."

In doubles, the top-seeded team of Great Britain's Neal Skupski and John-Patrick Smith came back to beat King and American Sekou Bangoura 5-7, 6-3, 10-2.

Kudla and Mikelis Libietis beat Sandgren and Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-3; and Kozlov and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark were 6-3, 6-2 winners over Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Brayden Schnur. Also, McDonald and partner Mitchell Krueger defeated Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans and Canada's Frank Dancevic 6-4, 6-0; and in the final match of the day, American wild cards Deiton Baughman and Alexios Halebian upset third seeds Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and David O'Hare of Ireland 7-6 (7), 7-5 as the sun slowly set.

The main draw continues at 10 a.m. today at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center. Featured players in action include two matches pitting Americans against each other -- third seed Michael Mmoh against McDonald; and Smyczek against Christian Harrison.

Former world No. 20 Dmitry Tursunov of Russia also plays against Smith; and Sweden's Elias Ymer, who shocked top seed Bemelmans on Tuesday, plays Dancevic.

Tickets are available at the door or at evezimmermantenniscenter.com .
For more information on the tournament, visit evezimmermantenniscenter.com , ustaprocircuit.com and atpworldtour.com .

Tony Acosta
Press aide
(209) 430-4246

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$100,000 Stockton Men's Challenger
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center
Stockton, Calif.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Outdoor
Singles -- Main draw STOCKTONMENSATP #USTAProCircuit STOCKTONATPCHALLENGER (4) Stefan Kozlov, United States, d.

WC-Denis Kudla, United States, 6-4, 6-4.
(2) Tennys Sandgren, United States, d. Liam Broady, Great Britain, 7-6 (7), 6-4
(6) Darian King, Barbados, d. Noah Rubin, United States, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.
(8) Cameron Norrie, Great Britain, d.

Brydan Klein, Great Britain, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4

Doubles-Main draw
Mitchell Krueger-Mackenzie McDonald, United States, d. Rubin Bemelmans/PR-Frank Dancevic, Canada, 6-4, 6-0. Stefan Kozlov-Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, d.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, Canada-Brayden Schnur, Canada, 6-3, 6-2. Neal Skupski, Great Britain/John-Patrick Smith d. Sekou Bangoura, United States-Darian King 5-7, 6-3, 10-2 Q-Denis Kudla-Mikelis Libietis, Latvia, d. Tennys Sandgren-Tim Smyczek, United States, 6-4, 6-3
WC-Deiton Baughman-Alexios Halebian, United States, d.

Luke Bambridge, Great Britain, and David O'Hare, Ireland, 7-6 (7), 7-5. .