Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Almost an Aggie once, Krueger upsets seed in Tiburon

Mitchell Krueger beat fellow American Jared Donaldson
6-3, 7-6 (3) today to reach the quarterfinals of the $100,000
Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   TIBURON, Calif. -- Mitchell Krueger was all set to attend Texas A&M.
   Krueger, from Aledo, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, had grown up with many of the Aggies. Also, his father, Myron, played at Texas A&M, and his sister, Mandi, was studying business as a senior there.
   So Mitchell signed a letter of intent with the Aggies in November 2011. But the following year, Krueger reached the boys semifinals at the French Open and Wimbledon.
   Goodbye, Texas A&M.
   "I was a pretty good junior in the world and able to get some sponsors like Nike and my racket company (Tecnifibre)," Krueger explained after upsetting eighth-seeded Jared Donaldson 6-3, 7-6 (3) today in the second round of the $100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger. "The USTA has a coach (Stanford Boster) I've been fortunate to have for the last three years. From my perspective, the window for being a professional tennis player isn't that big, and you can always go back to school."
   Donaldson, an 18-year-old pro, saved three match points serving at 5-6 in the second set of a hard-hitting battle against Krueger, 21, at the Tiburon Peninsula Club. 
   Krueger will face another 18-year-old, Quentin Halys of France, in Friday's quarterfinals. Halys, last year's U.S. Open boys runner-up, defeated Brydan Klein of Great Britain 7-6 (2), 6-2. Klein had ousted No. 2 seed and countryman Kyle Edmund in the first round.
   Halys overcame a nasty fall on a damp section of the court near the back fence early in the match. Rain had delayed the start of play by 3 1/2 hours.
   Krueger has improved from No. 361 in the world at the beginning of the year to No. 240. He has reached one semifinal (Lexington, Ky.) and four other quarterfinals on the Challenger circuit in 2015.
Donaldson saved three match points before falling
to Krueger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Donaldson has punishing, flat groundstrokes, especially on the forehand side, but Krueger managed to keep the ball in play long enough to induce errors.  
   Krueger led 2-0 and 3-1 in the first set against Donaldson and maintained his momentum to win the set. He lost his serve in the first game of the second set after leading 40-15 but broke back for 3-3. Both players held serve from there -- although Donaldson almost faltered at 5-6 -- to force a tiebreaker.
   After Donaldson scored a minibreak for 2-2, Krueger won five of the next six points for the match as Donaldson struggled with his first serve and backhand.
   Donaldson mocked Krueger during their first career meeting for allegedly getting too excited after winning big points, and Krueger mocked Donaldson right back. Krueger, though, shrugged off the friction afterward.
   "That's just two competitive guys trying to win the match," he said. "We're friends off the court. There's no bad blood or anything."
   Krueger, meanwhile, is happy with his decision to turn pro out of high school.
   "I'm really happy," he said. "I've been doing well. It takes a while to get yourself going, but I've made improvements every year. I just have to keep improving."     
   Notes -- For the second straight match, top-seeded Denis Kudla rallied to win after dropping the first set. The 23-year-old resident of Arlington, Va., and Tampa, Fla., defeated qualifier Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Kudla, the only American man to reach the second week at Wimbledon this year, came within two points of losing to American Connor Smith in the first round. ...
   Wild cards Deiton Baughman, 19, of Carson and Mackenzie McDonald, 20, of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area shocked second-seeded Dean O'Brien and Ruan Roelofse of South Africa 4-6, 6-3 [10-4] in the first round of doubles. ...
   The rain forced four doubles matches to be postponed until Thursday. All four scheduled matches in singles and two in doubles were completed.
$100,000 WELLS FARGO TIBURON CHALLENGER
At Tiburon Peninsula Club
Second-round singles
   Blaz Rola (7), Slovenia, def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-1.
   Denis Kudla (1), United States, def. Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Quentin Halys, France, def. Brydan Klein, Great Britain, 7-6 (2), 6-2. 
   Mitchell Krueger, United States, def. Jared Donaldson (8), United States, 6-3, 7-6 (3). 
First-round doubles
   Johan Brunstrom, Sweden, and Frederik Nielsen (1), Denmark, def. Ariel Behar, Uruguay, and Ruben Gonzales, Philippines, 6-2, 6-2.
   Deiton Baughman, United States, and Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont, def. Dean O'Brien and Ruan Roelofse (2), South Africa, 4-6, 6-3 [10-4]. 
Thursday's schedule
Center Court
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Ryan Harrison, United States, vs. Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic.
   Bjorn Fratangelo (6), United States, vs. Alex Kuznetsov, United States. 
(Not before 3 p.m.)
   Tim Smyczek (3), United States, vs. Dennis Nevolo, United States. 
(Not before 4:30 p.m.)
   Johan Brunstom, Sweden, and Frederik Nielsen (1), Denmark, vs. Adrien Bossel, Switzerland, and Quentin Halys, France, or Brydan Klein, Great Britain, and Jose Statham, New Zealand.
Court 1
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Sekou Bangoura, United States, vs. Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont.
(Not before noon)
   Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta, Chile, vs. Chase Buchanan, United States, and Blaz Rola, Slovenia.
   Philip Bester and Peter Polansky, Canada, vs. Mitchell Krueger and Connor Smith, United States.
   Carsten Ball and Matt Reid (4), Australia, vs. Sekou Bangoura, United States, and Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic.
Court 4
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Adrien Bossel, Switzerland, and Quentin Halys, France, vs. Brydan Klein, Great Britain, and Jose Statham, New Zealand.
(Not before noon)
   Dustin Brown, Germany, and Denis Kudla, United States, vs. Andre Goransson, Cal/Sweden, and Florian Lakat, Cal/France
(Not before 3:30 p.m.)
   Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta, Chile, or Chase Buchanan, United States, and Blaz Rola, Slovenia, vs. Dustin Brown, Germany, and Denis Kudla, United States, or Andre Goransson, Cal/Sweden, and Florian Lakat, Cal/France. 

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