|Darian King of Barbados poses inside the Natomas|
Racquet Club shortly after upsetting No. 2 seed
Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in the $100,000
Sacramento Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
Consider Kyle Edmund and Dennis Novikov.
Edmund, a 20-year-old Englishman, won the $50,000 Binghamton (N.Y.) Challenger in July, reached the semifinals of the $100,000 Aptos Challenger in August and advanced to the last round of qualifying for the U.S. Open later in August.
Novikov, 21, of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area, won $50,000 Challengers in Cary, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio, in consecutive weeks last month.
But Edmund and Novikov lost in the first round of a $100,000 Challenger on Monday for the second straight week.
Edmund, seeded second, fell to Darian King of Barbados 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 at the Natomas Racquet Club. Novikov, seeded sixth, bowed out to wild card Sekou Bangoura of Tampa, Fla., 6-2, 7-6 (3).
It was the second time in two weeks that Bangoura knocked off a seed in the first round. The 23-year-old Florida native, whose father is from Guinea in West Africa, stunned fourth-seeded Dustin Brown in Tiburon last week before losing to 20-year-old wild card Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont 7-6 in the third set in the second round. Both Tiburon and Piedmont are in the Bay Area.
Brown, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) German with a Jamaican father, shocked two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon this year.
King, ranked No. 261, broke Edmund, ranked No. 102, to lead 5-4 in the third set and served out the match.
"I did a lot better than I did last week, that's for sure," said Edmund, who lost to countryman Brydan Klein 6-4, 6-1 in Tiburon. "I found myself in the match and had a chance to win it. I'm disappointed to lose, but I'm not going to dwell on it too long. I'm just going to move on."
King avenged a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Edmund in their only previous meeting. It came on clay in the semifinals of a Futures tournament in Sunrise, Fla., last year in January. Monday's match looked like more of the same entering the second set.
"Kyle was playing well," said King, 23. "There's nothing really I could have done in the first set, but in the second set, I 'weathered the storm,' as we say in Barbados. "The guy is solid on both sides, so I just had to keep moving and wait for my opportunities.
"I was serving well today. That's something I've been working on a lot. ... It was tough for me to close out the match because when you lost to someone before and now you have an opportunity to win, the pressure grows, and I think I handled that pretty well."
The second seeds also lost in the first round of doubles. U.S. wild cards Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka edged Dean O'Brien and Ruan Roelofse of South Africa 0-6, 6-3 [10-6]. The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Fritz and the 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Opelka are the first- and fifth-ranked juniors in the world, respectively.
Another top U.S. prospect, 17-year-old Frances Tiafoe, is scheduled to play countryman and fourth-seeded Tim Smyczek, the Tiburon champion, today in the first round of singles not before 11:30 a.m.
Following that match, top-seeded Denis Kudla, the Tiburon runner-up from the United States, will face 18-year-old Frenchman Quentin Halys, a Tiburon semifinalist and last year's U.S. Open boys runner-up.
Brown will play Slovenia's Grega Zemlja, a former top-50 player, not before 4 p.m.
$100,000 SACRAMENTO PRO CIRCUIT CHALLENGER
At Natomas Racquet Club
Final-round singles qualifyingTommy Paul (6), United States, def. Dimitar Kutrovsky (3), Bulgaria, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Nicolas Meister (5), United States, def. Henri Laaksonen (4), Switzerland, 6-3, 6-4.
Marcos Giron (8), United States, def. Adrien Bossel (1), Switzerland,3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Frederik Nielsen (2), Denmark, def. Eric Johnson, United States, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Darian King, Barbados, def. Kyle Edmund (2), Great Britain, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Sekou Bangoura, United States, def. Dennis Novikov (6), United States, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Daniel Brands, Germany, def. Brydan Klein, Great Britain, 6-4, 7-6 (7).
Blaz Rola (5), Slovenia, def. Jason Jung, Taiwan, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4.
Final-round doubles qualifying
Evan King, United States, and Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria, def. Andre Dome, United States, and Ben McLachlan, New Zealand, 5-7, 6-4 [10-4].
Blaz Kavcic and Grega Zemlja, Slovenia, def. Quentin Halys, France, and Frances Tiafoe, United States, 6-0, 5-7 [12-10].
Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka, United States, def. Dean O'Brien and Ruan Roelofse (2), South Africa, 0-6, 6-3 [10-6].
Marcos Giron and Tommy Paul, United States, def. Mitchell Krueger and Connor Smith, United States, 6-3, 6-4.
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
Jared Donaldson (8), United States, vs. Mitchell Krueger, United States.
(Not before 11:30 a.m.)
Tim Smyczek (4), United States, vs. Frances Tiafoe, United States.
Denis Kudla (1), United States, vs. Quentin Halys, France.
(Not before 4 p.m.)
Dustin Brown (3), Germany, vs. Grega Zemlja, Slovenia.
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
Alex Kuznetsov, United States, vs. Tommy Paul, United States.
James McGee, Ireland, vs. Matt Reid, Australia.
Peter Polansky, Canada, vs. Mackenzie McDonald, Piedmont.
Tennys Sandgren, United States, vs. Alexander Sarkissian, United States.
Dennis Novikov, Milpitas, and Julio Peralta (3), Chile, vs. Sekou Bangoura, United States, and Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic.
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
Blaz Kavcic (8), Slovenia, vs. Philip Bester, Canada.
Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, vs. Marcos Giron, United States.
Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, vs. Nicolas Meister, United States.
Taylor Fritz, United States, vs. Connor Smith, United States.