Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bay Area's Novikov wins Wimbledon main-draw debut

Dennis Novikov beat fellow qualifier Luke Saville,
a former Wimbledon junior singles champion,
today in the first round at the All England Club.
2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Dennis Novikov took another step in his promising career today.
   The resident of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area won his Wimbledon main-draw debut, beating Luke Saville of Australia 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in a matchup of 22-year-old qualifiers.
   Saville won the Wimbledon boys singles title in 2011.
   "First Main draw match at Wimbledon was a success. Onto round 2!" Novikov tweeted.
   Novikov reached the second round of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time. He shocked then-No. 86 Jerzy Janowicz, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Pole, as a wild card in the 2012 U.S. Open before losing to Julien Benneteau of France. Janowicz advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals the following year.
   Novikov, 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters) and 200 pounds (90.9 kilograms), is ranked No. 145 in the world.
   "I think he can be top 50 or higher still needs to improve movement as priority #1 through 5," ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert -- a resident of San Rafael in the Bay Area and the former coach of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray -- tweeted before today's match.
   Novikov is scheduled to face Portugal's Joao Sousa, seeded and ranked No. 31, for the first time in the second round on Thursday. The winner could meet No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria in the third round.
   Sousa, 27, held off Dmitry Tursunov, a 33-year-old Russian who trains in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, 3-6, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in 3 hours, 13 minutes.
   It was the first Wimbledon main-draw victory in three attempts for Sousa, who had lost to Stan Wawrinka in straight sets in each of the past two years.
   The injury-plagued Tursunov was playing in his first tournament since losing in straight sets to No. 14 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the opening round of the French Open in late May.  
   Tursunov lost in the first round at Wimbledon for the fourth consecutive year and sixth time in the last seven years. He reached the fourth round at the All England Club in 2005 and 2006 for his best singles results in a Grand Slam tournament.
   Ranked a career-high No. 20 in 2006, Tursunov has tumbled to No. 453.

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