|Joris De Loore of Belgium serves during his three-set|
victory over top-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo today in the
$100,000 Stockton Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
The 23-year-old Belgian outlasted No. 1 seed Bjorn Fratangelo of Boca Raton, Fla.,
3-6, 6-3, 7-5 today in the first round of the $100,000 Stockton Challenger at the new Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center at the University of the Pacific.
Also falling were No. 4 Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, No. 7 Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area and
No. 8 Quentin Halys of France.
The finalists in last week's $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, champion Darian King of Barbados and 18-year-old Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, Fla., won easily and could meet in the quarterfinals.
The victory over Fratangelo, ranked No. 112 in the world, was De Loore's third big upset in the past five months. He stunned No. 75 Dusan Lajovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals of the Mestre (Italy) Challenger on outdoor clay in May and No. 79 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in the Davis Cup World Group playoffs on an indoor hardcourt in Ostend, Belgium, last month.
The 6-foot-3 (1.90-meter) De Loore avenged a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Fratangelo, a former French Open junior champion named after Bjorn Borg, in the second round in Tiburon.
Fratangelo, 6 feet (1.83 meters), effectively used drop shots in addition to penetrating groundstrokes. In the end, it wasn't enough.
"Trying to expose his movement was definitely a strategy like it was last week." said Fratangelo, a 23-year-old native of Pittsburgh. "With the court being a bit faster, he was able to get on top of me a bit more. He hit some big balls and big serves, so credit to him for that."
De Loore served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but double-faulted on break point. With Fratangelo served to send the match to a decisive tiebreaker but was broken at 15 when he netted a backhand.
De Loore had his right (serving) shoulder treated in the second set and played with tape around his upper right forearm.
"I have some problems with the arm and shoulder, but I'm going to the physio every day, so I hope in two days it will be fine again," De Loore said after showering and changing into a T-shirt that read "Fear no one, respect all."
When asked if he had an impingement, De Loore said: "I have no idea. That's his job, to find out what it is."
De Loore next will face 2014 Wimbledon junior champion Noah Rubin of Long Island. Rubin, a product of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York, overcame Guilherme Clezar of Brazil 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
De Loore reached No. 4 in the world in the juniors but missed much of 2014 and 2015 with elbow and knee injuries that required surgery.
"It's not over, but I can manage to play, " said De Loore, who has soared from No. 381 at the beginning of the year to No. 187.
Giraldo, who won the 2009 Sacramento Challenger, lost to Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Giraldo has tumbled from a career-high No. 28 in the world in 2014 to No. 127.
Novikov, a 22-year-old former UCLA standout, and Halys, 19, fell to qualifiers. Novikov succumbed to Salvatore Caruso of Italy 6-2, 6-3, and Halys bowed out to Brydan Klein of Great Britain 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Another Bay Area product, Mackenzie McDonald, dispatched wild card Sem Verbeek, a former Pacific star from the Netherlands, 6-2, 6-2. McDonald, 21, turned pro in June after sweeping the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior.