Monday, February 6, 2017

U.S. prospects highlight 100K San Francisco draw

Frances Tiafoe, 19, is seeded first in this week's $100,000
KPSF Open in San Francisco. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Eight U.S. men age 20 or younger are ranked in the top 200 in the world. Five of them are entered in this week's $100,000 KPSF Open at the Bay Club SF Tennis Center in San Francisco.
   Heading the list are No. 83 Taylor Fritz, No. 94 Frances Tiafoe and No. 95 Jared Donaldson. All are scheduled to play their first-round matches on Tuesday.
   Tiafoe and Fritz, both 19, actually are seeded 1-2 because the seedings were made before the new rankings were released. Fritz rose 15 places after reaching the final of last week's $125,000 Dallas Challenger, losing to American Ryan Harrison. Tiafoe improved three spots after advancing to the Dallas quarterfinals.
   Donaldson, 20, is seeded fourth behind Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. Americans Reilly Opelka and Michael Mmoh, both 19, are unseeded at No. 182 and No. 193, respectively.
   Mmoh and the 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Opelka will play 25-year-old Americans today.
   Mmoh will face a player ranked one spot below him, Tennys Sandgren, at about 5 p.m. They have split two professional matches. Their last meeting occurred across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco in Tiburon last September. Mmoh, a qualifier, survived three match points in a 4-6, 7-6 (5), 2-0 victory in the first round of a $100,000 Challenger en route to the final. Sandgren retired with a lower back injury.
Taylor Fritz, 19, is seeded second in the KPSF
Open, but he surpassed Tiafoe in the new
rankings. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Opelka, the 2015 Wimbledon boys champion, will take on Sekou Bangoura, ranked No. 269, after a 7 p.m. doubles match. Bangoura leads the head-to-head series 2-1.
   Not before 7:30 p.m., Mackenzie McDonald, a promising 21-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, will play Belgium's Kimmer Coppejans, the 2012 French Open boys champion.
   In Tuesday's likely featured night singles match, Tiafoe will meet wild card Bradley Klahn, a former NCAA singles champion from nearby Stanford, for the first time.
   Tiafoe qualified for last month's Australian Open and defeated Kukushkin for his first Grand Slam victory before falling to 19-year-old German sensation Alexander Zverev.
   Klahn, a 26-year-old left-hander, returned to the circuit in November after undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back (the first was in 2011) and missing almost two years. Ranked as high as No. 63 in 2014, he has improved from unranked last year to No. 762.
   Fritz will play a qualifier to be determined, and Donaldson will face 28-year-old Australian left-hander John-Patrick Smith, ranked No. 222. Donaldson edged Smith 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2) in the second round of qualifying in Brisbane on the ATP World Tour last month to even their head-to-head series at 2-2.
   Donaldson reached the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier last September, stunning 12th-seeded David Goffin in the first round.
   Also Tuesday, Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the Bay Area will take on No. 5 seed Peter Polansky of Canada.
   Here are the singles qualifying, singles main and doubles main draws and today's schedule.

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