Denis Kudla has had a great weekend. His fans were in the stands on Saturday during a big win over ODU alum Izak Van der Merwe. A blogger could get used to these right-after-the-handshake interviews. They’re quick and insightful.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., November 3, 2012 – The finals are set at this year’s Charlottesville Men’s Pro Challenger at The Boar’s Head Sports Club. No. 8 singles seed Denis Kudla and Alex Kuznetsov each had a long day that ended with mixed results during Saturday’s semifinal action at the USTA Pro Circuit event.
Kuznetsov started the day with a hard-fought 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win over the tournament’s top remaining seed, No. 2 Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Russia. Kudla then took the court against the tournament’s defending singles champ, South African Izak Van der Merwe, and walked away with a 6-4, 7-5 victory after registering the only break point of the second set, which was a very important one that put him up 6-5 en route to the win.
Both Kuznetsov and Kudla were born in Kiev, Ukraine. Oddly enough, the 25-year old Kuznetsov, who resides in Philadelphia and trains in Florida, has never faced Kudla, who is 20 years old and lives in Arlington, Va.
Kuznetsov defeated Samuel Groth, Fritz Wolmarans, Bradley Klahn and Bogomolov to reach the championship match, while Kudla knocked off Daniel Smethurst, Michael Lammer, Somdev Devvarman and Van der Merwe along the way.
After punching their respective tickets to the finals in singles play, both competitors still had unfinished business in the doubles bracket as well.
Kuznetsov teamed up with Germany’s Mischa Zverev against the wild card duo of University of Virginia standout Jarmere Jenkins and fellow American Jack Sock, and Kuznetsov’s dreams of a Sunday sweep were the first to be erased. Jenkins and Sock saved four break points en route to a 7-6(4) first-set win, but Kuznetsov and Zverev won the second set 6-4, setting up a deciding 10-point tiebreak. Jenkins and Sock jumped out to a 7-1 lead and held on for a 10-7 victory to advance to Sunday’s championship match.
In the last match of the day, Kudla and teammate Jesse Levine fell to the second-seeded Australian duo of John Peers and John-Patrick Smith, 6-3, 6-3, in just 51 minutes. Peers and Smith will face Jenkins and Sock in the doubles final on Sunday.
The singles winner will receive 90 points and $10,800 in prize money, while the runner-up gets 55 points and $6,360. The doubles champs will split $4,650, while the second-place finishers will divvy up $2,700.