It’s Quarterfinals Friday at Charlottesville Challenger
Paris it is not, but eight men are vying for smaller hardware this weekend at the Charlottesville, Virginia Men’s Pro Tennis Challenger at the Boar’s Head Resort, home of the University of Virginia tennis program.
I’ve attended this event seven times in the past, but only once for the final weekend of the event. As more than half the playing field had been dismissed prior to my arrival, I found the resort to be less crowded and was surprised to see players hanging around who’d lost their singles and doubles matches, just killing time before Knoxville.
First up this afternoon is 8 seed Peter Polansky against Jelle Sels of the Netherlands. The Canadian is a 2013 finalist at this event and is now 9-3 in Charlottesville main draw matches. This will be a first time match-up between the players.
Favorite “Son” Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of the University of Virginia impressively dismissed 2017 Charlottesville champion Tim Smyczek yesterday and will need another big showing today against 2 seed Michael Mmoh to advance to the semifinals. Mmoh won a two-setter against the tricky Evgeny Karlovsky on Thursday, and he was happy to get out in two sets after the Russian pulled the upset on Thanasi Kokkinakis on Wednesday. Mmoh is now 8-2 in his last ten matches on hard courts and has a 7-3 cumulative record in this event. This is another first time meeting.
Bradley Klahn is assured of being ranked inside the top 100 next week, and how high he’ll go in the rankings depends on where he lands this weekend. The tournament’s top seed, Klahn hasn’t disappointed in the early rounds, and today will be a real test in Bjorn Fratangelo, who is enjoying a resurgence of his form. Fratangelo is 9-1 in his last 10 hard court matches. Fratangelo also owns a 3-1 head to head advantage over Klahn. Expect this one to go three.
The happy hour match will feature the biggest man in the entire American Fall Challenger circuit: Ivo Karlovic. 2015 Charlottesville finalist Tommy Paul will try to size him up today. Paul is a lucky loser who’s ripped off two big wins after failing to qualify, beating Noah Rubin and Kamil Majchrzak in straight sets. Both players are 8-2 in their last 10 hard court matches and something will have to give. In yet another first time meeting between players, I’m going to have to go with Dr. Ivo.