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Tiburon Challenger

A Men's Pro Circuit Tennis Event

Address: 1600 Mar West Street
Tiburon, CA 94920
Phone: 415-789-7900

$100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger

Saturday, September 23, to Sunday, October 1, 2017


DAY NINE
Finals Sunday

Tiburon Challenger Singles Champion Cameron Norrie with ball kids and on-court volunteers. (Photo: Cornelia Grimes)

Brendan's Notes, Sunday, October 1
Finals Sunday at the Tiburon Challenger shaped up to be one to remember and did not disappoint. The day was kicked off with
the very talented Sofia Perozzi, TPC junior member and also a high-level tennis player, singing the National Anthem, with ballkids and  members of the Tiburon Police Department present. A solid crowd had gathered, already gearing up for the day’s events, and after a huge round of applause and cheering the stage was set for the doubles final match.

Doubles finalists (l. to r.) Marcelo Arevalo, Miguel Reyes-Varela, Florian Lakat and Andre Goransson with ball kids (Photo: Cornelia Grimes)

Doubles Finals
The tournament wild card team of Andre Goransson and Florian Lakat were up against the #1 seeded team of Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Reyes-Varela. Marcelo and Miguel were on a three-Challenger winning streak going into this final, looking to make it four in a row, while Andre and Florian were on a tear, taking out the #4 and #2 seeded teams on their way to the Championship match.

 
The wild cards came out of the gates hot, going up a break 3-1. Long points, amazing reflexes and an incredible  display of both offense and defensive tennis was the order of the day. Andre and Florian took the first set 6-4. Their energy remained high, and they were in perfect unison all match, taking their first ATP Challenger Tour title 6-4 6-4. A well-deserved victory for Andre and Florian and hats off to Marcelo and Miguel also for their graciousness in defeat.

Wheelchair Tennis
USTA tournament wheelchair players David Van Brundt and Michael Youssefi were next up on stadium court, showing a packed crowd how they perform in their sports chairs. An impressive display of athleticism from these two guys was thoroughly entertaining for the crowd, and we hope that they receive the support they deserve moving forward.

 
Next up, Tiburon Peninsula Club junior players put on display how the USTA junior pathway at TPC has benefitted our youth. These youngsters have been through the Red, Orange and Green Ball progressions and are testament to the effectiveness of the program.

Michael Youssefi (right) is ranked #6 in A Division Wheelchair Tennis, and his opponent, David Van Brunt is #7. They played a 10-point tiebreaker in exhibition of wheelchair tennis. "The only difference in Wheelchair Tennis is you're allowed a second bounce, and the wheelchair is your body," said Brendan Curry, who officiated.

Singles Finals
The time had come for the main draw singles finals between #8 seed Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie  and #2 seed American Tennys Sangren. They had both battled courageously to make it through to the championship match, and we could not have asked for more perfect conditions for the 2017 Tiburon Challenger Singles Final.
Packed house, beautiful warm weather with no wind to speak of  as these two world class athletes went at it.
 
True to Norrie’s style, he kept giving Sandgren different looks, mixing up the spin and keeping his error rate to a minimum. Cameron took an early lead and looked in control all match long. His lefty forehand keeping Sandgren on the move, combined with his ability to flatten out his two-handed backhand was plenty of ammo to see Cameron through to take the championship match 6-2 6-3.Congratulations to both players on a successful event. 

Angela Chang accepts a check from the Tiburon Challenger on behalf of the Foundation for Reed Schools. The Challenger also made generous donations to the USTA NorCal Foundation and the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere for its education programs. (Photo: Cornelia Grimes)

And that wrapped up the 2017 Tiburon Challenger. This was the best Challenger to date, with record crowds and unprecedented commitment from the tournament's group of core volunteers, from ball persons to barmen, from housing officials and players, to serving them breakfast and lunch, organizing volunteers and hospitality throughout the tournament, the level of service was incredible.
 
A huge thank you to all who helped make this the USTA Pro Circuit's Challenger event of the year.

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Day Eight

Brendan's Notes, Saturday, September 30

First up at 11 a.m. was the second semifinals doubles match between David O’Hare and Luke Bambridge vs. tournament wildcards Florian Lakat and Andre Goransson. The weather was perfect and record crowds packed the stadium like we’ve never seen before in Tiburon. Lakat and Goransson came out of the gates strong, serving huge and staying aggressive and committed at the net. O’Hare and Bambridge had their chances, but they squandered upwards of 12 break points throughout the match. Hats off to the Cal Berkeley team, who deservedly booked their spot in the finals with a straight set victory over the number-two seeded team, 6-3 7-5. They will face number- one seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Reyes-Arevalo in tomorrow doubles final.
 
Prajnesh Gunneswaran was up next, taking on number-eight seed, Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie. A battle of the lefties gave the crowds a lot to cheer for, with Gunneswaran serving big and doing his best to dominate the court with his forehand, It was Norrie’s day, however, and he create too many problems for his opponent with his placement and consistency. Norrie goes into the finals.

The feature match of the day, with local favorite Mackenzie McDonald taking on Tennys Sandgren, number-two seed, was teed up to be a thriller and did not disappoint. Bruising groundstroke rallies and an extremely physical first set drew even at 6 a piece. A closer tie breaker than the scoreline reflects at 7-4 saw Sandgren take the upper hand.

The crowd was firmly behind Mackie, cheering him on and leaping to their feet at almost every point. The second set also came down to a tiebreak, with Mackie taking an early lead, 3-0, much to the delight of the hundreds of supporters watching. No disrespect to Tennys Sandgren though, as he rattled off seven straight points to win the match 7-7 7-6. Sandgren goes into the finals.
 
If today and all the days leading up to the finals are anything to go by, tomorrow is set to be  a finale of epic proportions. I cannot wait for the action to kick off at 12 noon.

Photos: Laura Hunter

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Day Seven

Brendan's Notes, Friday, September 29

Matches started at 11 a.m. with Mackenzie McDonald (USA) taking on an in- form Alejandro Gonzalez (COL). It was a relatively smooth start to the match, with Mackenzie taking the opening set 6-2. Gonzalez rallied and reduced his error count dramatically to take the second, but it was Mackie’s day, as he went on a tear, taking third set 6-2, booking his spot in the semis.
 
Next up on stadium court was Frank Dancevic (CAN), taking on big-hitting lefty Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND). Dancevic won the first, mixing up the pace, spin and depth of his shots to great effect. Gunneswaran proceeded to find good form, cranking up his serve to well over the 130 mph mark and delivering a serious bout of blistering forehands to take the next two sets 6-4 6-4, booking his spot in the semis.
 
Number-four seed Michael Mmoh (USA) was up next against Cameron Norrie from Great Britain. Norrie, who recently turned pro, played his usual crafty style of play, keeping Mmoh off balance and not making many errors. He mixed up the speed and placement of his shots very well, utilizing the entire court, and he proved too much for Mmoh, taking the match in straight sets 7-5 6-2. He also moves into the semifinals.
 
The final singles match of the day saw two Americans face off on stadium court. Wildcard Christian Harrison took on number-two seed Tennys Sandgren in what turned out to be a somewhat one-sided affair. Christian had a great tournament, but ran into an in-form Sandgren, who dispatched of him handily 6-1 6-2.
 
In the second doubles semifinals, number-one seeds Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) and Miguel Reyes-Varela (MEX) beat Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) and Roberto Quiroz (ECU)  6-3 6-4 in an strong showing on court 1. Reyes-Varela’s amazing touch shots and high percentage first serves, combined with Arevalo covering the net like a blanket ,was plenty to take them through to this year’s doubles finals, where they’ll take on the winner between [2] Luke Bambridge (GBR) and David O'Hare (IRL) and tournament wildcard team Andre Goransson (SWE) and Florian Lakat (FRA).
 
We’re all set for tomorrow’s singles semifinals, and it’s sure to be another incredible day of tennis. Also on display will be the second doubles semifinal betweenBambridge and O'Hare and tournament wildcard team Goransson and Lakat.

Photo of Prajnesh Gunneswaran by Cornelia Grimes

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Day Six

Brendan's Notes, Thursday, September 28

Yet another fantastic day of tennis at the Tiburon Challenger saw [2] Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeat Brayden Schnur (CAN) 61 76(5), but the day didn’t end quite as well for number-three seed Quentin Halys (FRA). Quentin was up against Columbian Alejandro Gonzalez, who has been well inside the top 100 in the world before and is playing this tournament on his protected ranking. His steady groundstroke game was too much for Halys, and Gonzalez took the match in three sets. Stars also aligned for Gonzalez, as he and his partner Roberto Quirz beat third seeds  Brydan Klein (GBR) and Joe Salisbury (GBR) 63 46 10-3.
 
Local favorite Makenzie McDonald (USA) came out of the gates a little slow, going down an early break 1-3, but he rallied to push the first set to a tiebreaker against his doubles partner and 2015 finalist Denis Kudla (USA). Kudla saved two set points in a row at 4-6, but McDonald finished off the set 8-6 in the breaker and the match in two sets. Final score 7-6 (5) 6-2.

USTA wildcard Christian Harrison (USA) beat lucky loser Jan Choinski (GER) 64 76(5) advancing to the final eight.
 
In doubles, [1] Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) and Miguel Reyes-Varela (MEX) defeated [PR] Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) / Frank Dancevic (CAN) 76(5) 64 to move into the semifinals, where they’ll meet Gonzalez and Quiroz. [2] Luke Bambridge (GBR) and David O'Hare (IRL) d [Q] Tom Fawcett (USA) / Edan Leshem (ISR) 64 64, taking them through to the semis, where they’ll meet tournament wildcard team Goransson and Lakat.
 
Upset of the Day: Tournament wildcard Goransson/Lakat beat number-four seed  Libietis/Siljestrom 6-4 6-3 in an amazing evening match in front of a packed house. They meet number-two seeds Bambridge/O’Hare in the semis.

Photo of Christian Harrison by Cornelia Grimes

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Day Five

Brendan's Notes, Wednesday, September 27

Temperatures soared once again at the Tiburon Challenger, reaching well into the 90s on a day with an amazing line up of matches, kicking off at 11 a.m.

Highlight singles match of the day had Michael Mmoh saving match point in the third-set tiebreaker against German Tobias Kamke. Kamke is no stranger to Tiburon, taking the singles title in 2010, and after breaking Mmoh as he served for the match at 5-4 in the final set, it was looking like he could pull off the win. However, Mmoh was able to keep his composure and delivered two massive serves to take the match 9-7 in the third set tiebreaker.

It was an all-doubles afternoon, which did not disappoint, with match points being saved by the number-one seeds to keep their title hopes alive. Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) partnering with Miguel Reyes-Varela (MEX) won their thirteen straight match, after being down 7-9 in the match tiebreaker against Darian King (BAR) and Cameron Norrie (GBR). Number 4 seeds Mikelis Libietis (LAT) and Andreas  Siljestrom (SWE) went the distance against South African Ruan Roelofse and American Mitchell Krueger, with Libietis/Siljestrom taking it 10-8 in the third set tiebreaker.

Once again we experienced record crowds with spectators unable to pull themselves away from the action. The final match of the day kept everyone glued to their seats with yet another match tiebreaker decision. Mmoh and Deiton Baughman (USA) won the first set 6-1 and lost the second 6-7 to Frank Dancevic (CAN) and Ruben Bemelmans (BEL). The match tiebreaker saw both teams having chances, but some strong and creative volleying from Dancevic combined with Bemelmans's lefty ground strokes got them across the finish line and into the next round, winning the match breaker 10-7.

Tomorrow will no doubt be yet another day of unbelievable tennis, with one of the highlight matchups being the Denis Kudla (USA) vs Mackenzie MacDonald (USA) draw. See you at the Tiburon Challenger.

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Day Four

Brendan's Notes, Tuesday, September 26

Record crowds continue to flow into the Tiburon Challenger to catch the incredible tennis on show. Tuesday's schedule was packed with 13 singles matches on the cards and no shortage of action and upsets.

Number-one seed Ruben Bemelmans was sent packing by tournament wildcard Tom Fawcett. Fawcett took great advantage of his opportunity playing steady tennis and serving well, winning the match 3-6 6-3 6-3

Kings were toppled, with Mackenzie McDonald taking out last year's champion Darian King 7-5 6-3 ,and India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran dispatching American Evan King 6-2 6-4.

We had a duplicate of the 2015 final, with Denis Kudla facing off with Tim Smyczek once again it was a tough three setter, with Kudla getting even on the Tiburon head-to-head match-up, winning 6-7 (5) 7-5 6-3.

American qualifier Deiton Baughman did well, beating Canadian up-and-comer Felix Auger-Alliassime in straight sets 6-2 6-2, while third seed Frenchman Quentin Halys ended Filip Peliwo's tournament 2-6 6-1 6-2.

Spectators left another cracker day at the Tiburon Challenger today looking forward to tomorrow's lineup.

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Day Three

Brendan's Notes, Monday, September 25

Day three at the Tiburon Challenger saw temperatures soar into the 80s, and the tennis was incredible, with some big guns toppling out of the tournament. Tim Smyzcek (USA), our number-one seed in qualifying, fell to Sekou Bangoura (USA). Sekou came out strong and was able to maintain an extremely high level of tennis throughout the match. Tim was not in his best form, but hats off to Sekou for a strong performance.
 
Kaichi Uchida (JPN) put on another stellar performance, beating German Jan Choinski to qualify for the main draw. Uchida won the first set 7-5, lost the second 3-6, but came roaring back, winning the third set 6-1.

American Deighton Baughman put on a good show beating Alexios Halebian (USA) to qualify for the main draw, as did Evan King (USA), beating Canadian Filip Pewilo 6-3 6-2.  
 
In the doubles, Tom Fawcett (USA) and Edan Leshem (ISR) beat Sergio Galdos (PER) and Roberto Maytin (VEN) in an upset victory, taking them through to the doubles main draw.
 
First round main draw saw 2010 Tiburon Champion Tobia Kamke (GER) beat Christian Garin (CHI)  6-3 6-1.

Big serving Aussie Sam Groth was unable to get by USA’s Mitchell Krueger today on stadium court. The match was a see-saw style battle with Krueger getting broken serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, letting Groth back into the match. However, Groth’s serve was not firing, and he could not capitalize, going down 7-5 in the second set. End score 6-3 7-5 in favor of Krueger.
 
Temperatures are set to rise in the next few days, and there is no doubt the tennis is set to follow suit. Matches start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and action will be nonstop action all day long.

Photo: (l. to r.) Florian Lakat (FRA) and Andre Goransson (SWE)

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Day Two

Brendan's Notes, Sunday, September 24

Day two was another spectacular day at the Tiburon Challenger. Tim Smyczek (USA), number-one seed in qualifying, made it through to the final round, as did American Evan King and Canadian Filip Peliwo. Monday will see who makes it through to the main draw in singles and also doubles, with wildcard Tom Fawcett (USA) and Edan Leshem (ISR) taking on [1] Sergio Galdos (PER) and Roberto Maytin (VEN).

Japan’s Kaichi Uchida (JPN) continued his run on Sunday, winning in three tough sets. After leading 5-2 in the first set, he lost it 7-5. The second set went the distance with Uchida taking the tiebreaker 8-6 and then the third set 6-3. He’ll now take on Jan Choinski (GER) for a spot in the main draw.

The main draw singles kicks off at 11:30 a.m., with the world’s fastest server, Sam Groth (AUS), facing off against American Mitchell Krueger, as well as 2010 Tiburon Challenger champion Tobias Kamke (GER) taking on Christian Garin of Chile.

2016 finalist Michael Mmoh (USA) takes on Noah Rubin, another tough American player, in what is set to be a highlight first-round match tomorrow. Day three is set to be another spectacular day at the Tiburon Challenger.

Photo of Sekou Bangoura: Cornelia Grimes

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Day One

Brendan's Notes, September 23, 2017

Day One of the Tiburon Challenger got under way under blue skies and perfect Northern California weather. After months of anticipation, we were really excited to see the pros get out on the courts and do what they do so well—play tennis at the highest of levels—and they certainly did not disappoint.

Our number one seed in qualifying, Tim Smyzcek, is no stranger to the Tiburon Challenger, having hoisted the Champion's trophy in 2015. He was a late entry, and Aussie Chris O'Connell, who entered the tournament as a wildcard, found him too tough an opponent. It was a good match that went the distance, with Smyzcek taking it 6-2 in the third set.
 
Certainly a notable experience at the Tiburon Challenger was tournament wildcard and NorCal No. 1 in the u/18s, Stevie Gould, who drew second seed Marcelo Arevalo. Stevie grew up playing in the junior tennis program at the Tiburon Peninsula Club and was a ball boy at the Tiburon Challenger on numerous occasions.This was his day to play on stadium court in front of his home crowd and he certainly impressed everyone. He lost the match in straight sets 6-3 6-0, but gained valuable experience and many new fans.
 
Cal Berkeley’s Florian Lakat, also a tournament wildcard, came up just short against Deighton Baughman in three sets, while his friend and doubles partner Andre Goransson got a win against Bernado Saraiva in straight sets.
 
All in all, five of the top eight seeds in qualifying made it through to Sunday's second round of qualifying matches, including USA’s Evan King (photo at right), Raymond Sarmiento and wild card Spencer Papa.
 
Japan’s Kaichi Uchida delivered the upset of the day in the second match on stadium court, with his smooth and immensely powerful groundstrokes proving too much for third seed Daniel Elahi Galan.

Photo of Evan King: Cornelia Grimes

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Volunteer

Want to see pro tennis up close and wear a special t-shirt showing your status? Be an on-court volunteer at the $100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger!

Both on-court and off-court positions are available, and kids can be ball people too. Ball training takes place at 3:30 p.m., Friday, September 22, at the Tiburon Peninsula Club, 1600 Mar West Street, Tiburon

To choose your position and shift and sign up, go to http://signup.com/go/iFPLiTc.

The Tiburon Challenger is a non-profit event that makes substantial donations to the Foundation for Reed Schools, the Rotary Club of Tiburon-Belvedere and USTA Norcal.

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BACK IN TIME

Wells Fargo's iconic stage coach will be at the Tiburon Peninsula Club during the Tiburon Challenger, from Friday, September 29, to Sunday, October 1. Take a selfie or two and see what banking, transportation and coast-to-coast communication was like way back when.

# stagecoach   #wellsfargo

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Schedule of Play

Qualifying: Sat., Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Qualifying: Sun., Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Main Draw: Mon., Sept. 25: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Main Draw: Tues., Sept. 26: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Main Draw: Wed., Sept. 27: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Main Draw: Thurs., Sept. 28: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Quarter Finals: Fri., Sept. 29: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Semifinals: Sat., Sept. 30: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Finals: Sun., Oct. 1: noon-4 p.m.

Junior tennis demonstration and wheelchair tennis take place between finals matches

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LOOK WHO'S COMING

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A LOOK BACK AT 2016

Finals Sunday

Darian King, winner of the men's singles in the Tiburon Challenger, thanks everyone for the opportunity, after receiving a check from Ashoo Vaid, President North Bay Market of Wells Fargo Bank (center) and tournament director Brendan Curry. (Photo: Getty Images for Revd)

Darian King, 24, of Barbados, took the top spot at the Tiburon Challenger after prevailing over American Michael Mmoh, 18, in two sets. "Well done, Darian," said tournament director Brendan Curry, who congratulated King for steady tennis the entire week.

"I'd like to commend Mike for having a great week," said King, who thanked everyone involved in the tournament's organization and expressed appreciation for the hospitality. "I'm from a small island, where this never really happens. I hope to be back next year," he said.

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Day Eight

Brendan's Notes, Saturday, October 1

We could not have asked for a more exciting day's tennis than what was on display on Semifinals Saturday here in Tiburon. First up were the two unseeded pairs of Quentin Halys/Dennis Novikov and wild cards Mitchell Krueger/Sekou Bangoura. Krueger/Bangoura won the first set in a close tiebreaker, but their opponents steadied themselves, taking the second set and third set super tiebreak to secure their spot in the finals tomorrow.

Next up was a wonderful Special Olympics tennis demonstration including two local players, Patrick and Tyler, who teamed up with the very gracious doubles team of Julio Peralta and Marcelo Arevalo in a most entertaining super tiebreaker. It was great to see these two pros, Tiburon Challenger Doubles No. 1 seeds, giving back to the sport and helping inspire these Special Olympics players.

The stage was now set for the first semifinal singles match of the day, as local favorite 21-year-old Mackie McDonald took on 24-year-old Darian King (right) from Barbados in a match of ups and downs. Mackenzie was looking dominant at 4-1 up in the second set after winning the first. However, the ever-steady King hung in there and was able to swing the momentum in his favor. Mackie, in front of a packed house, had his chances serving for the match in the second and third sets, but it was not to be his day as King reigned supreme, finally winning 4-6 7-5 7-5.

In the second semifinal of the day Tim Smyzcek got off to a strong start, taking the first set from American next-gen player Michael Mmoh (right) without too much resistance. Mmoh qualified here in Tiburon this year, and it looked like he had met his match against the experience of Smyczek. However, Mmoh hung in there and kept his cool as he’s done all week. He got some traction early on in the second set, and as his form continued to improve, he ended up taking the second set 6 games to 3. The crowd had already been treated to an incredible first semis, and this was turning into a battle royale. Both players were putting on a show of athleticism that kept the crowd on their feet late into the afternoon. Mmoh served for the match late in the third but could not convert. The experience of Smyczek looked to be the deciding factor as he went on the offensive. But Mmoh’s amazing defensive skills coupled with calm demeanor and calculated aggression saw him push the match to a third set tiebreak.

Huge serving and steely nerves made the difference  and Mmoh was able to win 8 points to 6. The spectators were going nuts, as they should have been, being treated to this awesome display of world-class tennis in the most intimate of arenas. A well-deserved win for Mmoh, and everyone is looking forward to an epic final tomorrow.

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Day Seven


Emerging talent was predominant in the singles quarterfinals on Friday, as Qualifier Michael Mmoh, wild card Mackenzie McDonald (left) and Darian King dispatched seeded players to snare spots in Saturday's semifinals, along with the Challenger's defending champion, Tim Smyczek. See the day's order of play below, and get ready for some great tennis!

Can't make it in person? See live streaming of the tournament at www.procircuit.usta.com.

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Day Six

 

Brendan's Notes, Thursday, September 30

Tiburon got off to a cool start with fog and a little wind chill factor early on; however, the first two singles matches certainly helped to get the atmosphere warmed up. First, No. 5-seeded Dennis Novikov dispatched wild card Brian Baker with a convincing 6-1 third set victory, and then Mackie McDonald beat Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso 7/6 (3) 6/3 to move into the final eight. He will go on to face American 4th seed Francis Tiafoe. This is set to be a show down not to be missed between two amazing athletes in great form.

 
Unfortunately, No.1-seeded Benjamin Becker was forced to retire in the third set versus Darian King (photo at left) today. Becker took a medical time out after losing the second set and never quite recovered. A pectoral injury saw him exit the Tiburon Challenger, and we wish him the best for a speedy recovery.
 
Defending champion Tim Smyzcek will be playing tomorrow versus fellow American Mitchell Krueger who beat Frenchman Quentin Halys 6/4 6/4 yesterday. Also on stadium court will be qualifier Michael Mmoh versus no. 2-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo.

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Day Five

Brendan's Notes, Wednesday, September 28

The third day of the main draw saw the temperatures drop by about 10 degrees, but by no means was the tennis cooling off. Quite the contrary, we had absolute fireworks in the doubles today with the duo of Frances Tiafoe and Darian King putting on quite the show against Polansky and Bester, finalists in last week’s Columbus Challenger. Tiafoe/King won the first set 7/6 (2) and then at 6 games apiece in the second set, the highlight match of the tournament so far started taking shape.

At set point down in the tiebreaker, Tiafoe hit the fastest return of serve I have ever seen in my life — a 122 mph first serve right through the middle of his opponents, leaving them standing and staring in disbelief. Bester /Polansky ended up winning the second set tiebreak 20-18 after a most entertaining series of points.

Tiafoe and King overcame an early 4-1 deficit in the super breaker to take it 10 points to 8. It was an amazing display of shot-making from both teams and an incredible crowd pleaser.
 
No. 2 seed Fratangelo had a fairly routine victory against De Loore while Tim Smyzcek had a much bigger task at hand against the huge serving Sam Groth. Aussie favorite Sam lost a close first set seven games to five. The second set went on serve all the way to a tiebreak, where Sam saw himself with three consecutive set points in hand at 6-3. Tim remained steady. making Sam come up with the goods to seal the set and force a third; however, Sam came up a little short, losing the breaker 10-8 in yet another spectacular late-afternoon match.

The No. 1 seeded doubles pairing of Juan Peralta and Marcello Arevalo took just two sets and under an hour to dispatch  2016 Junior Wimbledon Singles Champion Denis Shapovalov and American up-and-comer Tommy Paul in our feature doubles match. Photo: Tommy Paul (back) and Denis Shapovolov
 
Tomorrow we’ll be in for a treat right off the bat with wild card Brian Baker taking on No. 5 seed Dennis Novikov. This match will start at 11 a.m., and we are in for some serious ball striking from two of the tournament's biggest hitters.
 
Tournament wild card and local favorite Mackie McDonald takes on qualifier Salvatore Caruso from Italy, also at 11 a.m. Look out for these two to put on a show of balance and poise in a match that is sure to delight the senses.
 
Day five of the Tiburon Challenger is going to be an inspiring one.

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Day Four

Players enjoyed a bay cruise aboard the Emrys on Tuesday evening,
thanks to the generosity of Trish and Karl Jacob

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Day Three

Brendan's Notes, Monday, September 26

Record crowds for the first day of main draw got to enjoy scintillating tennis in the most perfect tennis conditions possible. First up was Junior Wimbledon Champion Denis Shapovalov verses American Michael Mmoh, with Mmoh coming out on top to earn himself a spot in the main draw. Second-seeded Fratangelo overcame American up-and-comer and USTA tournament wild card Noah Rubin in three sets. Francis Tiafoe, seeded fourth, also took three sets to dispatch another American player Alexander Sarkissian.
 
Blaz Rola and Grega Zemlja got the better of David O’Hare and Joe Salisbury in the final round of doubles qualifying this evening. O’Hare and Salisbury had their chances in the second set, being up a service break on two occasions, but could not convert.
 
We’ll be off to the races at 10 a.m. tomorrow with Brian Baker verses Austin Krajicek. There is no doubt this will prove to be one of the matches of the day. Tomorrow's feature match at 3 p.m. is sure to be a humdinger with Germany’s Benjamin Becker, our No.1 seed, facing off against American Tommy Paul.
 
Come on out and enjoy the action.

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Special Seating for Finals Sunday

The Tiburon Challenger has a new VIP platform, and time is running out to get tickets for the prime seating for the finals on Sunday, October 2. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales benefits USTA NorCal Foundation so you'll get exclusive seating and support USTA NorCal's outreach programs at the same time.

Act now. Revd lets fans set ticket prices. To get yours, click on http://bit.ly/revd-tpc-usta-pc-2016tc.

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Day Two

Brendan's Notes, Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blue skies, sweltering temperatures, world-class tennis players doing battle right here at the Tiburon Peninsula Club, all vying for their spot in the main draw of this elite $100,000 ATP Challenger Tour event. This is what Day 2 of the Tiburon Challenger delivered. Round two of qualifying saw  2016 Junior Wimbledon Champion Denis Shapovolov, of Canada, right the ship after losing the first set to local Cal Berkeley’s Andre Goransson. Filip Bergevi, the second Cal Berkeley wild card in the qualifying event went down in two tough sets against Emilio Gomez, son of famous tennis star Andres Gomez from Ecuador. Tom Fawcett, Stanford number-one player put up a good fight against Italian Salvatore Caruso, but went down in straight sets.
 
Match of the day has to go to American up and comer, Michael Mmoh, who won his match against the huge heart of Erik Crepaldi. This match could have gone either way, but Mmoh held on to win 11-9 in the third set tiebreaker.

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Day One

Brendan's Notes, Saturday, September 24, 2016

Here are tournament director Brendan Curry's highlights of the first day of play.

Our first day of the 2016 Tiburon Challenger was exactly what we were hoping for. Beautiful weather, incredible tennis, excited fans and volunteers, including many ball kids and adults doing a wonderful job on and off the courts.
 
The new look and feel to the Tiburon Challenger is surely creating a huge buzz around the event. With upgraded VIP seating and canopy shaded boxes, our truly wonderful sponsors are in for a treat like never before. The ‘Sky Boxes’ on the east side of the court are creating a stir, and so they should with this amazing project coming together smoothly on this first day of the Tiburon Challenger.
 
Tennis was of the highest order right out of the blocks with matches starting at 10 a.m. and finishing around 5:45 p.m. Cal Berkeley wild cards Filip Bergevi and Andre Goransson both advanced, as did Stanford No.1 Tom Fawcett. Andre beat another qualifying wildcard in Perry Gregg. Gregg, the youngest player in the draw, played a strong match before going down in straight sets, but make no mistake, we’re sure to see more of him in the future.
 
Bergevi fought off a first set loss to advance in three. Tomorrow [Sunday], Goransson will face off against the 2016 Junior Wimbledon Champion Denis Shapovalov, which is set to be one of the matches of the day.
 
Kids day was a great success, with 35 junior players enjoying a couple of hours of fun tennis and instruction from a team of local pros. The highlight came later, as doubles team Max Schnur and Miguel Reyes-Varela put on a great show for the children and were just fantastic, encouraging the youngsters and teaming up with a couple of them to play some doubles. After an ice cream cone, the young players got to watch the matches.
 
All in all, we could not have asked for a better start to our 2016 Tiburon Challenger.

Photo: Emilio Gomez of Ecuador bested Lucas Renard of Sweden to advance to the second round

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Memories

Seeing Perry Gregg compete in the first qualifying round on Saturday brought back memories for Tiburon Peninsula Club Manager Jerry Pang. "Nine years ago, Perry Gregg was the winner of the 10 and under TPC Junior Tournament at age 7!" he says. Gregg lost to Cal player Andre Goransson, but at the age 16, he's only just started and is a player to watch. Here's Perry at the TPC in 2007 (right).

And here's Perry with his parents (right) and tournament director Brendan Curry on opening day. (Photos: Jerry Pang)

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Rising Stars in Action

The Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger gives local tennis fans a chance to see an international roster of young talent in action, up close. Bjorn Fratangelo, 23, of Boca Raton, FLA, (above) turned pro in 2012 and won the USTA Pro Circuit's US Open Wild Card Challenge in 2015. He appeared in Tiburon last year and will be back on the courts this year as well. Main Draw matches start on Monday, and here's the roster. You can see the list of Alternates at tiburonchallenger.com.

Main Draw
Arevalo, Marcelo, ESA, 176
Becker, Benjamin, GER, 96
Bhambri, Yuki, IND, 171
Clezar, Guilherme, BRA, 203
De Loore, Joris, BEL, 219
Escobedo, Ernesto, USA 201
Fratangelo, Bjorn, USA, 115
Groth, Sam, AUS, 228
Halys, Quentin, FRA, 139
King, Darian, BAR, 166
Kozlov, Stefan, USA, 154
Krajicek, Austin, USA, 137
Krueger, Mitchell, USA, 220
Nguyen, Daniel, USA, 231
Novikov, Dennis, USA, 121
Paul, Tommy, USA, 213
Polansky, Peter, CAN, 159
Rola, Blaz, SLO, 188
Sarkissian, Alexander, USA, 215
Smycek, Tim, USA, 166
Tiafoe, Francis, USA, 125
Zemlja, Grega, SLO, 149

Rankings Date: September 5, 2016
Original Cut Off: 231

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Kids' Play Day coming up!

Photo: USTA Norcal

Kids get to join in the fun at USTA Play Day

10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tiburon Peninsula Club, 1600 Mar West Street, Tiburon

On-court games and activities in a non-competitive atmosphere
chats with the pros, ice cream cones and gifts for all participants

Sign up your kids at https://www.ustanorcal.com/register/views/product.asp?id=1058

Families are welcome to stay and watch qualifying matches.

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Pro Tennis up close at the Tiburon Challenger

Tim Smyczek, winner of last year's Challenger, will be back to defend his title. (Photo: R. Tahir)


The Tiburon Challenger, a UDSTA Pro Circuit Event, starts on Saturday, September 24, and is a great chance to see rising stars in action and take in some special events close to home in Marin County. Here's the calendar of events.

Saturday, September 24
         10 a.m.: Qualifying matches start
         10 a.m.-noon: USTA Kids' Play Day
          5:30 to 8 p.m: Welcoming BBQ

Sunday, September 25
          10 a.m.: Qualifying matches
          5:30-8 p.m.: Pro-Am Tournament (by invitation only)

Monday, September 26
          10 a.m.: Completion of qualifying matches
          11:30 a.m. (approx.): Main Draw matches begin

Tuesday, September 27
          10 a.m.: Main Draw matches
            3 p.m.: Feature Match Event Singles
          Not before 4:30 p.m.: Feature Match Event Doubles

Wednesday, September 28
          11 a.m.: Main Draw matches
            3 p.m.: Feature Match Event Singles
          Not before 4:30 p.m.: Feature Match Event Doubles

Thursday, September 29
          11 a.m.: Main Draw matches
            3 p.m.: Feature Match Event Singles
          Not before 4:30 p.m.: Feature Match Event Doubles

Friday, September 30
          11 a.m.: Quarter-final matches begin
            6:30 p.m.: Sponsors' Dinner (by invitation only)

Saturday, October 1
          11 a.m.: Semi-final matches begin
          Special Olympics Tennis Exhibition between singles semi-final matches

Sunday, October 2, Finals Day
          Noon: Finals matches begin
          Junior Tennis Demonstration and Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition between matches

For ticket information, go to tiburonchallenger.com.

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Place a bid to win a private tennis session with ATP World Tour Pro Sam Groth

Experience a personal hitting and Q&A tennis session with the tour record holder of a 163 mph serve!

Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 11 a.m.
Tiburon Peninsula Club, Tiburon, CA
Auction is now closed

Here’s your chance for a personal private hitting and Q&A tennis session with ATP World Tour Tennis Pro Sam Groth (career high singles rank #53 & doubles rank #24) — holder of the tour’s fastest recorded serve in history (at 163 mph)! Sam has a longstanding competitive history on the tour, having competed against some of the world’s greatest players including Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Rafael Nadal at the French Open, and Andy Murray at the Australian Open. Whether you’re a fan of the sport or an aspiring tennis player, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to hit with an accomplished ATP World Tour pro and all around great gent, who has  many stories and hard-earned lessons to share!
 
This Gold experience will be a private session for you and up to 3 guests (at no extra charge) at the Tiburon Peninsula Club. You can each trade off hitting with Sam as you wish and perhaps see if you can return a 160 mph serve. While play is in session on other courts, you’ll get a personal greeting from the 2016 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger tournament director, who will escort you to a reserved court for your visit with Sam. You'll get complimentary valet parking, and this is an all-ages-welcome experience (under 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian). A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit USTA NorCal Foundation, a charity supporting community-based tennis facilities and education programs, players with disabilities, and deserving tennis playing youth and adults.
 
For more details and tickets, please visit Revd's website here: http://bit.ly/revd-tpc-samgroth