Semifinal Recap and Championship Preview
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It’s here! Championship Sunday is mere hours away. In order to get there we started today with our second doubles semifinal. In complete opposite fashion to the singles draw, the doubles had all 4 top seeds make it into the semis. With second seeded Luke Bambridge and Joe Salisbury into the final already, all that was left was to see if it would be first-seeded Ariel Behar and Maximo Gonzalez, or fourth-seeded Marcelo Arevalo and Roberto Maytin that would join them. In a surprise start Arevalo and Maytin raced out to a huge lead, winning the first set 6-1 and earning 7 break points compared to only 1 break chance for Behar and Gonzalez. In the second set Behar and Gonzalez were able to up their service games and win every break point they faced, but were unable to secure any breaks themselves. As we headed into the tiebreak Arevalo and Maytin’s incredible 86% first serve percentage was just too much to overcome. They took the tiebreak 7-3 and are off to the finals at 2 PM tomorrow.
After doubles had left the court the crowd was treated to a fantastic wheelchair tennis exhibition courtesy of Michael Yousefi and David VanBrunt. Michael and David put on a fantastic show and really displayed what a great sport wheelchair tennis is. We’re hoping to have the wheelchair tennis community back in the near future for an event, so let us know if you’d like to support this great section of the sport!
As we moved into the evening the only thing left to determine is who would be in our singles final on Sunday. Dennis Novikov and Dominik Koepfer would take the court first. They had massively different playstyles through the early round of the tournament. Novikov had hit 30 aces coming into the match, compared to just 13 for Koepfer. Koepfer however had the edge on the receiving side of the court, having won 39% of his return games to only 26% for Novikov. Tonight it was Koepfer who ended up with the edge. He limited his own first serve misses and pounced on every second serve Novikov let him see. When all was said and done Koepfer had broken Novikov four times and only even faced 3 break points himself, none of which his opponent could convert.
Our second semifinal was between two athletes with vastly different backgrounds but similar styles of play. 28 year old Jason Jung is a full decade older than his opponent Miomir Kecmanovic, and when he was 18 he was preparing for college tennis as a Michigan Wolverine (Go Blue). Kecmanovic on the other hand is looking to fast track straight to the top 100, having risen over 600 spots over the past year or so and cracking the top 200 for the first time. Despite their differences, the score could not have been closer in the first set. Jung prevailed 7-5 in the tiebreaker, but it wasn’t enough momentum for him to easily take the next set. The pair again played neck and neck with dominating service games being the theme. Only one break point was played in the entire set, and Kecmanovic took advantage of it, allowing him to even the match at a set each.
When it came time to put everything on the line, Jung had what it took to make the final. He hasn’t hit many aces all tournament, but popped 3 well timed bombs in the third set tonight. He also took advantage every time he had a chance on return, winning 100% of the break points he had a chance on.
Looking forward to tomorrow’s finals, we have a doubles match where almost anything could happen. Fourth-seeded Arevalo and Maytin took out the top seeds in straight sets, but nearly lost to the local wildcard team of Andre Dome and Nick Brunner in the first round. Bambridge and Salisbury have looked solid in their last two matches, but they had first round struggles of their own. All we can say for sure is that lighting quick reflexes and exciting tennis will be on display.
In the singles final there’s an equal amount of uncertainty. Koepfer has had a slightly better statistical performance, but both players have dispatched multiple highly ranked opponents through the week. Personally I refuse to make a prediction here, but I can’t wait to watch the show these two are sure to put on!
Doubles will kick off at 2 PM tomorrow with singles to follow after our doubles trophy presentation. With no players competing in both singles and doubles there will not be a potential for a schedule change in the way we had at last year’s KPSF Open. It’s been a fantastic week of tennis so far, we can’t wait to finish it off with you here for the final!