Savannah, GA – The St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger hosted semifinals matches today, Saturday April 23rd at the Landings Club. The first doubles match featured Purav Raja/Divij Sharan against Giovanni Lapentti/Roberto Maytin. Lapentti/Maytin would win the first set 6-4, but Raja/Sharan would win the 2nd one 7-6. In the tiebreaker Raja/Sharan would come out on top beating Lapentti/Maytin 11-9. The doubles final match starts at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday, April 24th, and the singles match is to follow after the trophy ceremony.
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ARTICLE FROM SAVANNAH CHALLENGER:
What a Super Savannah Saturday it was on Skidaway Island. The skies were sunny, and you could feel the energy in the stadium. With a record-breaking number of spectators in attendance, everyone was treated to a spectacular show!
The day began an hour early, as we had to play catch-up after Friday night’s deluge. #1 seed Denis Kudla (USA) and lanky qualifier Nicolas Jarry (CHI) started at 3 all in the first set. Kudla looked as though he would pull away quickly, but Jarry closed the gap, forcing the first set to a tiebreaker. Kudla handled the tiebreaker handily, then coasted to a 6-3 second set victory.
Simultaneously, on court #16, the teen phenom Frances Tiafoe (USA) suited up for battle against fellow American and current French Open Wildcard points leader Bjorn Frantangelo. Tiafoe looked very solid in the first set, as he dictated play with pinpoint backhands and his wicked forehand. The second set went back and forth, and somehow Frantangelo managed to pull it out by a count of 7-5. Tiafoe had put so much effort into the failed attempt to close the match in straight sets, he did not have enough gas in the tank to put up much of a fight in the third. In the end it was the 6th seeded Frantangelo who advanced by a score of 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Next we were treated to a dazzling display of dynamic doubles on stadium court. Fan favorites and past singles champions Brian Baker (USA) and Ryan Harrison (USA) looked very sharp as they dismantled the French duo of Quentin Halys and Calvin Hemery 6-2, 6-2. This is great news, as it keeps hope alive for an American sweep in the championship round!
The second doubles match was even more entertaining, as the wily tandem of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan kept us on the edge of our seats while trading blows with Giovanni Lapentti (ARG) and Roberto Maytin (VEN). The opening set went to the South Americans 6-4, as they seemed to have a bit more heat than the crafty Indians could handle. On the brink of elimination in the second set, they managed to pull out a tie-break victory. As is the case in doubles, the 3rd and deciding set is settled by a 10 point breaker. This breaker went all the way to 11-9, as Raja and Sharan escaped with a victory, setting up a great finals match-up for tomorrow.
Finally it was time for semi-finals singles, with 4 Americans vying for a berth in Sunday’s finals. First Donald Young and Jared Donaldson slugged it out for nearly 2 hours. Donaldson, who can be a bit loquacious on the court, managed to keep his animation level in check. He came out focused and sharp, punishing Young with flat, booming groundstrokes. Young fought valiantly, but was unable to rattle the teen who now resides in Southern California. Jared Donaldson took the match by a count of 6-4, 6-3.
Denis Kudla and Bjorn Frantangelo, who spent some time making friends in the VIP section during the prior match, were next up. Strict orders were given to several members not to give them adult beverages until after the match J. When they hit the courts, it was instantly apparent that today was going to be Bjorn’s day. He was sharp from the start, jumping out to an early 4-1 lead in the first set and never looking back. He proved to be too tough on this day, and emerged victorious by a 6-2, 6-2 margin.
This sets up a great final match-up for tomorrow. Opening ceremonies will begin at approximately 12:45pm tomorrow with the BC Color Guard and singing of the National Anthem, and the first ball will be hit at 1pm. Baker and Harrison (USA) will battle Raja and Sharan (IND). Following the doubles match, we will watch the All-American singles showdown between Jared Donaldson and Bjorn Frantangelo. It is sure to be packed tomorrow, be sure to get there early and be ready for a great show!