The United States emerged as the big winner out of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank’s qualifying action this weekend in Toronto. Four Americans secured spots in the tournament’s main draw after a weekend of exciting tennis and several big upsets.
Ryan Harrison came back to defeat No. 6 seed Mischa Zverev of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. The American takes the 2-0 lead in the head-to-head standings between the two, having also won in Washington back in 2011. Tim Smyczek of the United States also advanced after a marathon match. The two-and-a-half hour contest ended with Smyczek beating James McGeee 7-5, 6-4, 7-5. The win extends the qualifying No. 3 seed’s stay in Toronto into next week.
American Jared Donaldson also secured his spot into the main draw. Donaldson defeated Amir Weintraub of Israel 6-4, 6-3 in just over an hour. The 19-year-old won 72 per cent of his points off the serve, and fired six aces in the victory. Fellow countryman Dennis Novikov also joins Donaldson in the field. The No. 4 seed triumphed over James Duckworth of Australia 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(5). Duckworth recorded 16 aces, but couldn’t solve Novikov who broke his Aussie opponent five times. The win earns the 22-year-old American a spot in the tournament’s main draw.
Austin Krajicek was the lone American loser on Sunday. He was upset by Emilio Gomez 6-4, 7-6(8) in a hard-fought match. Gomez recorded three of his five aces in the grueling second set before capturing the win.
Former world No. 8 Radek Stepanek also engaged in a lengthy win to gain entry into the main tournament. The No. 2 seed defeated India’s Saketh Myneni 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 6-4 despite his opponent registering 14 aces. Stepanek advances into the event where he reached the semifinals in 2007, before falling to Roger Federer.
Meanwhile, Philip Bester’s bid for a main draw spot came to a disappointing close, as the lone remaining Canadian in qualifying action was eliminated on Sunday in Toronto.
Bester, of North Vancouver, fell to Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez 6-1, 7-6(4) in a close contest. Bester appeared to be on the verge of a comeback when he broke Gonzalez back late in the second set. He forced his opponent to the tiebreak, before ultimately falling just before the match hit the 90-minute mark.
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Gonzalez rides the momentum off Saturday’s win versus Bester’s compatriot, Benjamin Sigouin. The 17-year-old Canadian wild card fell 7-6(4), 6-4. Gonzalez, who reached a career-high of world No. 70 in 2014, qualifies for his first-ever Rogers Cup appearance.