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Top Seed Upset, Harrison Brothers Advance at Tallahassee Challenger Tennis

May 1, 2013 09:22 AM
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Ryan Harrison
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Top seed Michael Russell was bounced out of the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger while No. 2 Ryan Harrison avoided an upset scare Tuesday at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex.
 
World No. 294 Suk-Young Jeong took down the 34-year-old Russell, ranked No. 93, Tuesday afternoon on Stadium Court, beating the American veteran 7-6(6), 6-3. Harrison, the world No. 81, followed Russell on court but avoided the upset trend by coming back from a second-set loss to Taro Daniel of Japan, prevailing 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(5).
 
"It was a long match, it was tough," said Harrison, who won the title last week at the Savannah Challenger. "But I didn't close it out and finish it the way that I wanted to. Things kind of go that way sometimes, you just have to keep fighting. I was able to come away with the third set."
 
Harrison came straight from Savannah on Sunday after capturing the challenger-level title there, and touched on playing tour-level events versus the challenger level.
 
"There's a different field, but it's a good test," he said. "To be able to go back and play matches when you're supposed to win -- I'm getting guys' best every day, they're coming out after me -- every time I play. It's a perk not to have to play the No. 1 player in the world in the second round though...I have a lot of confidence coming off my win in Savannah last week. There's no sense of panic when you lose a set or choke a set away. I feel more in control. What really counts at the end of the day is coming out on top and winning matches."
 
Earlier in the day it was Ryan's 18-year-old brother Christian who shocked No. 6 seed Steve Johnson 7-6(4), 6-1 on Stadium Court. Christian said he'd like to get his ranking up to the Wimbledon qualifier cut off (around No. 200) in the next month. He entered Tallahassee as the world No. 378.
 
"Christian has been getting stronger everyday," the 20-year-old Ryan said of his younger brother. "I think he's getting more comfortable at this level. I think he's starting to feel like he can beat these guys. He put it together and got a big win. He's going to start building off of that for sure."
 
A pair of Americans, former champions Donald Young and No. 5 seed Tim Smyczek, were successful on familiar turf Tuesday. Young, who won here in 2011, beat Michael Venus of New Zealand 7-5, 6-4, while the defending champion Smyczek held off big-serving Australian Greg Jones 6-3, 7-5.
 
No. 4 seed Jack Sock fell on the wrong side of the upset tracks, losing to fellow American Alex Kuznetsov 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Kuznetsov, who is leading the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, moved a step closer to clinching a wildcard for the French Open with the win.
 
"Jack is a really good, talented player," the 26-year-old Kuznetsov of Tampa said. "It was difficult for me to break in the first set. I just really tried to stay the course in the second set and got a few chances on his serve. I won a break point at 3-1 in the second set when we were both at the net and I really felt like that turned the match around. That gave me confidence from there on out. I just kept fighting until the end."
 
It's Wayne Odesnik who still stands in Kuznetsov's way for a French Open in the Har-Tru standings. Odesnik was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over Denys Molchanov of Ukraine on Court 1. In other action, No. 8 seed Mischa Zverev of Germany notched a 6-4, 6-0 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, while American Bradley Klahn won 6-3, 6-2 against Nicolas Barrientos. Florida State University standout Dominic Cotrone fell short against Canadian Peter Polansky, 6-2, 6-4.
 
In doubles, local hopes Salif Kante and Takura Happy of Florida A&M University defeated Dante Saleh and Mico Santiago 6-4, 6-4. Their victory marked the first time a college team had won in Tallahassee since a Florida State team did so in 2009.
 
 
 
 
 

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