Tuesday, February 5, 2013
James Blake tops Challenger field
DALLAS -- Former world No. 4 James Blake will play his first match in Dallas since 1999 on Tuesday night when he meets qualifier Alexander Domijan in a first-round match at the Challenger of Dallas at T Bar M Racquet Club.
Now ranked 116th in the world, Blake, 33, received a wild-card into the annual $100,000 Challenger tournament and is seeded sixth.
Blake almost wound up facing promising Dallas teen-ager Mitchell Krueger in his opening-round match, but Krueger -- who passed on a scholarship Texas A&M to turn pro last summer -- lost Monday to Domijan in the final round of qualifying for this event.
The former U.S. Open and Australian Open quarterfinalist is also playing doubles in Dallas this week, teaming with three-time Grand Slam doubles champion Mark Knowles, who in recent years has made the DFW area his home base. Blake and Knowles are scheduled to play their first match Wednesday.
Defending champion Jesse Levine, seeded No. 1 and ranked No. 80 in the world, also plays Tuesday in a first-round match against fellow lefty Bradley Klahn.
In Monday's first-round matches, Houston-based Michael Russell (seeded No. 2) and fellow seeded American Rajeev Ram (No. 4) advanced with three-set wins over Jimmy Wang and Daniel Kosakowski, respectively. No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek, meanwhile, was ousted in a three-setter in Round 1 by Ryan Sweeting, who is unseeded this week but won this tournament in 2009 and 2010.