Monday, March 18, 2013
Jurgen Melzer wins Challenger Tour event
IRVING, Texas -- Year 2 of the Dallas Tennis Classic, just like last year's inaugural edition, was poised to deliver another Cinderella ending.
But Jurgen Melzer, once perched as high as No. 8 in the world rankings, wouldn't let it happen.
Austria's fifth-seeded Melzer pounded out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 victory Sunday over Denis Kudla in the singles final of the $125,000 Challenger Tour event, preventing the American qualifier from matching the 2012 feat of Canada's Frank Dancevic, who won two qualifying matches just to get into the maiden Dallas Tennis Classic and wound up winning the whole thing.
Melzer also won the doubles crown at the Four Seasons Resort and Club, teaming with German partner Philipp Petzschner for a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win triumoh Great Britain's Dominic Inglot and American partner Eric Butorac. Returning to the court not long after the singles final, Melzer combined with Petzschner to win the doubles final in a mere 45 minutes, befitting of their stature as a team after Grand Slam wins at both Wimbledon (2010) and the U.S. Open (2011).
Melzer then celebrated his two titles Sunday night by taking in the Mavericks' narrow loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kudla had to win three qualifying matches just to a earn a spot in the 32-man field in Las Colinas. And then he unexpectedly reached Sunday's final with four more victories in the main draw -- including wins over Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic and Germany's Matthias Bachinger that both went to a third-set tiebreaker -- only to succumb to Melzer's fresher legs and experience.
Only Petzschner's 7-5, 6-4 loss to Kudla in Saturday's semifinal prevented the longtime doubles partners from having to square off for the singles title here. They were also spotted Friday night at the American Airlines Center to see the Mavericks' win over Cleveland, with Petzschner still growing out his beard in support of good friend Dirk Nowitzki, vowing not to shave -- like Nowitzki and his teammates -- until the Mavericks get back to .500.
Melzer, ranked 48th at the start of last week, and Petzschner, who has slipped to No. 119, now proceed to Miami for the ATP Tour Masters Series event in South Florida, with Petzschner forced to fly out Sunday night because he has to play in singles qualifying. Kudla, 20, was ranked No. 160 before his Dallas run and should move up several spots when the new rankings are issued Monday.
Melzer earned $18,000 for winning the tournament, with Kudla collecting $10,600.
After two men's Challenger events in the space of six weeks, with the Dallas Tennis Classic following soon after the annual $100,000 Challenger of Dallas at T Bar M Racquet Club every February, top-level tennis returns to the D/FW area in August, when the WTA Tour's Texas Tennis Open comes to Grapevine as part of the buildup to the U.S. Open.