In a gutsy performance, Junior Tennis Champions Center alum and No. 7 seed Denis Kudla defeated fellow American and No. 2 seed Ryan Harrison in the Semifinals of the Tallahassee Challenger yesterday, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Kudla out-powered Harrison by staying consistent down the stretch against a player who won the Savannah Challenger a week ago.
“I had a little bit of a shaky start, but both of us served well and were controlling the court with our shots,” said Kudla, who will go after his third challenger title Saturday. “There were some interesting points in the third set, but I really tried to go for my opportunities and playing ahead.”
Kudla will face unseeded Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany in the Finals today at 1:00 PM. The match will be streamed live on the USTA website.
“We’ve never played,” Kudla said of his match up against Stebe. “He’s a solid player who has showed that he can play at the top level. I need to take it to him; he’s not going to give it to me.”
The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger is a $50,000 event on the USTA Pro Circuit, April 27-May 4 at the Forestmeadows Tennis Complex. Last year the tournament was won by American Tim Smyczek. Players such as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mardy Fish, James Blake, John Isner and Donald Young have appeared at the event, which benefits the D. MarkVogter, M.D., Memorial Endowment for the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare.
Best of luck Denis!