Nakashima pushed to the limit, Kudla handles Verdasco, and more on San Diego Open Day 2

Credit: San Diego Open

Credit: San Diego Open

It was an exciting day at the San Diego Open, featuring four matches of the Round of 32 for the singles draw.

#5 Brandon Nakashima def. WC Zachary Svadja (7-5) (7-6) (5)

In a tense battle of San Diegans, Brandon Nakashima saw off a fierce challenge from Svadja, who ranks outside of the world’s top 400. Nakashima needed a break in the first set on 5-5, which he saw out well. However, the second set was where the excitement reached its peak. Svadja was ahead 5-4, with Nakashima serving to stay in the match. Svadja won the game’s first three points, but Nakashima won five consecutive points to stay alive.

In the next game, with Svadja serving, Nakashima went down love-40 and again won the game in a thrilling comeback. However, Svadja broke Nakashima right back, sending the set to a tiebreaker. When asked about his mentality when facing the three set points, Nakashima said, “I knew I just had to take it one point at a time and take care of the first serve and the first ball.”. The boisterous crowd was cheering for the underdog Svadja as he took a 4-2 lead, but Nakashima had all the answers from there. A thrilling 14-shot rally finished the match off, sending Nakashima on to the Round of 16 on Thursday.

Denis Kudla def. WC Fernando Verdasco (6-3) (6-3)

American Denis Kudla used five breaks to handle former top ten player Fernando Verdasco in the first match of the night session. Kudla set the tone early with a break in the first game before a second one saw him take a commanding 4-1 lead. Verdasco did add some drama, as he broke Kudla, but Kudla responded with another break to seal the first set.

The young American picked up right where he left off in the second set, winning the first five games. However, Verdasco began to mount a rally, winning three consecutive matches to pull within a break of Kudla. He picked up two break points in the game, but Kudla saw them both off. Verdasco picked up a third during deuce but got the job done. Kudla will take on Brandon Nakashima on Thursday, saying, “I’ll beat ’em’ anyways.” The Nakashima vs. Svajda match was directly following Kudla’s.

Tairo Daniel def. Qual. Emilio Nava (6-4) (6-3)

Emilio Nava, a Southern California native put together some of the finest shots of the tournament in the first set, but Tairo Daniel’s consistency wore him down. Daniel and Nava had played two weeks earlier in the Winston-Salem Open, with Nava coming out on top, “I was excited to give him some revenge,” Daniel said. Nava broke in the very first game of the set but pulled even after a thrilling eighth game. However, when all the momentum seemed to be with Nava, he broke in just four points.

After the match, Nava said that he “Got fat and happy. I got really lazy, and mentally I just wasn’t in it.”. The two players traded blows in the second set, as the first six games went by without a break. A pair of strong baseline shots allowed Daniel to break Nava to put him ahead, and a second break finished off a highly competitive match. At his best, Nava was the better player, but Daniel’s ability to play defensively allowed him to take advantage of Nava’s errors. The 29-year-old veteran will take on top-seeded Daniel Evans on Thursday.


Qual. Mitchell Krueger def. Qual. Christopher Eubanks (6-4) (6-4)

It was a competitive but comfortable match for Mitchell Krueger, who took down fellow qualifier Christopher Eubanks. Neither player was able to force a break point in the first six games before Krueger jumped into a love-40 lead while Eubanks was serving. He secured the break before winning his final two service games to secure the first set. Krueger broke Eubanks again in the second set, jumping into a quick 3-1 lead.

Neither player was able to break the other again, with Krueger putting away the final game with four powerful serves. Eubanks never even forced Krueger to break point, while Krueger went 2-for-7 on break point opportunities. Krueger won 85% of his first serve points, combining that with a 80% first serve in rate, which helped him control his service games. He won 26 points while receiving, while Eubanks won just ten, which set him up very well. Krueger, who exited in the qualifiers of the 2021 San Diego Open, will take on seventh-seeded James Duckworth on Wednesday in the Round of 16.

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Sam Evans
Sam is a Senior in High School. He has been writing for three years, and started at EVT in June of 2021.
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