Taino Qualifies For Calabasas Challenger Main Draw; Chang to Play First Round Match Tuesday Afternoon

By Fred Sidhu

Calabasas, Ca. – Eric Taino, who won a USTA Challenger in Tarzana on Sunday, qualified for the USTA Challenger of Calabasas at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center, as he defeated Fresno’s Robert Kendrick, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (4) in the final round of qualifying.

Taino, who also had to qualify for the main draw in Tarzana, played in both USTA Challenger tennis events at the same time.

Last Saturday, after eliminating Germany’s Bjorn Phau 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the Tarzana semifinals, he made his way to nearby Calabasas and won his first qualifying match over Levar Harper-Griffith, 6-3, 6-3.

On Sunday, after defeating Brian Vahaly of Atlanta, 6-2, 7-6 (6) to win the Tarzana title, Taino once again went to Calabasas where he outlasted Yugoslavia’s Dusan Vemic, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in a second round qualifying match.

“I’m starting to feel it now. My legs are a little tired and my arm is a little dead,” Taino said after his victory over Kendrick. 

Despite playing five matches in the last three days, Taino remained upbeat. “I can still play. I don’t think my fitness will be the reason I’ll win or lose right now.”

Taino, who lives in West Hollywood, added, “I’ve had a lot of long matches. I’ve remained pretty calm and focused on the big points. I’m just match tough.”

He moves on to the main draw where he will face sixth-seeded Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark in the first round.

In first round action in the main draw, second-seeded Vince Spadea defeated Cyril Saulnier of France, 6-4, 6-4 and fifth-seeded Cecil Mamiit led Great Britian’s Jamie Delgado 5-0 in the first set when Delgado retired due to neck pain.

Michael Chang, a former French Open champion, will play his first round match on Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Arvind Parmar of Great Britian. Chang is the tournament’s top seed.

Admission is free through Thursday’s day session. Tickets for Thursday night’s Pro/Celebrity Exhibition are $12. Tickets Friday through Sunday are $8 - $12. Children under 18 will be admitted for $5 Friday through Sunday. For ticket information, call (818) 222-2782.

All tournament sessions through Thursday begin at 10 a.m. Friday’s quarterfinals begin at 11 a.m. Saturday’s semifinals and Sunday’s final, begin at noon.

The USTA Challenger of Calabasas is a $50,000 Challenger event. The tournament is part of the United States Tennis Association Professional Circuit.
 


 

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