Bryan Advances to Second Round at USTA Men’s Challenger; Chang Set to Play Tuesday Afternoon

by Fred Sidhu

Tarzana, Ca. – Unseeded Bob Bryan of the United States used a strong serve and steady baseline game to eliminate Italy’s Gianluca Pozzi, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the First Serve Entertainment Men’s Tennis Championship at the Braemar Country Club.

Bryan, ranked 213 in ATP Entry System in singles, jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first set before Pozzi, who has been ranked as high as 40 in the world, held serve.

After serving out the first set, Bryan, who lives in nearby Camarillo, broke the 36-year-old Italian twice early in the second set to lead 4-0 and went on to win the match in one-hour.

“I got on him pretty early,” Bryan said after his victory. “I was aggressive and I was serving well. I hit some big serves when I needed it.”

Pozzi, who came into the match ranked 216, is a tour veteran having turned pro in 1984. “Pozzi is a great player. I have a lot of respect for him,” Bryan said. “I wasn’t taking him lightly.”

Bryan and his twin brother Mike form one of the world’s top doubles teams, but this week in Tarzana, Bob is attempting to boost his singles ranking to improve his chances of playing on a future U.S. Davis Cup team.

“We’ve felt like we’ve had some good (doubles) results, good enough maybe to be selected,” Bryan said. “But I see Pat’s (U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe) concern just in case Andy (Roddick) or Pete (Sampras) get injured, he wants to have a singles player to back them up.

He added, “That’s why I’m out here, getting my singles ranking up. If one of those guys get injured, maybe I can step in there while we’re playing doubles.”

In other first-round action, Bjorn Phau of Germany defeated Kevin Kim of Fullerton, Ca., 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-1 and Switzerland’s George Bastl outlasted former U.S. Davis Cup player, Justin Gimelstob, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Michael Chang, the tournament’s top seed, will face fellow American Brian Vahaly in a first round match on Tuesday afternoon.

General admission for each day of the tournament is $12. Kids under 18 can purchase tickets for $6. Series and box seats are available. For ticket information, call (818) 345-3230.

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

The First Serve Entertainment Men’s Tennis Championship is a $50,000 Challenger event. The tournament is part of the United States Tennis Association Professional Circuit.



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