Vahaly Reaches Quarterfinals of First Serve Entertainment Men’s
By Fred Sidhu
Tarzana, Ca. – After upsetting top-seeded Michael
Chang in the opening round of the First Serve Entertainment Men’s
Tennis Championship, qualifier Brian Vahaly didn’t let up in his
second round match as he cruised past Russia’s Denis Golovanov, 6-4,
6-2 in one-hour and 14 minutes.
Vahaly, ranked 196 in the world, advances to the
quarterfinals where he will face qualifier Thomas Dupre of France, a
6-4, 2-6, 6-1 winner over Germany’s Maximilian Abel.
“I felt like I was hitting my groundstrokes really
well. We had a lot of long rallies at the beginning and that helped me
get my rhythm. I started hitting the kind of shots I wanted to hit,”
Vahaly said after his victory.
Following a tight first set, Vahaly, a 22-year-old
from Atlanta, jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set. After
Golovanov held serve to make the score 5-2, Vahaly confidently served
out the match at love.
“After playing Chang, the pressure was a little bit
down. It was a nice, relaxed, normal tennis match for me,” Vahaly
While playing for the University of Virginia, Vahaly
reached the 2001 NCAA singles final. He turned professional last July
and set a goal of reaching the top 500.
In January with his ranking in the top 400, Vahaly
reset his goal for the top 300. Last month in Hamilton, New Zealand, he
won his first Challenger title and arrived in Tarzana this week ranked
in the top 200.
When asked about his success, Vahaly responded,
“I’m still very surprised at the success I’ve had. I was still
planning on learning the game for a couple of more years before this
kind of success happened. I definitely feel blessed to be here.”
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.