Vahaly Reaches Quarterfinals of First Serve Entertainment Men’s Tennis Championship

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 added.

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.



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