Binghamton (WBNG BINGHAMTON) Sergiy Stakhovsky and Wayne Odesnik advanced to the singles final of the 21st annual Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger with straight set wins on Saturday afternoon in front of a strong crowd at Recreation Park. The final is set for 11 a.m. Sunday morning and will be followed by the doubles final on center court in Binghamton.
In the day’s first singles semifinal, American Wayne Odesnik took down Takanyi Garanganga in straight sets, defeating the 23-year old from Zimbabwe, 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday afternoon. Odesnik came out strong out of the gate, winning the game’s two first points. After he held serve, Odesnik took advantage of multiple Garanganga errors to break him for a second straight time. In the fifth game of the first set, the 28-year old lefty smashed a near court winner to go up 40-love and didn’t get a return out of Garanganga on the ensuing serve to jump ahead to a commanding 5-0 lead.
Garanganga got on the board after a hard fought game that featured four deuce points, but was unable to mount a comeback as Odesnik notched a pair of aces followed by a lefty winner that clinched the first set. In the second set, Garanganga looked a bit more comfortable, winning his first two service points. However, in the fourth game, Garanganga seemed to come up a bit hobbled and had to seek a medical timeout between the fourth and fifth games. He would later return to continue the match after a brief visit with the trainer.
In that fifth game, Odesnik earned a hard fought break with his near court winner that caught Garanganga off guard as he rushed the net. From there, Odesnik held control and went on to claim the match in straight sets with the 6-1, 6-2 victory. Odesnik looked sharp all afternoon, claiming four break points on the day and clearly took advantage of Garanganga’s second serve, winning 12-of-19 of those opportunities.
The 2 p.m. semifinal match between second seed Sergiy Stakhovsky and Daniel Cox was an exciting match that featured many highlight rallies and points. Stakhovsky, who went on to capture his fourth straight set win of the tournament, broke Cox in the first game and later went up 3-1 thanks to a well-placed 104 mph ace. Now up 4-2 in the first, Stakhovsky once again broke the Englishmen and eventually won the first set with a couple brilliant serves, bookmarked by a 110 mph ace that put him ahead one set to love.
With Cox serving in the first game of the second set, Stakhovsky jumped ahead 15-40 with a great touch at the net that skipped away from Cox’s reach. He went on to take the first game and quickly boosted that lead to 2-0 in the second game in large part to a pair of aces from the 28-year old Ukrainian. Despite falling into that quick hole, Cox worked his way back, trailing Stakhovsky just 5-4 after a couple of hard fought service points. In the ninth game, the 23-year old from Lincoln, England, held on to win a hectic back-and-forth game that featured five deuce points.
The late rally from Cox didn’t faze the 88th ranked player in the world as he calmly finished out the match holding serve, winning 6-2, 6-4 and draw a standing ovation from the local Binghamton crowd. Stakhovsky smashed 10 aces on Saturday and won over 74 percent of his service points, compared to just 53 percent from Cox.
Following the Stakhovsky/Odesnik singles final, the doubles team of Daniel Cox and Daniel Smethurst (GBR) will take on Stakhovsky and Romanian Marius Copil in the doubles final. The winner of the singles championship takes home prize winnings of $7,200, while the doubles champions receive a check worth $3,100. Each winner tomorrow also receives 90 points from the ATP.
The 2014 LG&T Tennis Challenger will conclude on Sunday with the singles final beginning at 11 a.m..
(Courtesy: Binghamton Challenger)