INDIAN WELLS/STARNBERG, January 16, 2024
Arizona State senior Max McKennon of Newport Beach took advantage of his wild card winning two matches to qualify for the main draw at the Southern California Open, an ATP Challenger Tour 50 hard-court event taking place this week and next at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
On Monday, McKennon, 21, came back to beat Stanford freshman and fellow wild card Nico Godsick in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Godsick is the son of International Tennis Hall of Famer and popular ESPN tennis commentator Mary Jo Fernandez. Former UCLA standout Keegan Smith fell to No. 4 seed Ajeet Rai of New Zealand and Utah’s Quinn Vandecasteele (No. 11) also fell short of qualifying falling 6-4 in the third set against Chile’s Matias Soto. Other qualifying winners entering the first round include: Patrick Brady from Great Britain as well as US-Americans James Tracy and Stefan Kozlov.
Cukierman defeats Pospisil
In other action, former USC Star Daniel Cukierman of Israel upset Wimbledon champion Vasek Pospisil of Canada, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, in one of five first-round matches played on Monday.
The 33-year-old Pospisil is ranked No. 453 in the world and trying to work his way back into the rankings has reached a career high of No. 25 in the world in 2015. He got to the singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2015 and the year before, Pospisil won the Wimbledon doubles title with US-American Jack Sock.
Cukierman, a winner of three titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour, withstood five aces and broke his opponent’s serve five times to secure victory in two hours and 15 minutes. Up next for the World No. 486 will be James Trotter of Japan, who knocked out fifth-seeded US-American Aidan Mayo 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 34 minutes.
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