Tennis inches closer to medal dreams
By Nathan Engel
SOFIA, Bulgaria – The U.S. Tennis Team diligently worked its way closer to its first medals since 1997 as the Hangstefer siblings pulled out wins in their second-round singles matches Sunday at the Dema Tennis Center.
Going up against the tournament’s No. 15 seed, Zengbao Yang of China, Daniel Hangstefer carried some weight on his shoulders. Teammates Richard Noel and Javier Molinar had lost their first-round matchups, leaving just Hangstefer in contention.
He lost the first set, 3-6, before mounting a furious rally that left Yang perplexed. In a match that lasted three hours, Hangstefer fought his way to a win in three sets, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“Today was tough, but I kept on playing and made it to the next round. Tomorrow will be hard, but I’ll be ready,” Hangstefer said.
On the women’s side, sister Emily Hangstefer advanced to the third round in a convincing manner by defeating Shilipi Jaiswal of India in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.
Later in the day, Daniel Hangstefer returned to the red clay court with partner Brad Minns to take on men’s doubles No. 2 seed Glen Flindell and Stephen Swann of Austria.
Hangstefer and Minns fought valiantly but succumbed in straight sets to the Australian duo, 2-6, 3-6, which eliminated them from the tournament.
The team has a tough day ahead of it Monday.
“Tomorrow will be tough as well. We play high seeds in all four matches. Winnable matches, but we will have to play hard,” head coach Katie Mancebo said.
Daniel Hangstefer plays No. 2 seed Gabor Mathe of Hungary; Emily Hangstefer plays No. 2 seed Beatriz Villamandos-Lorenzo of Spain; and Laura Chapman faces formidable No. 1 seed Chiu-Mei Ho of Chinese Taipei. The Hangstefers also play in mixed doubles against Great Britain’s Bethany Brookes and Peter Willcox.
Live streaming is expected to be available for the tennis matches, beginning at 10 a.m. in Sofia (3 a.m. Eastern Time), and the video will be embedded on the front page of our website.