Klahn heads to Challenger quarterfinals

LAHAINA – Bradley Klahn and Marcos Giron went toe-to-toe in the first set of a Royal Lahaina Challenger match Thursday. In the second, Klahn simply ran away with things.

Klahn, the No. 3 seed, never had his serve broken on the way to a 7-6 (9), 6-0 victory over Giron in a round-of-16 match at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Ranch.

“I thought once I got through the first set, I felt I could relax a little bit and I was a little more aggressive,” said Klahn, No. 97 in the ATP rankings.

Klahn will face Peter Polansky in today’s quarterfinals.

Klahn, 23, was the 2010 NCAA singles champion while at Stanford. The 20-year-old Giron is a junior at UCLA – he helped the Bruins to a national runner-up finish last season.

Klahn had the lone break opportunity of first set, in the sixth game. In the tiebreaker, he took the first two points before Giron, a wild-card entrant, rallied for a 5-3 advantage, and served for the set at 6-5 and 8-7. Klahn converted his third set point.

“He played a great match,” Klahn said. “I knew him a little bit from college. He was a freshman when I was a senior. I knew it was going to be a tough match and he was going to push me.”

Klahn won the final game of the match at love.

“He stayed mentally tough,” Giron said. “It was a tough first set. I was a little sluggish in my first service game and he really took advantage of that. From there, he stayed on top and didn’t give me any opportunities to get into the match.”

Klahn, who is left-handed, finished with eight aces, while Giron had four.

“That’s something that we’ve really been working on, shoring up my serve, just trying to take care of it,” Klahn said. “If I can take care of my serve and not give them any looks on it, it puts a lot more pressure on them to hold their serve.”

Klahn earned an economics degree from Stanford in 2012 and turned professional shortly after.

“For me college was the best path,” he said. “For some others maybe that’s not what’s best for them. In my case I thought four years of Stanford was beneficial to myself on the court as well as off. I had a great time and I enjoyed myself at school.”

Giron is ranked No. 11 in men’s singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, less than a point out of the top 10.

“When I play against these top guys, I realize I can play ball with them and that they just have more experience than I do,” Giron said.

* Kyle Sakamoto is at ksakamoto@mauinews.com