College Players Shine at Southern California USTA Pro Circuit Futures

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

USTA Pro Circuit ATP Challenger Tennis News

It seemed like all the top storylines that transpired on a busy Thursday at the Southern California USTA Pro Circuit Futures tournament at USC had something to do with college tennis.

Consider these three:

·         USC freshman Jake DeVine shocked the ITA’s current No. 2-ranked singles player Thai-Son Kwiatkowski from NCAA defending champion Virginia in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to pick up his first ATP point.

·         Defending NCAA singles champion and tournament wild card Ryan Shane, a Virginia senior, won three matches on the day including a nice 7-5, 7-5 first-round win over No. 7-seeded Deiton Baughman of Carson.

·         Future USC teammates and current high school seniors Riley Smith and Brandon Holt won their first-round match against current USC players DeVine and Tanner Smith in a third-set super tiebreaker. The battle of the Smith brothers was a match watched intently, of course, by the father of the two Smiths, tournament promoter and USC men’s coach Peter Smith.

“I just had to keep reminding myself to enjoy it,” the elder Smith said after the match. “I guess it’s just human nature, but you automatically don’t think much about the winner, you just want to console the loser. It was just a real privilege for me to have both of them out there competing.”

The 18-year-old qualifier DeVine from Northern California said he was a little intimidated when he saw the name Kwiatkowski, who like DeVine had to win three qualifying matches to get into the main draw, underneath his on the draw sheet.

DeVine, No. 83 in the college rankings, trained with Kwiatkowski when both were juniors at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., and even shared the same national coach with him for some time in Diego Moyano.

“It was a good win,” DeVine said. “I felt a little under practiced coming in here, but I served well and played well on the big points. I think the time off with the rain we’ve had might have helped me.”

Like Shane, DeVine also played three matches on the day and said it reminded him of his junior days. “When we played the Clay Court Nationals in Florida it would rain every day and you would end up playing like four matches in one day,” he said. “It would always happen. Every year. It’s part of tennis, I guess.”

Despite training with Kwiatkowski, DeVine said he had never faced him in a match before. “He was two years older and always better than me, so I always looked up to him. Everybody likes Thai. He’s such a competitor out there.”

Back in October, Kwiatkowski won both the singles and doubles titles at the ITA All-American in Tulsa.

Later in the day, DeVine was eliminated by No. 4-seed Philip Bester of Canada, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

After downing Baughman, Shane wasn’t done as he beat former USC No. 1 Yannick Hanfmann in three sets, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, and then won his first-round doubles match.

Shane, of Falls Church, Va., had also beaten Baughman at the Costa Mesa Futures tournament back in September, giving up just six games. “Coming out here and not hitting a ball for two days, the first round is not really about tennis but more about finding a way to win,” Shane said. “This match I just tried to find the middle of the court, for the most part. I think I played smart and the conditions were good.”

For honorable mention, here were some more college tennis themes: Qualifier Tom Fawcett, a Stanford sophomore, beat another qualifier, Harvard senior Nicholas Hu, before falling to top-seeded Tennys Sandgren. In another matchup between two qualifiers and current No. 2 players for their college teams, USC senior Max De Vroome beat UCLA sophomore Martin Redlicki in a spirited first-round match, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 (3). De Vroome was unable to continue the magic as he lost to No. 6-seeded Stefan Kozlov, 6-3, 6-3.

“The level of play today was just incredible,” Peter Smith said. “It just makes you proud to be a college coach and around such talented players.”

This is the second consecutive year the Southern California Pro Futures Tournament is taking place to start the year. Prize money has increased, however, from a total of $15,000 to $25,000.


Thursday’s First-Round Singles Scores
Tennys Sandgren (1), U.S., def. Michael Mmoh, U.S., 7-5, 6-3
Tom Fawcett (q), U.S., def. Nicholas Hu (q), U.S., 6-2, 6-4
Joe Salisbury, Great Britain, def. Shahin Khaledan (q), Ireland, 6-3, 6-4
Max De Vroome (q), Netherlands, def. Martin Redlicki (q), U.S., 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3)
Yannick Hanfmann (q), Germany, def. Robbie Bellamy (wc), U.S., 6-1, 6-2
Ryan Shane (wc), U.S., def. Deiton Baughman (7), U.S., 7-5, 7-5
Jake DeVine (q), U.S., def. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (q), U.S., 6-4, 6-3

Thursday’s Second-Round Singles Scores
Stefan Kozlov (6), U.S., def. Max De Vroome (q), Netherlands, 6-3, 6-3
Sebastian Fanselow, Germany, def. Evan King, U.S., 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Gianluigi Quinzi, Italy, def. Nicolas Meister (3), U.S., 6-4, 6-4
Edward Corrie, Great Britain, def. Dennis Nevolo, U.S., 4-6, 7-5. 6-4
Philip Bester (4), Canada, def. Jake DeVine (q), U.S., 7-6 (3), 6-3
Clay Thompson, U.S., def. Joe Salisbury, Great Britain, 6-3, 6-3
Tennys Sandgren (1), U.S., def. Tom Fawcett (q), U.S., 6-3, 6-4
Ryan Shane (wc), U.S., def. Yannick Hanfmann (q), Germany, def. 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4

Thursday’s First-Round Doubles Scores
Gonzales Austin, U.S. / Ryan Lipman, U.S., def. David O’Hare, Irleland / Joe Salisbury (2), Great Britain, 6-4, 7-5
Sebastian Bader, Austria / Sebastian Fanselow, Germany, def. Eric Johnson, U.S. / Eric Quigley, U.S., 7-6 (1), 1-6, 10-7
Robbie Bellamy, U.S. / Logan Smith (wc), U.S., def. Max De Vroome, Netherlands / Jack Jaede, Australia, 6-1, 3-6, 10-6
Evan King, U.S. / Raymond Sarmiento (4), U.S., def. Nicolas Barrientos (wc), Colombia / Sebastian Serrano, Colombia, 6-4, 6-4
Jean-Yves Aubone, U.S. / Dennis Nevolo, U.S., def. Philip Bester, Canada / Tennys Sandgren (1), U.S., walkover
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, U.S. / Mac Styslinger, U.S., def. Deiton Baughman, U.S. / Mackenzie McDonald (3), U.S., walkover
Brandon Holt, U.S. / Riley Smith (wc), U.S., def. Jake Devine, U.S., Tanner Smith, U.S. Jake DeVine (wc), U.S., 3-6, 6-3, 10-6
Alexios Halebian, U.S. / Ryan Shane, U.S., def. Trent Aaron, U.S. / Andrew Carter, U.S., 6-4, 6-2

wc: wild-card; q: qualifier


Community events this week at USC include:

Friday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Community Tennis Awards Reception; Sharing the Pancho Gonzales Story. Featuring Richard Gonzales and the Pancho Gonzales Foundation.

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., FREE Kid’s Day at USC. Free tennis, pizza, prizes, & fun. Open to players of all levels.

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.