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Connor Hance Who Played Agassi and Graf’s Son in Commercial Stuns Top Seed in at USTA International Spring Championships
By Steve Pratt
CARSON, Calif., (Wednesday, April 4, 2012) â€“ Ever wonder what happened to the cute little boy who played Andre Agassi and Steffi Grafâ€™s son in that 2004 Genworth Financial commercial co-starring Taylor Dent?
Well Connor Hance, who turned 13 in November and lives just eight miles away, has put the acting and commercials on hiatus and has been making some noise on the junior tennis circuit of late, especially on Wednesday when he upset No. 1-seeded Ruadhan De Bruges of Australia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the third round of the boysâ€™ 16s at the eighth annual USTA International Spring Championships being played at the Home Depot Center.
â€œI started to play more aggressive and drive the ball more,â€ said Hance, of what he changed after dropping the first set. â€œAnd I started getting my first serve in. That was the difference.â€
Both Hanceâ€™s parents are teaching professionals at the South Bay Tennis Center in Torrance. His father Ken and mother Courtney were both on hand to watch him record the shocking win. â€œI just kept saying to myself please keep the ball in play because I knew his opponent was tiring,â€ Courtney said. â€œAnd he did and it worked out for him. Itâ€™s pretty exciting.â€
The qualifier Hance, who won the 2011 USTA Clay Court Nationals in the 12s, will next face No. 10 seed Logan Smith of Carlsbad, Calif., in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Connorâ€™s sister Kenadi is a top-ranked 14s player who lost in the 16s on Tuesday. During his match, she said he gave up acting and really started focusing on his tennis several years ago when he lost out on the role of actor Steve Carellâ€™s son in the 2007 feature film â€œEvan Almighty,â€ only because he didnâ€™t look anything like Carell.
Another 13-year-old who was turning heads but in the girlsâ€™ 18s on Wednesday was Tornado Ali Black, who was given a wild card into the tournament and is currently ranked No. 141 in the ITF world rankings.
Black, who has a younger sister who is a top-ranked 12s player named Hurricane, is from Englewood, Colo., and won the Eddie Herr 16s back in December. She has already signed a pro contract with Octagon and is being coached by USTA coach Freddie Rodriguez who was on site Wednesday to watch her upset No. 13 seeded Kelsey Laurente of Miramar, Fla., 6-3, 6-1, in the second round.
Defending 18s champion Samantha Crawford, the No. 5 seed, was beaten in straight sets by Makenzie Craft of Frisco, Texas, 7-6 (4), 6-3. The unseeded Craft said she went two full months to start the year without hitting a ball as she was recovering from three torn ligaments in her left ankle.
â€œI beat Kyle McPhillips last year at Claremont, but I would say this is my biggest win,â€ Kraft said. â€œI was trying to stay focused. I really wasnâ€™t thinking about what I was doing out there. Before the match I was just hoping to keep it close. Samantha obviously didnâ€™t play her best. It might take three or four hours for it to set in.â€