LOS ANGELES (Jan. 5, 2018) – Karue Sell wishes every pro tournament he played took place in Southern California
The former four-year UCLA player from Brazil was right at home once again on Friday, winning his 10th consecutive match over the past seven days capturing the fourth annual Southern California Pro Futures doubles title with former Bruin teammate Martin Redlicki as the pair beat the top-seeded tandem of Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and Hans Hach Verdugo of Mexico, 6-4, 6-3, in the USTA $25,000 Pro Circuit event taking place at USC.
Earlier in the day in the singles quarterfinals, the 24-year-old Sell won his sixth singles match since last Saturday as the No. 1-seed from the qualifying tournament beat Texas Christian University junior Alex Rybakov, by the same 6-4, 6-3 score.
Sell is trying to duplicate what he did at the Claremont Club Pro Futures Tournament last September when he won 13 straight matches, including winning four qualifying matches in singles, won the doubles title and then beat Redlicki in the singles final.
“I thought I was done with qualifying but then saw I was the No. 1 seed here and was like, ‘Oh, God,’ ” Sell said. “But it kind of helped me and I got some rhythm with time. Even in the main draw I wasn’t playing a hundred percent. I think today it finally clicked and I was feeling it and really going for my shots. Finally after six matches in I’m feeling good.”
The semifinals will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday with No. 6-seeded Kaichi Uchida of Japan facing American Christopher Eubanks, followed by Sell taking on No. 7-seeded Jan Satral of the Czech Republic. The singles final will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Sell took 10 months off after college to decide if pro tennis was what he really wanted to do, and spent the college season in 2016-17 on the Malibu campus at Pepperdine University as the Waves men’s volunteer assistant. “September was when I really started back full-time and 2018 will be my first calendar year,” he said. “I don’t have too many worries with rankings or defending points and I think results come. It’s easy to play these two events to start the year and we’ll see where it takes me.”
Sell said his goal is to get his ranking high enough where he can play in US Open qualifying by September. “There’s so use setting little goals at the point,” Sell said. “I’m just going to go for it.”
Sell has been working with the First Break Academy out of StubHub in Carson, and was supported by four of his little students on Friday cheering his every point. “I train in the morning and then I’m working with the kids,” he said. “[First Break’s] Peggy [Bott] and Rick [Buchta] have been so nice and supportive. Some of the kids are really getting good for playing only a year, year and a half, and we do basketball and other sports too.”
He said he enjoyed seeing so many college players have success this week. “I love seeing the college guys do well. I talk to the Brazil guys all the time and tell them, ‘Don’t turn pro, just go to college.’ They all want to go pro and 18, 19 years old.”
Uchida was perhaps the most impressive player on the day taking out former Cal star and qualifier Florian Lakat of France, 7-6 (5), 6-0. Now 23 years old, Uchida had a career high ITF junior ranking of No. 3 achieved in March 2012. Uchida was a semifinalist at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships boys’ singles and 2012 US Open boys’ singles events.
Eubanks came back to beat top-seeded Alex Sarkissian, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3. After the match Sarkissian announced he would have had to default the semifinal had he won as he learned he had qualified for the Australian Open and had already booked his 13-hour flight Saturday from LAX to Melbourne.
Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles Results
wc: wild card; q: qualifying;
Kaichi Uchida, Japan (6), def. Florian Lakat, France (q), 7-6 (5), 6-0
Christopher Eubanks, U.S., def. Alex Sarkissian (1), 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3
Jan Satral, Czech Republic (7), def. Alexander Lebedev, U.S. (q), 6-3, 6-1
Karue Sell, Brazil (q), def. Alex Rybakov, U.S. (wc), 6-4, 6-3
Friday’s Final Doubles Result
Martin Redlicki, U.S./Karue Sell, Brazil, def. Luke Bambridge, Great Britain/Hans Hach Verdugo, Mexico (1), 6-4, 6-3