2014/04/24

Farmers Classic Discontinued; Tournament Sanction Sold to Bogota Group

(November 20, 2012) The Farmers Classic ATP  tournament has been discontinued, with its ATP sanction sold to a group in Bogota, Colombia.

Tennis Panorama News received the following email from the tournament on Tuesday  afternoon from tournament organizers:

 

Dear Loyal Farmers Classic Friend,

Back in 1927, who could have imagined a simple tennis tournament played on the intimate grounds of the Los Angeles Tennis Club would grow into the fantastic ATP professional men’s event held at UCLA. Over the years, we have been blessed to have the greatest names in tennis play on our Straus Stadium court: Connors, McEnroe, Borg, Edberg, Krajicek, Becker, Stich, Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Courier, Ivanisevic, Rafter, Kuerten, Hewitt, Safin, Roddick, Bryans, del Potro, Haas, Blake, Querrey, and Murray, just to name a few.

 

For the past 3-4 years, the Southern California Tennis Association and UCLA have been fighting to keep this historic ATP 250 event alive. The extended US economic slump, combined with the lack of available marquee players, and a scarcity of American tennis stars has now overcome our ability to continue covering the losses generated by the Tournament. The conditions outlined above were also significant factors in the non-renewal of our two principal sponsors, Farmers Insurance and Mercedes-Benz.

 

We have worked closely with the University, the local tennis community, the tennis industry, the ATP, the USTA, and others to find an acceptable solution. However, we have been unable to produce an acceptable resolution for saving the Tournament. Our search for a suitable investor or strategic partner, which would allow us to keep our event in Los Angeles and on the UCLA campus, has included more than a year of exploration and serious meetings, but has not yielded the results we had hoped for and needed. Regrettably, the only viable option is to discontinue holding the Tournament and sell our sanction to an interested party.

 

Therefore, and in consultation with UCLA, the SCTA Board of Directors recently voted to approve the sale of our ATP sanction to tennis interests in Bogota, Colombia. If approved by the ATP Board, the pending sale would take effect in 2013. In the meantime, the SCTA will continue to focus on its core mission of promoting and developing the growth of tennis, and will remain headquartered at UCLA for the foreseeable future.

 

In closing and on the eve of Thanksgiving, thank you very much for your dedicated support of the Farmers Classic and tennis throughout Southern California. Your interest and support have been essential for the ongoing success of the UCLA – Tennis Association partnership and are deeply appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bob Kramer

Tournament Director

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Querrey Captures Third Los Angeles Title

Sam Querrey has joined the ranks of Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors in winning his third title at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles. On Sunday Querrey stopped first-time finalist Ricardas Berankis 6-0, 6-2 to extend his win streak in Los Angeles to 13.

“I feel like I always play well here,” said Querrey. “I grew up kind of playing around this area and I’m really comfortable out there on the courts. It’s fun to play in front of my friends and family. It all came together this week, and especially today.”

“I was nervous in the first set, that’s for sure. I didn’t play as I would like to play,” said Berankis. “In the second set, a couple of games, here and there, I loosened up a little bit. The crowd helped me. The crowd was great and I really enjoyed it. I was trying to stay focused and trying to do my best.”

Berankis had a career week as the first Lithuanian-born player to reach an ATP World Tour final.

Querrey’s win puts him in a first place tie in the Emirates US Open Series with Andy Roddick.

“I’m hoping I can just keep this up and play well the entire summer and keep going,” Querrey  said. “I’ve got Washington D.C. next week, so I’m just trying to continue to ride the train and hopefully play well all the way through the US Open.

“I’d love to be seeded at the Open, that’s one of my goals. I’m going to be pretty close after this week so hopefully with a few more good weeks I can make it into the Top 32 and be seeded there. And I’d love to get back into the Top 20, where I was a year-and-a-half ago, so that’s my big goal right now.”

The 24 year old is projected to move into the top 40 when the next rankings come out.

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Querrey into LA Final

Two-time  champion Sam Querrey advanced to the Farmers Classic final with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win over Rajeev Ram.

2012 Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz

Results for Saturday, July 28

Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA

SINGLES (Semifinals) – Ricardas Berankis, Lithuania, def. (6) Marinko Matosevic, Australia, 7-5, 6-1; (2) Sam Querrey, U.S., def. Rajeev Ram, U.S., 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

DOUBLES (Semifinals) – (3) Jamie Delgado, Great Britain / Ken Skupski, Great Britain def. Tobias Kamke, Germany / Bjorn Phau, Germany, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (10-8).

Evening session – Ruben Bemelmans, Belgium / Xavier Malisse, Belgium vs. Steve Johnson, U.S. / Sam Querrey, U.S.

2012 Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz

Order of Play for Sunday, July 29

Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA

Straus Stadium (start 1 p.m.)

Singles, Final

Ricardas Berankis, Lithuania vs. (2) Sam Querrey, U.S.

(Not Before 3 p.m.)

Doubles, Final

Ruben Bemelmans, Belgium / Xavier Malisse, Belgium or Steve Johnson, U.S. / Sam Querrey, U.S. vs. (3) Jamie Delgado, Great Britain / Ken Skupski, Great Britain

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Berankis Into First ATP Final

By Curt Janka

Los Angeles – Although Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis was playing in his first ATP semifinal, he maintained his composure and elevated level of play to beat Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-1. With the win, Berankis reaches his first ATP final and is the first player from his country to do so.

 

Berankis was all smiles after his match. “It’s really amazing,” he said. “I really didn’t think of it before coming here. I mean, every athlete has to think of their best in the tournament, but the finalist? When you come to play qualies it’s difficult to think of the final.”

 

The match started out in a dead lock. The players had split their previous two meetings and through 10 games and neither could make a dent in the other’s serve. Serving at 5-5, Matosevic wavered and Berankis seized the opportunity. With the break in hand, Berankis quickly held to close out the first set.

 

Much like his match against Nicolas Mahut, Berankis started out the second set by grabbing the early break. From that point he never looked back. Matosevic had one look at a break when he got the first two points of the game with Berankis serving at 2-1. The frustration from not capitalizing on that opportunity seemed to break Matosevic as his opponent ran away with the rest of the match.

 

The coach who Berankis has been working with for 13 years, and who he calls a “second father,” flew into town today for the match. The coach left Lithuania yesterday for Washington, where they planned to meet after the tourney. Because things were going so well, they decided to get him on a flight at 6am this morning and he got to the tournament just 30 minutes before today’s match.

 

Berankis will play either Sam Querrey or Rajeev Ram in the final of The Farmers Classic.

 

Asked about his chances in the final, Berankis said “My game is improving every day. I’m feeling great on the court at the moment and looking forward to tomorrow.” He added that he would be looking to attack any second serves he gets.

 

While 2011 saw 10 first-time winners on the ATP tour, this year players attempting to win their first title have gone 0-10 in finals. Berankis hopes to add the title to his list of first this week.

 

Along with the other accomplishments Berankis is stacking up, today’s win puts him in a tie for 2nd on the Emirates US Open Series Bonus Challenge standings with Gilles Muller. The winner of the final will be tied for first with Andy Roddick.

 

 

 

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Berankis Stuns Mahut at Farmers Classic

By Curt Janka

Los Angeles – Qualifier Ricardas Berankis made upsetting the number four seed look routine in a straight sets win over Nicolas Mahut in the first quarterfinal of The Farmers Classic. Ranked No. 141, Berankis needed just one break in each set to dismiss his opponent, 6-4, 6-4.

 

Despite holding the top junior ranking spot in 2007, Berankis has been slow to break through at ATP events. The win earns him his first semifinal on the tour. Bernakis is just 22-years-old and the youngest player left in the draw. Sidelined by an injury for the first half of the season, he’s only been playing since June and is happy with his progress saying, “So far, so good.”

 

Mahut struggled to return the Lithuanian’s serve throughout the match. Berankis further frustrated Mahut by saving all three break chances he faced. On the other hand, Berankis seemed to get more returns in, keeping pressure on Mahut’s serve with nine break chances in the first set alone.

 

The turning point in the match came in the ninth game of the first set. Both players had been holding fairly easily to that point and suddenly Mahut found himself fending off 6 break points before conceding the break after nine deuce points.

“I got lucky on a couple points,” said Berankis. “I’m happy I was able to control my emotions and play well.”

 

Berankis held quickly after that to close out the first set and continued the run by breaking Mahut in the opening game of the second set. From then on, both players protected their serve without much tension until the end of the match. Facing three match points, Mahut was able to save two before Berankis converted on his third chance.

 

This may be the furthest Berankis has advanced in an ATP event, but his run may not end yet. He will either face another unseeded player in Michael Russell or sixth-seeded Marinko Matosevic in the semifinal, which can only be viewed as a golden opportunity to debut in a final. Asked about the opportunity he said, “The first time is always unbelievable and something new. I hope that tomorrow I can continue doing the way I am now.”

 

While Berankis did not qualify for the Olympics this year, he hopes to represent Lithuania at the next games in Brazil.

Curt Janka is covering the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  His personal twitter is @CurtJanka.

 

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Brian Baker, Steve Johnson, Jack Sock Issued Wild Cards for Farmers Classic

LOS ANGELES – Budding American stars Brian Baker, Steve Johnson and Jack Sock have been issued wild cards for the 86th-annual Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, July 23-29, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA. Baker and Sock will be making their Farmers Classic debuts.

 

Baker, Johnson and Sock will join two-time Farmers Classic champion and Southern California native Sam Querrey, James Blake, France’s Nicolas Mahut, Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, and 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion Jonathan Marray among the leading players in the iconic event.

 

The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $600,000.

 

Daily tickets for the Farmers Classic – the longest-running annual pro sporting event in Los Angeles – are available at www.FarmersClassic.com, Ticketmaster, or by calling (310) 825-2101. Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.

 

Orange, Calif. native Johnson, 22, began his pro career this summer after graduating from USC and ending his college career as the most decorated player in NCAA men’s tennis history. He won his last 72 competitive matches, the NCAA Division I Individual Championship as a junior and senior, and became the first NCAA individual champion to win four consecutive NCAA team titles. Johnson is making his third consecutive appearance in the Farmers Classic’s main draw.

 

Baker, 27, has been a late-bloomer who has sky-rocketed up the rankings while enjoying a career year on the ATP World Tour. He reached his first ATP final in Nice as a qualifier and achieved the round of 16 at Wimbledon as a qualifier.

 

Sock, a 19-year-old Nebraskan, turned professional in 2011 after winning 18 USTA National titles as a junior and teamed with Melanie Oudin to win last year’s U.S. Open mixed doubles title at 18. He advanced to his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal this week in Atlanta.

 

Farmers Classic season tickets, mini-plans, group tickets and VIP experiences are also available at www.FarmersClassic.com or by calling (310) 824-1010, ext. 251. The Farmers Classic’s group entertainment program includes ticket discounts for groups of 10 or more, fundraising opportunities for organizations and reserved loge seating for select sessions in the intimate LA Tennis Center. Groups of 40 are eligible to participate in VIP experiences, which include the pre-match coin toss, High Five Kids Tunnel and Penn VIP On-Court Experience.

 

In addition to visiting the tournament’s official website, www.FarmersClassic.com, fans can tap into social media channels to stay updated with the latest news and information surrounding the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, by becoming a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FarmersClassic), a follower on Twitter (@FarmersClassic), and in joining the LA Text Club by texting “LA” to 25973 (message and data rates may apply).

 

LOS ANGELES – With successful players like Stan Smith and Vic Seixas on its list of champions, the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes Benz, has built a tradition of celebrating the American military and its veterans. The 86th edition of the popular event continues the tradition with Military Appreciation Celebration Sunday on July 29 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.

 

On July 29, active-duty military and military veterans will be honored in a special ceremony between the singles and doubles finals, and all military children 10-and-under can receive a free one-year junior SCTA membership at the Southern California Tennis Association booth. The first 50 children of military/veterans bringing the special military-appreciation flyer (available by visiting the ‘Special Events’ heading at www.FarmersClassic.com) to the SCTA booth on July 29 will receive a free T-shirt. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with the singles final scheduled for 1 p.m.

 

The Farmers Classic takes pride in recognizing its veterans and their families by providing free tickets for all day and evening sessions throughout tournament week – July 23-29 - to active and reserve military, veterans and their families with proper military ID (limit six tickets per family per session). Additionally, the SCTA will be sending care packages to service members who are deployed in Afghanistan as part of the Adopt-a-Unit effort.

 

“This is an event that we take a great deal of pride in conducting,” Farmers Classic Tournament Director Bob Kramer said. “All of us in the tennis community owe a great deal to our military and our veterans and we see Military Appreciation Celebration Sunday as a way to give back some of what we owe these fine people.”

 

The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $700,000.

 

Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.

 

Veterans like Smith and Seixas, who served their country a generation apart, filled the precursor to the Farmers Classic, the Pacific Southwest Championships, memories and victories.

 

Drafted into the Army at the height of the Vietnam War in 1970, Smith brought his rocket serve-and-volley game into a different military venue. He spent his two-year duty (1970-72) visiting Army hospitals and bases and going on recruitment tours. Smith won the Pacific Southwest event for the first time in 1972, part of a memorable year in which he beat Ilie Nastase in a memorable, five-set match to capture Wimbledon. Smith would go on to win a doubles crown with Bob Lutz in 1976 and another LA singles title in 1977.

 

The likes of Shirley Temple, Doris Day, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn saw Seixas win singles titles in 1952, 1954 and 1957, the year in which Seixas won the U.S. Nationals – what is now known as the U.S. Open.

 

“My memories of that tournament were that I used to say it was the only tournament where the players watched the spectators, because all the movie people came out to watch,” said Seixas, who spent three-and-a-half years in the Pacific Theater during World War II, serving as an Army test pilot over New Guinea and Japan.

 

Two-time Farmers Classic champion and Southern California native Sam Querrey, fellow American James Blake, France’s Nicolas Mahut and Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, are among the highlighted players entered in this month’s draw.

 

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Americans Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison and James Blake Entered to Play in 86th-annual Farmers Classic

Sam Querrey, fellow Americans Ryan Harrison and James Blake, France’s Nicolas Mahut, Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov, and Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, are among the players initially entered in the draw at the 86th-annual Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, July 23-29 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.

 

The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles and 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $700,000.

 

Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.

 

“This stage of the year is always an exciting time in tennis, with the French Open just completed and Wimbledon and the U.S. hardcourt season just around the corner,” Farmers Classic Tournament Director Bob Kramer said. “It’s never too early to reserve seats for the Farmers Classic while seating options are plentiful. The LA Tennis Center makes for an intimate and intense fan experience because you are incredibly close to the court and the action. Fans watching Wimbledon in the next few weeks can see many of the same players at the Farmers Classic.”

 

Querrey, owner of six ATP singles titles, returns to the Farmers Classic for the first time since winning his second consecutive title at the LA Tennis Center in 2010. Leading up to his return to the Farmers Classic, where his star was born on the ATP Tour, the 24-year-old Querrey reached the semifinals of last weekend’s Aegon Championships in London.

 

“I’m excited about returning and playing at the Farmers Classic, especially in front of the enthusiastic LA tennis fans at my hometown event,” said Querrey, who grew up in Thousand Oaks and resided in Santa Monica the first several years of his career. “The crowds are always great at UCLA and I look forward to another exciting tournament this year.”

 

Ten-time ATP singles winner Blake, once a World No. 4 player, reached the 2007 Farmers Classic final. Seven-time ATP singles champion Tursunov was a Farmers Classic finalist in 2006, and 2012 U.S. Davis Cup player Harrison, 20, was a Farmers Classic semifinalist in 2011 and a 2012 French Open doubles quarterfinalist.

 

Fans can tap into social media channels to stay updated with the latest news and information surrounding the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, by becoming a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FarmersClassic) and a follower on Twitter (@FarmersClassic).

For more information www.FarmersClassic.com.

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Gulbis Beats Fish, Reels in Los Angeles Title

Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis rallied to stop top seed Mardy Fish 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles on Sunday. This is Gulbis’ second career ATP World Tour title, his first coming back in 2010 in Delray Beach. Before entering the tournament, Gulbis had been on a five-match losing streak.

“Today means a lot to me, said Gulbis. “It’s my second title. It gives me a huge boost in confidence. Mardy is No. 9 in the world and today I played a good match.”

Fish has a packed summer schedule coming off of Wimbledon, Davis Cup, Atlanta and Los Angeles,  he is scheduled to play Washington, DC, Montreal, Cincinnati and the Winston-Salem Open leading into the US open.

“I’ve played a lot of matches the past month and half,” said Fish,”so he came in a little bit fresher than me. I think that played a part. But credit to him. He played well when he needed to. He got those two breaks early [in the third set], clearly which was big. I almost got him in the end… it wasn’t to be.”

Gublis had some trouble closing out the two hour and 43-minute match. With Gulbis leading 5-1 in the final set,  Fish took three games in a row make it 5-4. The Latvian held firm in his next service game and ended the match.

With a title and final in the first two weeks of the Olympus US Open Series, Mardy Fish remains on top of the Bonus Challenge standings with 115 points. Ernests Gulbis has moved into second with 70 points.

Singles – Final
E Gulbis (LAT) d [1] M Fish (USA) 57 64 64

Doubles – Final
[3] M Knowles (BAH) / X Malisse (BEL) d S Devvarman (IND) / T Huey (PHI) 76(3) 76(10)

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Gulbis Avoids a Late Night, Into First Final of 2011

By Curt Janka

LOS ANGELES, California – Ernests Gulbis came from behind in the second set tie breaker to avoid playing a third set against Alex Bogomolov Jr. Winning the semifinal 6-2, 7-6(4) earned Gulbis his first final of the year.

 

Bogomolov played more aggressively than he had in his previous match, running around backhands to hit inside out forehands. But that left him vulnerable to up-the-line backhands from Gulbis which the Latvian pounded repeatedly.

 

Gulbis came to the match prepared for long rallies with Bogomolov and patiently waited for the right shots to attack. The second set was more competitive than the first, with neither player conceding a break.

 

Gulbis banged an ace on his first match point to win in straights and get home in time for Saturday Night Live.

 

When Gulbis plays Mardy Fish in the final on Sunday it will be the first time the two have played.

RESULTS – SATURDAY, JULY 30, 2011

Singles – Semifinals
[1] Mardy Fish (USA) d Ryan Harrison (USA) 60 46 76(3)
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) d Alex Bogomolov Jr. (USA) 62 76(4)

Doubles – Semifinals
[3] Mark Knowles (BAH) / Xavier Malisse (BEL) d Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) / Frank Moser (GER) 46 64 10-7
Somdev Devvarman (IND) / Treat Conrad Huey (PHI) d [4] Jonathan Erlich (ISR) / Andy Ram (ISR) 76(6) 67(8) 10-4

 

ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

STRAUS STADIUM start Noon

[3] Mark Knowles (BAH) / Xavier Malisse (BEL) vs Somdev Devvarman (IND) / Trent Conrad Huey (PHI) tape delayed on Tennis Channel at 7:00 p.m.
Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] Mardy Fish (USA) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT) live on ESPN2

 

2011 Farmers Classic Draws

Singles Draw

Doubles Draw

Qualifying Draw

 

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Fish Withstands Test From Harrison

By Curt Janka

LOS ANGELES, California –  In an all-American semifinal, Mardy Fish outlasted a determined Ryan Harrison 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(3).  What started out as a heavily one-sided affair in Fish’s favor turned into an edge-of-your-seat thriller at the Farmers Classic on Saturday.

 

Fish began the match beating Harrison with depth more so than pace. With balls landing consistently on or near the baseline, Harrison struggled to find opportunities to lean into his shots. Fish also repeatedly threw in off-speed, high kicking serves to his younger opponent’s backhand with great effect.

 

Harrison held to open the second set and slowly started to win some of the long rallies. The two continued to hold until, with Harrison up at 5-4, Fish played a few tight points to give Harrison two break points. On the second, Fish bunted a backhand into the net leveling the match at one set all.

In the third set, both players started with solid holds and then it was Harrison who played a few loose points to give Fish the early break. Harrison responded by breaking his second racquet of the match and was issued a code violation.

 

With his temper back under control, Harrison started to construct points more carefully. At the same time, Fish seemed unable to continue hitting with the great depth he exhibited in the first two sets. Harrison was able to capitalize and step into more shots and earn the break back.  At the end of the third set, Fish was hitting bigger serves and holding comfortably, but Harrison was winning more of the long rallies.

Harrison opened the third set tiebreaker with a double fault and Fish sprinted to a 5-0 lead. Harrison was able to earn one of the mini breaks back but ultimately it was the relaxed composure of Fish that got him to match point, which he clinched with an ace up the middle.

 

After the match both players commented on the slow, high-bounce play of the courts here and the previous tournament in comparison to the speedy courts they’ll play on at the U.S. Open. When asked why today’s match was so much closer their meeting last week in Atlanta, Fish credited Harrison for making fewer errors here in Los Angeles. Harrison believed the difference was his increased aggression. In either case, both players walk away from this match positively.

 

Fish will play in his second consecutive final on Sunday, putting him squarely in the lead of the Olympus U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge standings.

 

Curt Janka is covering the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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