CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 15, 2012) â€“ Winning eight singles matches in nine days finally proved too much for Haythem Abid to overcome, as the 27-year-old veteran Tunisia Davis Cup player came out flat and fell to 28-year-old and unseeded Prakash Amritraj, 6-2, 6-1, on Saturday in the semifinals at the 17th annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pro Classic, a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit menâ€™s event.
Amritraj will play No. 2-seeded fellow Southern Californian Daniel Kosakowski, who beat qualifier Daniel Nguyen, 7-6 (3), 6-3, on a scorching day at the Claremont Club. The final is set for 10 a.m.
Abid has played more than 50 Davis Cup ties for Tunisia, a country led by world Top 100 player Malek Jaziri, and which currently competes in the Euro African World Group II. â€œWeâ€™ve played some teams like Ghana, Zimbabwe and India,â€ said the former UCLA Bruin Abid, who lives in Westwood and trains at the Weil Academy in Ojai. â€œFor me, playing Davis Cup has really just kept the competitive juices flowing.â€
Abidâ€™s highest career singles ranking was No. 360, and the lefty has been hampered by a bum left wrist, which he had surgery on in 2008 and 2010. â€œIt doesnâ€™t feel 100 percent but Iâ€™ll go with 90,â€ he said earlier in the week. He also played doubles with young Bruin Dennis Novikov but the pair lost in the second round.
Nguyen, 21, played Kosakowski, 20, tight in the first set, before Kosakowski went up 4-1 in the second and then continued serving well to pull out the match and make his fifth career ITF Futures final. His only Futures victory came in 2011 when he won the $15,000 Sacramento title. A runner-up at the $10,000 Irvine tournament in 2010, Kosakowski also fell in the Calabasas Futures final back in March of this year.
Kosakowski played doubles this week with his brother and coach Marcin, a former UC Santa Barbara standout who is now 31, as the two were the last to gain direct entry acceptance. He said the Bryan and Harrison brothers donâ€™t have too much to worry about. â€œIt didnâ€™t go so well,â€ he said, of the 6-1, 6-2 loss to Jason Jung and Mark Verryth.
â€œI think my brotherâ€™s best days are behind him,â€ he laughed. â€œMaybe weâ€™ll try it again someday, but yeah, heâ€™s a little bit past his prime.â€
LAS VEGAS (Sept. 15, 2012) â€“ A strong contingent of young American players heads up a talented international field set to play in the inaugural Party Rock Open being hosted by Redfoo from the hit music group LMFAO Sept. 23-30 at Darling Tennis Center.
Fresh off the US Open where he was a guest in Victoria Azarenkaâ€™s box for the ladiesâ€™ final, Redfoo and the Party Rock Open will welcome a slew of rising American talent, including teenager Lauren Davis, NCAA Champion Nicole Gibbs, and Pan-Am Games Gold Medalist Irina Falconi.
The womenâ€™s USTA Pro Circuit tournament will kick off with singles qualifying on Sunday, Sept. 23, where Redfoo plans to participate in free kidsâ€™ tennis clinics as part Cox Kidsâ€™ Day from noon to 3 p.m.
Romaniaâ€™s Edina Gallovits-Hall is the highest ranked played and will likely be top-seeded coming in at No. 114 in the world. She is followed by Portugalâ€™s Michelle Larcher De Brito (No. 120 in the world) and Davis who is currently No. 129. Australiaâ€™s Anastasia Rodionova (No. 130), Falconi (No. 147), and fellow American Alison Riske (No. 150) will all be seeded. Gallovits-Hall and Rodionova both reached the second round of the U.S. Open.
Former USC All-American Maria Sanchez, who has climbed over 500 spots in the world rankings (from 687 to 186) in her rookie season on tour in 2012, will also be featured.
Another notable entry in the main draw is Elena Bovina from Russia. The former WTA World No. 14 ranked player was also a 2002 US Open quarterfinalist
Gibbs, who captured the NCAA womenâ€™s singles title in June, is joined by her Stanford teammate, Mallory Burdette.Â Burdette reached the third round of this yearâ€™s U.S. Open as a wild card.Â
â€œWe are excited about this yearâ€™s player field,â€ tournament co-director Jordan Butler said. â€œThere are a number of up-and-coming players who are going to have bright careers, and many who have already been ranked inside the top 100, so it should be interesting.Â The field is wide open and itâ€™s a big opportunity for someone to break through.â€
Now in its fourth year, the tournament has acted as a stepping stone for some of the top talent in womenâ€™s professional tennis.Â Several players who have competed in Las Vegas since the event was founded in 2009 now find themselves amongst the worldâ€™s best, such as current Top 25 player and U.S. Olympian Varvara Lepchenko, the 2010 champion.Â
CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 12, 2012) â€“ From the juniors to college and now to the pros, former USC star and four-time NCAA team champion Daniel Nguyen still calls four-year Stanford standout Ryan Thacher a rival.
The two first-year professionals â€“ who each won four qualifying matches Friday through Monday â€“ both enjoyed a day off of singles on Tuesday but drew each other in a first-round match on Wednesday at the 17th annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pro Classic, a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit menâ€™s event being played this week at the Claremont Club.
Surviving an early break in the first set, Nguyen came back to post a solid 6-4, 6-1 win over Thacher. It was a revenge win for Nguyen, who lost a tough first-round three-setter to Thacher after both qualified at the Godfrey, Ill., Futures tournament in late July.
â€œI could never beat him in the juniors but I think I got him twice in college,â€ Nguyen said of his fellow Southern Californian Thacher. â€œI was just able to stay mentally composed today. I got down an early break but I kept telling myself to keep playing aggressive and to dictate the points.â€
This is only Nguyenâ€™s fourth professional tournament since helping guide the Trojans to a fourth NCAA team title back in May. â€œI took a month off after the NCAAs, didnâ€™t pick up a racket for four weeks,â€ Nguyen said. â€œI traveled to Asia with a friend and kind of just got away. Thatâ€™s when it started to sink it what we had accomplished during my four years at SC.â€
Nguyen, who advanced to the semifinals at the Decatur Futures event two years ago, is well aware that the Claremont event has been won the past two years by former Trojans Gary Sacks (2010) and Steve Johnson (2011). â€œI guess I have to keep the USC tradition going,â€ he said.
Another pair of junior rivals also met up in the first round as former Hawaii juniors Dennis Lajola and Thomas Shubert squared off with the No. 3-seeded Lajola taking out the qualifier Shubert in a competitive match, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
â€œWe hadnâ€™t played since the 12s in Hawaii and now weâ€™re both pros,â€ Shubert, who played his college tennis at BYU, said after the match.
In all, there were eight players with Pac-12 ties who competed in the 10 singles matches on Wednesday, including former USC standout Prakash Amritraj, who beat former Illinois player Dennis Nevolo, 6-3, 6-4, while his father Vijay looked on.
In an all-UCLA match between two qualifiers, Mohamed Abid edged Marcos Giron, 7-6 (5), 7-5, to advance.