What a weekend in Houston! The ATP Men’s Clay Court Championships brought out the best in SoCalTennis, with the trophy coming all the way back to the west coast! A big congratulations to Steve Johnson (Redondo Beach), who notched the win despite battling leg cramps and a crafty opponent by overcoming Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5). Johnson bumps up four spots to the World #25 ranking, approaching his career high of #21.
Johnson notched a three-set semifinal win over red hot American Jack Sock en route to the final. At the other end of the bracket, Ernesto Escobedo (West Covina) reached the semifinals for his best finish of the year, jumping 18 spots to a career high World #73. Sam Querrey (Santa Monica) also reached the quarterfinals in Houston.
Big props to Frances Tiafoe, the 19 year old the who followed an impressive singles performance in Miami (where he competed admirably with eventual champ Roger Federer) with his best doubles performance of the year. Tiafoe paired with Germany’s Dustin Brown to reach the doubles final in Houston, but fell in a spirited final, 10-6 in the deciding set. Tiafoe’s ATP doubles ranking skyrocketed from #672 to #295.
In other notable #TeamUSA news, former Junior French Open finalist Amanda Anisimova triumphed at the USTA Pro event at Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. University of Michigan standout Emina Bektas and former UNC All American Sanaz Marand won the doubles title at the USTA Pro Circuit in Alabama.
UC Irvine reached the finals of the Tennis on Campus 2017 Championships in Orlando, falling to Michigan in the deciding match. The Wolverines also dispatched UCLA on the road to victory. Tennis On Campus is a national program that helps students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years without the demands of a varsity schedule.
This week in Sarasota, Tiafoe and Jared Donaldson (Irvine) are among the seeded players at the USTA Pro Circuit challenger. Mackenzie McDonald (Los Angeles) is the #20 seed as a wild card entry.