Francis Tiafoe moved one stepped closer to a second-straight USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles title as he beat No. 8-seeded Mitchell Krueger in the quarterfinals on Friday at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas.
Tiafoe, a 17-year-old from College Park, Md., won his eighth consecutive match taking out the No. 8-seeded Krueger, 21, of Aledo, Texas, 7-5, 6-4, in the $15,000-level event being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
“Yeah, I guess it is eight straight but I’m not really thinking about that number,” said Tiafoe, who won three consecutive three-setters in the first three rounds last week in claiming his first Pro Circuit title. “I’m just focusing on continuing to play good tennis in Cali and want to put on a good show for the fans who come out tomorrow.”
He had never faced Krueger before, but the two have practiced together all week, and Tiafoe said he was able to get familiar with his game.
Tiafoe will face 25-year-old former University of Michigan star Jason Jung in one of Saturday’s semifinasl. Jung beat 17-year-old wild card Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals on Friday, 6-3, 6-3. Fritz had his chances early on, squandering 15-40 and love-40 games on Jung’s serve in the first set.
“Sure, he hits a big ball, but I was just better today,” said Jung, as he rested in preparation for an evening doubles semifinal. Jung also beat Fritz in the USC Pro Circuit Futures semifinals during the first week of the year.
In the other semifinal on Saturday, it will be an all UCLA affair as No. 2-seeded Dennis Novikov will play current UCLA sophomore Mackenzie McDonald, the winner of the late match on Friday night.
Earlier on Friday, Novikov downed Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Play begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday with Tiafoe-Jung match, followed by Novikov-McDonald. Not before 8 p.m. will be the doubles final between Fabian Matthew and Jeremy Hunter Nicholas and Adrian Forberg Skogeng and Wil Spencer.
Follow along on Twitter at http://twitter.com/calabasastennis. For more information check out the official website, calabasasprotennis.com. Don’t forget to download the Pro Circuit App. Search procircuit in the iTunes App Store or on Google Play.
EVENTS: USTA Junior Team Tennis Kid’s Day with a Tennis Carnival is Saturday, March 28, from 1:30 p.m. till 3 p.m.
Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles Scores
Jason Jung, U.S., (6) def. Taylor Fritz, U.S., (wc) 6-3, 6-3
Dennis Novikov, U.S., (2) def. Giovanni Lapentti, Eucador, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Francis Tiafoe, U.S., def. Mitchell Krueger, U.S., (8) 7-5, 6-4
Mackenzie McDonald, U.S. (q) def. Clay Thompson, U.S., (wc), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Friday’s Semifinal Doubles
Fabian Matthew, U.S. / Jeremy Hunter Nicholas, U.S., def. Jason Jung, U.S. / Raymond Sarmiento, U.S., 6-7 (6), 7-5, 10-4
Adrian Forberg Skogeng, Norway / Wil Spencer, U.S., def. Pedro Bernardi, Brazil, / Luis Fernando Ramirez, Venezuela, 6-4, 4-6, 11-9
Past Calabasas finalists:
Year Singles Winner Singles Runner-up
2014: Marcos Giron (US) def. Jason Jung (US)
2013: Sanam Singh (IND) def. Bradley Klahn (US)
2012: Tennys Sandgren (USA) def. Daniel Kosakowski (US)
2010: Marinko Matosevic (AUS) def. Ryan Sweeting (US)
2009: Donald Young (US) def. Michael Russell (US)
2008: Vince Spadea (US) def. Sam Warburg (US)
2007: Robert Kendrick (US) def. Donald Young (US)
2006: Mark Philippoussis (AUS) def. Amer Delic (US)
2005: Brian Vahaly (US) def. Denis Gremelmayr (GER)
2004: Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Alex Bogomolov Jr. (US)
2003: Jerome Golmard (FRA) def. Lars Burgsmuller (GER)
2002: Michael Chang (US) def. Cecil Mamiit (PHI)
2001: Andre Sa (BRA) def. Michael Russell (US)