Coming just days after his first ATP singles title on the grass courts at Eastbourne, Taylor Fritz’s impressive straight-set dismantling of former world Top 4 Tomas Berdych may well have been the No. 1 highlight during Week 1 of Wimbledon action involving Southern California players.
But Sam Querrey’s equally extraordinary come-from-behind four-set win over No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem has to rank right up there next to Fritz.
City of Orange native and former USC star Steve Johnson joined the before mentioned pairing in the second round with 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win over Albert Robert Vinolas as former SCTA juniors and Southland college stars continued making headlines at the world’s most famous tournament.
Rancho Palos Verdes’ Fritz is looking more and more like he grew up on the green grass and not the green hardcourts where he developed his game in north San Diego County. Although still relegated to a far-off court for his second-round match on the Fourth of July when he meets No. 33 seeded German Jan-Lennard Struff, many are predicting a third-round appearance for the 21-year-old, who could find himself in the world’s top 25 by tournament’s end.
The player Fritz beat in the final at Eastbourne was none other than Querrey, the former Wimbledon semifinalist next faces Andrey Rublev. Johnson meets No. 25 Australian Alex de Minaur.
Like Fritz, Querrey and Johnson – who first made their names playing events like Junior Sectionals, Easter Bowl and The Ojai – former UCLA star and NCAA singles champion Marcos Giron also had a Wimbledon he won’t soon forget as he won three qualifying matches to advance to his first main draw at the hallowed All England Club. Giron couldn’t overcome 16 aces from three-time former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Feliciano Lopez in a straight-set loss. The return of serve proved the difference in the match as Lopez won an astonishing 42 of his 44 first-service points.
You could easily call the Williams sisters from Compton and Camarillo’s Bryan brothers the all-time greatest female and male siblings in the history of the game. While Serena remains a threat in singles, Venus will play mixed doubles with Frances Tiafoe and Serena with Andy Murray. The 41-year-old Bryan Twins are the No. 7 seeds and can never be counted out to vie for another Grand Slam title.
Former Pepperdine star Robert Lindstedt is a year older than the Bryan Bros., and will play in doubles, as will former NCAA doubles champion from USC Robert Farah, who makes up the No.-seeded team along with Colombian mate Juan Sebastian Cabal. Former Bruin great Jean-Julien Rojer is part of the No. 5-seeded team in men’s doubles and No. 2 in mixed.
Unseeded former UCLA All-American Jennifer Brady was a first-round casualty and the only other player with SoCal ties besides the Williams sisters in the singles main draw.
Former USC women’s doubles players littered the doubles draws with two former Trojans even facing each other in the first round. USC grad Giuliana Olmos and Palm Desert’s Desirae Krawczyk, who played at Arizona State, took out former Trojan Sabrina Santamaria and Alexa Guarachi, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Just a week earlier, Olmos and Krawczyk won their first WTA doubles title in Nottingham.
Former USC star Maria Sanchez and Jessica Pegula lost in three sets to the No. 1 team and yet another former Trojan Kaitlyn Christian will pair with Dalila Jakupović in the first round. San Diego’s Abigail Spears also qualified for the doubles competition.
Brady, Spears, Lindstedt, Christian, Rojer and Santamaria will all play mixed doubles, while Krawczyk should be kept quite entertained on changeover by her partner, none other than controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios.