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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Escobedo Reaches Costa Mesa Futures Final; USTA Junior Boys Compete with College Players at Napa; Doubles Titles, Finals for Former Collegians

On Friday, 17-year-old Ernesto Escobedo defeated fellow teen Connor Farren 7-6(2), 6-2 to reach his first Futures semifinal, and today the unseeded teen surprised No. 7 seed Jeff Dadamo by exactly the same score to earn a place in the final of the $10,000 Costa Mesa Futures Sunday.

Escobedo will face unseeded Haythem Abid of Tunisia, who avenged his semifinal loss last week to Marcos Giron at the Claremont Futures. Abid a former UCLA Bruin, ended Claremont champion and current UCLA Bruin Giron's Futures winning streak today 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Giron did reach the doubles final, with UCLA freshman Mackenzie McDonald, and they will play the South African pair of Keith-Patrick Crowley and Matt Fawcett in Sunday's championship match.

It may be harvest season in Napa Valley, but some larger spherical objects are also getting attention there now, with the Audi Napa Valley Tennis Classic this weekend and the inaugural Napa Valley $50,000 Challenger next week. The Meadowood Resort has hosted the Tennis Classic, a men's collegiate tournament, for 13 years, but since 2010, junior boys have been invited to compete in the round robin event.  On Sunday, the tournament concludes with a match tiebreaker shootout to determine the overall winner from the eight players topping their round robin groups.  This year the USTA juniors competing are:  Taylor Fritz, Kalman Boyd, Martin Redlicki, Mitch Stewart, Lane Leschly, Sameer Kumar, Tom Fawcett and Jake DeVine. In Friday's round robin play, Fritz and Boyd were the only winners. The ITA has Friday's results and the schedule for today and Sunday on its website.  Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com is also providing free live streaming audio coverage.

The success of former collegians in professional doubles competition continued today. Dom Inglot, 2009 NCAA doubles champion at Virginia, is playing with Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan this week in the ATP event in St. Petersburg, Russia, with regular partner Treat Huey competing in Asia after playing the Philippines Davis Cup tie. (I spoke with Inglot and Huey at the US Open recently and that interview was published yesterday at the Tennis Recruiting Network). Unseeded, Inglot and Istomin beat No. 2 seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Hori Tecau of Romania in the first round, and have reached Sunday's final against top seeds David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco of Spain.  In the other ATP tournament this week in Metz, France, former SMU star Johan Brunstrom of Sweden, playing with South Africa's Raven Klaasen, will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nicolas Mahut of France for the doubles championship.

In Challenger-level competition, British brothers Ken and Neal Skupski, both LSU alumni, claimed their fourth challenger title of the year today, winning the 106,500 Euro event in Poland. The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Italians Andrea Arnaboldi and Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 in the final.  At the $125,000 Challenger in Taiwan, 2008 NCAA doubles champion Robert Farah of USC and Juan Sebastian Cabal, both from Colombia, are in the doubles final as the top seeds after a close win over Huey and former Illinois standout Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines in the semifinals.   Austin Krajicek, who won the 2011 NCAA doubles title while at Texas A&M, and former Tennessee star Tennys Sandgren won the doubles championship at 64,000 Euro Challenger in Turkey. Krajicek and Sandgren, the No. 2 seeds, defeated No. 4 seeds Brydan Klein of Great Britain and Dane Propoggia of Australia 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final.  In the Quito, Ecuador $35,000 Challenger, former Georgia Tech stars Kevin King and Juan Spir have reached the doubles final unseeded.

In Futures doubles action, former Fresno State star Remi Boutillier of France won the doubles title in this week's $15,000 event in France, recent Michigan grad Evan King won his second straight Futures title, this time with former Florida Gator Sekou Bangoura, Jr. at a $15,000 tournament in Canada, and former Tennessee Volunteer Mateo Fago won the doubles title at this week's $10,000 tournament in his home country of Italy.