WILD CARD SWEETING FALLS IN COMEBACK ATTEMPT AT USTA MEN’S PRO CHAMPIONSHIPS OF CALABASAS
CALABASAS, Calif., (March 19, 2014) – USTA Director of Coaching Jose Higueras watched on Wednesday as two United States teenagers won opening-round matches at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Eighteen-year-old Collin Altamirano beat 17-year-old and fellow Californian qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 6-1, 7-6 (4), while Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 16-year-old wild card Taylor Fritz beat No. 7-seeded Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-4.
In the last match of the day, wild card Ryan Sweeting fell to Roberto Marcora, the No. 4 seed from Italy, 6-1, 6-2. It marked the former Calabasas $50,000 Challenger finalists’ first tournament back since back surgery in September and the first as a married man. On Dec. 31, Sweeting married TV star and former ranked junior tennis player and fan Kaley Cuoco, who attended the match.
“Honestly, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Sweeting, 26. “I’ve actually only been playing sets for the past week and a half. The quality of players out here is actually really impressive. It’s not like I remember playing my last Futures tournament back in 2007. It was a tough first match back.”
He added: “I need to get a lot more work done. I need to work on my fitness and my footwork and my movement. You can’t just hit balls and then come out here and compete. So there’s going to be a lot more weeks to get my game going.”
The plan is to continue with his comeback, if his back holds up, but Sweeting is enjoying life as a newlywed with Kaley. “It’s going to be a lot tougher to leave my wife and go out on Tour if that’s what I decide to do,” he said.
Fritz said Higueras gave him some post-match pointers. “He told me what some guys at the next level are doing so I can get there,” Fritz said. “He gave me some good advice.”
Fritz qualified last week at the Bakersfield Futures event dropping just three games in three matches. He then beat former Michigan All-American Evan King in the first round before falling to another qualifier and his Calabasas doubles partner Altamirano. Fritz plays King today for a possible spot in the quarterfinals in the first match on Stadium Court at 10 a.m.
Fritz, ranked around No. 80 in the ITF junior rankings, said he will play three weeks of junior tournaments in Claremont, Carson and the ASICS Easter Bowl starting next Monday with the goal to increase his ranking and qualify into the French Open and junior Wimbledon. Fritz’s father Guy was an ATP doubles standout in the 1970s and his mother Kathy May Fritz is a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist.
EVENTS: The Adult Pro-Am drill is Friday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Community Tennis Association & USTA League appreciation night is Friday, March 21st starting at 6 p.m. A USTA Junior Team Tennis Kid’s Day with a Tennis Carnival is Saturday, March 22 from 4 p.m. till 5:30 p.m., and a VIP sponsor dinner reception is Saturday, March 22, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Kaley Cuoco & Friends Exhibition is Saturday evening before the singles semifinals.
Wednesday’s Main-Draw Singles Scores
WC: wild card; Q: qualifier
Collin Altamirano, U.S., def. Ernesto Escobedo, U.S. (q), 6-1, 7-6 (4)
Evan Song, U.S. (q), def. Mbonisi Ndimande, Zimbabwe (q), 6-1, 7-6 (3)
Gianni Mina, France, def. Andre Dome, U.S. (q), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (q), def. Michael Shabaz, U.S., walkover
Daniel Nguyen, U.S., def. Joshua Milton, Great Britain, 6-3, 6-1
Taylor Fritz, U.S. (wc), def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria (7), 6-3, 6-4
Ryan Agar, Australia, def. Dennis Novikov, U.S., (q), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Sekou Bangoura, U.S. (q), def. Tyler Hochwalt, U.S., 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3
Marcos Giron, U.S., def. Mico Santiago, U.S. (q), 6-2, 6-4
Roberto Marcora, Italy (4) def. Ryan Sweeting, U.S. (wc), 6-1, 6-2
Mitchell Krueger, U.S., def. Nicolas Meister, U.S. (2), 6-4, 7-6 (6)
—Steve Pratt, USTA