‘Turning Pro’ Francis Tiafoe to Face Dennis Novikov in USTA Men’s Pro Championships of Calabasas Final on Sunday
CALABASAS, Calif., (March 28, 2015) – Francis Tiafoe didn’t officially announce he was turning professional on Saturday after advancing to the final of the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas. But he did remind that it’s only a matter of time before that happens.
“I’m going to turn pro,” the 17-year-old unseeded Tiafoe, still an amateur, said after beating Jason Jung in the semifinals, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, at the USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event being played at the Calasbasas Tennis & Swim Center. “I’m not sure when it’s going to happen, but it’s only a matter of time.”
Tiafoe is on a nine-match win streak after winning his first ITF Futures title last weekend in Bakersfield. He will face former UCLA star and No. 2-seeded Dennis Novikov in the 1 p.m. final on Sunday, with a pro doubles exhibition starting at noon.
Jung won the toss but elected to receive Tiafoe’s serve, which he promptly broke quickly. “I came out flat, but got the break back but then gave up the first set,” Tiafoe said. “I was just trying to find my range on both sides. I was serving extremely well and my best shot my forehand started working for me in the second set.”
Tiafoe said he still plans to play the remaining Junior Grand Slams, and that he has improved tremendously from one year ago when he was No. 7 in the world ITF junior rankings. He was a finalist at the Carson USTA Spring International Championships and won the ASICS Easter Bowl. Both mega junior events take place over the next two weeks.
Earlier this month, Tiafoe was named as a practice partner for the United States Davis Cup team that lost to Great Britain in Scotland. “I worked hard in the off-season and at Davis Cup I gained a lot of confidence,” he said. “My serve is 10 times better and off the ground I’m so much better.”
Novikov, 21, lost the first set to McDonald, 4-6, but used his big serve to take advantage of the match over the final two sets, 6-3, 6-2.
In the doubles final on Saturday night, Fabian Matthews and Hunter Nicholas beat Adrian Forberg Skogeng and Wil Spencer, 6-1, 2-6, 10-6.
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.
Saturday’s Semifinal Singles Scores
Francis Tiafoe, U.S., def. Jason Jung, U.S., (6) 5-7, 6-1, 6-4
Dennis Novikov, U.S., (2) def. Mackenzie McDonald, U.S. (q) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Saturday’s Final Doubles Score
Fabian Matthews, U.S. / Hunter Nicholas, U.S., def. Adrian Forberg Skogeng, Norway / Wil Spencer, U.S., 6-1, 2-6, 10-6