SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 11, 2022 (by Damian Secore)
The dawn of the SoCal Pro Circuit has afforded Coronado resident Ryan Seggerman and Ramona native Jessica Failla the opportunity to come home with a chance to win their first singles titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour. Both are two weekend wins away from achieving these significant career milestones at the University of San Diego Open.
Seggerman, 22, has taken his wildcard berth all the way to the semifinals after powering past the USTA’s top-ranked Junior in the nation, Irvine’s 16-year-old sensation Learner Tien, 6-3, 6-4, on Friday. The Coronado High School alum will face sixth-seeded Nathan Ponwith, a Scottsdale, Ariz. resident and former Arizona State product, in the first men’s singles semifinal at 10 a.m. local time Saturday.
Ponwith recorded a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Irvine resident and top seed Gage Brymer, who was runner-up in Rancho Santa Fe and won in Tunisia on the ITF World Tennis Tour the past two weeks.
In the second men’s singles semifinal, China’s second-seeded Zhe Li – the tournament’s oldest player at 35 – takes on Portugal’s third-seeded Duarte Vale, who captained the University of Florida to a 2021 NCAA Division I national championship and completed his collegiate career with the Gators in May.
Failla, 24, was equally impressive as the top seed in the women’s singles draw. The Ramona High School graduate and 2014 CIF-San Diego Section Individual singles champion breezed past Mexico’s Midori Castillo Meza, 6-2, 6-2, to set up a semifinal matchup against No. 5 seed Ya Yi Yang of Chinese Taipei.
Seggerman and Failla have yet to drop a set this week. Seggerman was named First-Team All-Ivy League and reached the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Doubles Tournament Round of 16 as a senior at Princeton. Out of playing eligibility at Princeton, he will play as a fifth-year senior at North Carolina next season.
Failla, who won her only ITF doubles title in 2021, played collegiately at USC from 2015-17 and at Pepperdine her junior and senior years, leading the Waves to the 2021 NCAA Division I national championship match. Ironically, Failla is looking to claim her first ITF singles title on the courts at USD, her West Coast Conference rival as recent as a year ago.
Saturday’s first women’s singles semifinal pits No. 4 seed and Russian Maria Kozyreva against China’s Jiangxue Han, a 6-1, 6-4 quarterfinal winner over 19-year-old Torrance, Calif. native and UCLA collegiate Kimmi Hance. Kozyreva defeated Ukrainian qualifier Sabina Zeynalova, a 2022 NCAA Division I women’s team champion with the University of Texas, in her quarterfinal, 6-2, 6-0.
Kozyreva, 23, recently completed her collegiate career at St. Mary’s College (Calif.) by advancing to the Round of 16 at the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Singles Championships and gaining NCAA Division I All-American status. She reached the singles final and won the doubles title at last week’s SoCal Pro Circuit opener in Rancho Santa Fe and again finds herself playing both draws entering the weekend.
Kozyreva and her Russian teammate, Veronica Miroshnichenko, won their doubles semifinal on Friday, 6-3, 6-1, and will play for the championship on Saturday against UCLA’s Hance and Makenna Jones (No. 3 seed), a 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 winner over American Makenna Thiel and Chia Yi Tsao, of Chinese Taipei.
Rancho Santa Fe resident and Torrey Pines High School alumnus Jacob Brumm and his old Baylor University teammate, Tadeas Paroulek from Czech Republic will vie for the University of San Diego Open’s men’s doubles championship on Saturday against India’s Siddhant Banthia and Japan’s Yuta Kikuchi. Brumm, 23, won his only ITF doubles title with outgoing University of San Diego senior August Holmgren last year in Tunisia.
Brumm-Paroulek (the No. 4 seed), knocked off Newbury Park’s Wally Thayne and Quinn Vandecasteele, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 10-8 (third-set tiebreaker) in Friday’s semifinal. Banthia-Kikuchi eliminated the last remaining USD Torero in this week’s event, Blake Kasday and Jett Middleton, 6-1, 2-6, 10-5 (third-set tiebreaker).
Saturday’s men’s and women’s singles semifinals and doubles finals will be live-streamed at here.
Next week is the final San Diego County stop on the SoCal Pro Circuit, at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. It features men’s and women’s main draws of 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams and is open to the public, with free admission.
The SoCal Pro Circuit will then resume June 27-July 3 at Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates before moving onto Los Caballeros Sports Village in Fountain Valley July 4-10, and concluding July 11-17 at Lakewood Tennis Center in Lakewood.