Vale Wins SoCal Pro Circuit Event In San Diego

Duarte Vale (photo: SoCal Pro Circuit)

SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 13, 2022 (by Damian Secore)

On the second week of the SoCal Pro Circuit, Jacob Brumm and Kimmi Hance scored the first two championships for homegrown Southern California players from the ITF World Tennis Tour’s new six-event series.

Rancho Santa Fe resident and former Torrey Pines High School standout Brumm, 23, partnered with his past Baylor University teammate, Tadeas Paroulek, to rally back for a 0-6, 6-2, 11-9 triumph over India’s Siddhant Banthia and Japan’s Yuta Kikuchi in Saturday’s men’s doubles final at the University of San Diego.

The women’s half of Super Saturday for Southern California was completed when UCLA freshman and Torrance resident Kimmi Hance, 19, and 24-year-old Makenna Jones, a University of North Carolina product and 2021 NCAA Division I women’s doubles national champion, combined for their first ITF title in capturing the women’s doubles final, 6-3, 6-3, over Russians Maria Kozyreva and Veronica Miroshnichenko.

Hance earned 15 WTA Tour ranking points and split $955 in prize money with Jones.

It was the second overall ITF pro doubles title for Brumm, who won in Tunisia with the University of San Diego’s August Holmgren in 2021. Brumm, who played the 2021-22 NCAA season at Baylor as a graduate student after four years of tennis and an astrophysics degree earned at California (UC Berkeley), garnered 15 ATP Tour ranking points and shared the $930 first-place prize with Paroulek.

Sunday’s University of San Diego Open singles finals also produced a pair of first-time ITF World Tennis Tour champions in Portugal’s Duarte Vale, 23, and China’s Jiangxue Han, 20.

In what was the weekend’s most dramatic final, 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, ended a three-hour, 45-minute marathon of a match by capitalizing on his fifth match point to down sixth-seeded Scottsdale, Ariz. resident and former Arizona State product Nathan Ponwith, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5.

“It feels amazing. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for quite a while,” said Vale, who doesn’t remember ever playing a longer best-of-three-sets match in any competition. “I’m so tired … I do feel like it couldn’t have been any other way for me. These types of matches always seem to come my way a little too often. I think this is a very typical match for me to have to win my first pro tournament.”

Vale lost the first set and was down 5-2 in the second set, where he eventually fought off five match points against on the way to forcing, and winning, a tiebreaker.

“Digging a big hole in the second (set) … I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try to make it as hard as possible on him and fight for every single point and see what happens. And in the end, when you do that, you give yourself a chance. You have to have courage and a little luck, and I think I had both today. It fell to my side, but it could have easily gone his way.”

Han, who will be a returning sophomore to USC’s women’s tennis team next season and has past competed in Junior Wimbledon and Junior US Open and won seven ITF Junior singles titles, broke through for her first ITF crown on the USTA Pro Circuit with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 triumph over 18year-old Ya Yi Yang of Chinese Taipei.

“Oh my God, I was so nervous. I feel more relieved than happy … the pressure,” Han said. “I just fight on the court, fight for every ball. Fight on!”

Vale garnered 15 ATP Tour ranking points and $2,160 of the $15,000 purse for his victory, while Ponwith gained eight ATP Tour ranking points and $1,272 in prize money. Han earned 15 WTA Tour ranking points and $2,352 in prize money while Yang notched eight WTA Tour ranking points and collected $1,470.

Monday begins the final San Diego County stop on the SoCal Pro Circuit, at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. The event 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. Doubles finals will take place on Saturday, June 18 with singles finals to follow on Sunday, June 19.

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.