LAKEWOOD, Calif., July 16, 2022 (by Steve Pratt)
Hudson Rivera has been the prototypical SoCal Pro Circuit player over the past seven weeks, and currently finds himself in the semifinals of the final weekend of the six-tournament ITF World Tour Tennis Tour swing taking place at the Lakewood Tennis Center.
The 18-year-old high school senior from Rancho Santa Fe, Rivera has taken advantage of proximity to his hometown in playing his first five career ITF pro-level events going 11-4 and is currently riding a six-match winning streak having won three qualifying rounds and three rounds in the main draw to earn valuable ATP ranking points and pro-level experience this week in Lakewood.
The only SoCal Pro Circuit event Rivera missed was to take on SoCal’s best junior players in winning the USTA SoCal Junior Sectionals June 11-19 held at last week’s Pro Circuit site Los Caballeros Sports Village.
The qualifier Rivera – who is among the nation’s top college recruits and considering powerhouses USC, UCLA, Stanford and Harvard – beat No. 7-seeded Tsung-Hao Huang from Taipei on Friday in the quarterfinals, 7-6 (8), 6-2. He will next face former Arizona State player and No. 4-seeded Nathan Ponwith in a semifinal on Saturday as he continues his quest for his first Pro Circuit title.
Just seven weeks ago, Rivera had no ATP points or ranking and was granted a wild-card into the first tournament at his hometown event at Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club where he won two rounds for his first points before falling to NCAA singles runner-up August Holmgren of USD 6-4 in the third set. He entered this week’s tournament with a ranking of No. 1,516 and beat top SoCal junior Learner Tien in the second round in straight sets.
In the other men’s semifinal, it will be current University of Georgia player and No. 5-seeded Ethan Quinn against No. 3 Jaimee Floyd Angele from France. Quinn advanced by taking out unseeded 17-year-old Kyle Kang from Fullerton, 6-3 6-4. Kang upset top-seeded Omni Kumar of Irvine in the Round of 16 on Thursday. Kang has seen his ATP ranking jump over the course of playing all six SoCal Pro Circuits where it currently stands at No. 965.
In the women’s semifinals, No. 1-seeded Dabin Kim of Korea will play Martina Okalova of Slovakia while No. 5 Jiangxue Han from China takes on USC’s incoming freshman and top recruit and teenager Madison Sieg, the No. 2 seed from Greenwich, Conn. Sieg took out future Trojan teammate and Week 4 SoCal Pro Circuit singles and doubles winner Eryn Cayetano from Corona on Friday, 6-1 6-4.
In the women’s doubles final on Saturday to kick off play at 10 a.m., Corona resident and University of Wisconsin sophomore Taylor Cataldi and partner Isabella Chhiv, a rising senior at Portola High School in Irvine will face Makenna Jones and Brienne Minor. In the men’s doubles final to conclude play later in the day, Bryce Nakashima from Rancho Santa Fe and Minnesota teenager Bjorn Swenson will face No. 2 Eduardo Nava of Woodland Hill and Ponwith in the men’s doubles final.