Last week was another strong on the pro tour for players with college ties. The unstoppable doubles duo of Rob Galloway (Wofford '15) and Ben Lock (Florida State '16) ran their winning streak to 23 after winning a sixth straight doubles title. Galloway and Lock won a third straight doubles title in South Africa after previously winning three straight in Kuwait. They won their first three matches in straight sets and then in the finals of the South Africa F3 in Stellenbosch they edged Jaime Pulgar-Garcia (NC State '12) and Javier Pulgar-Garcia (San Diego State '12) 7-6, 6-7, 10-5. Lock's ranking is now a new career high of 247 while Galloway has a new career high of 284. Galloway finished the year with seven doubles titles while Lock won nine. 

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While John Isner was keeping Team World alive in the Laver Cup there were several other players with college ties that were leaving their mark on pro events across the globe. Ryan Shane, who won the 2015 NCAA singles championship during his junior season at Virginia, swept both the singles and doubles titles at the $15K Laguna Niguel (CA) USA 31 Futures. Shane teamed up with former ACC rival Ronnie Schneider to win the doubles title with a 7-5, 6-2 win over TCU senior Trevor Johnson and BYU graduate Patrick Kawka. Two days later Shane won his third career singles title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Denver graduate Henry Craig. Shane only dropped one set on the week and won his last four matches going away. Shane picked up 18 ATP points with the win and when they are added in next week he'll have a new career high ranking of around 480. 

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Plenty of current, future, and former college players were in action today at pro events all across the globe. There are a pair of Futures events in the United States this week with one taking place on the clay in Rochester and another on the hard courts in Winston-Salem. Recent Virginia graduate Thai-Son Kwiatkowski won the longest match of the day with the former Hoo defeating TCU's Alex Rybakov in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Rybakov came back from a 4-1 first set deficit to take the set in a tiebreak 7-5 but Kwiatkowski would get a split by taking the second set in a tiebreak 11-9. Rybakov led that second set tiebreak 5-3 but he never had a match point. Kwiatkowski broke Rybakov to start the third set and he'd add another break to go up 5-2 and would close it out with a love hold to win 6-7, 7-6, 6-2. 

Kwiatkowski will face recent South Florida graduate Sasha Gozun in the second round after Gozun defeated 16 year-old Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 7-6. Other players with college ties that advanced to the second round are Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State), Winston Lin (Columbia), Alexander Knight (Michigan), Sam Monette (Indiana), Dennis Nevolo (Illinois), Charles Broom (Dartmouth), Cameron Silverman (Elon). Julian Zlobinsky (Texas), and Ohio State commit John McNally. 

Ryan Shane (Virginia), Wil Spencer (Georgia), and Riley Smith (USC) scored upset wins in Winston-Salem to join the nine other players with college ties in the second round. 

Shane defeated the No. 2 seed Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) in a pair of tiebreak sets. In the first set tiebreak Shane came back from a 4-0 deficit to take it 8-6 but Sarkissian rebounded in the second set and went ahead 3-0. Shane won three straight to even it at 3-3 and he'd break for 5-4 but Sarkissian broke at love to knot it at 5-5. After an exchange of holds, Shane raced out to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreak and ended up winning it 7-4. Shane will meet Henry Craig (Denver) in the second round after Craig defeated last year's Kalamazoo Boys 18 runner-up Vasil Kirkov 6-1, 6-3

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Typically when you double fault 15 times in a match your name ends up in the loss column but on Saturday in Waco the guy that had a tougher time on his serve came out on top. Recent Virginia graduate Ryan Shane and recent Illinois graduate Jared Hiltzik went toe-to-toe for just over two hours and when the dust cleared Shane had won his second career pro singles title with a come from behind three-set win. Hiltzik rolled through the first set in 30 minutes after breaking Shane's 1-1 and 2-4 service games and then in the second set Hiltzik broke in a two-deuce game to take a 3-2 lead. Shane would immediately break back from 15/40 to even it at 3-3 but a few games later Hiltzik broke again to go up 6-5. Hiltzik would be unable to serve it out as Shane broke from 15/40 to send it a tiebreak. 

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The singles final is all set in Waco and it'll be a pair of recent college graduates meeting as Jared Hiltzik squares off against Ryan Shane. Hiltzik (14.57) dropped the opening set 6-1 to recent Tulane graduate Dominik Koepfe (14.31) but the recent Illinois graduate was able to turn the tide in the second and third sets. Hiltzik came back from 0/40 down to hold for 2-1 in the second and fought off another break point to hold for 4-3. Hiltzik then converted his only break point opportunity of the set when he broke Koepfer from 30/40 to go ahead 5-3 and then he served out the set from 40/15 to take it 6-3. In the third set Hiltzik got a huge hold for 3-3 after he went down 0/40 and then a few games later he broke Koepfer from 15/40 to go ahead 5-4. Hiltzik served it out from 40/30 to get the win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in 2 hours and 14 minutes. 

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Friday, 02 December 2016 07:53

Hiltzik, Koepfer, & Shane into semis in Waco

Three of the four semifinalists in Waco just finished up their college eligibility in May but they felt right at home on Thursday on the indoor courts at Baylor University in the $25K USA F39 Futures. Ryan Shane, who won the 2015 NCAA Singles Championship on these same indoor courts, advanced to his first semifinal since Tallahassee last December after defeating the second seed Tim Van Rijthoven in straight sets. Shane started off the match by fighting off four break points and holding in a seven-deuce game (won't see that in college tennis) and then followed that up by breaking for an early 2-0 lead. Van Rijthoven came back and took five of the next six games but Shane held and then broke for 5-5 after Van Rijthoven had three set points up 40/0. Shane held for 6-5 and then went up 0/40 on Van Rijthoven's serve but he couldn't get the break and off to a tiebreak it went.

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Virginia senior and top seed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski advanced to the semifinals at the American Collegiate Invitational  after Arkansas senior Mike Redlicki retired down 6-4, 3-0. Kwiatkowski broke Redlicki to go ahead 5-4 in the first and then after serving the set out he broke two more times before Redlicki threw in the towel. Below is a  post-match comment from Arkansas head coach Andy Jackson via Arkansas's website:

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