» » Los Cab USTA Men’s Futures Event Down To Final Four

Los Cab USTA Men’s Futures Event Down To Final Four

Injury Forces Doubles Team Of Past And Present UCLA Bruins To Withdraw From Finals

Since turning professional in early June, Ronnie Schneider has made the finals of four USTA Futures doubles championships, winning three. His latest win, at the Los Cab USTA Men’s Futures event in Fountain Valley Friday, was by far his easiest.

He never swung a racquet.

Schneider, who grew up in Bloomington, Indiana and played on the University of North Carolina tennis team, and his partner Elliott Orkin, who played for the University of Florida, were set to face a Bruin connection in the doubles final: former UCLA tennis player Karue Sell and current Bruin Martin Redlicki.

However, Sell, who had won 18 consecutive matches in Claremont and Fountain Valley the past two-and-a-half weeks, was forced to withdraw from his quarterfinals match earlier in the day against Brazil’s Igor Marcondes due to a back injury. That spared Schneider double duty, as he had recently concluded his quarterfinals match against second-seeded Benjamin Locke, winning in two competitive sets, 6-4, 7-6(3).

For their victory, Schneider and Orkin earned $930 each, and 18 ATP ranking point.

In Saturday’s semifinal, Schneider and Marcondes face off, while Ryan Shane, who won the tournament two years ago when it was in Costa Mesa, will battle fellow American Henry Craig, who played tennis for the University of Denver, in a rematch of last week’s final in Laguna Niguel, which Shane won in two sets. (The two also happened to be the winning doubles partners in that event).

Schneider, 23, has never played in a Futures final.

“I wasn’t playing my best, to be honest,” said Schneider, about Friday’s singles victory. “But you don’t play your best every day, so you just have to compete, which I did. My backhand was off today, but when push came to shove I just competed and tried to go for it on big points. Now I’m just excited to maybe getting in my first singles championship.”

Schneider, who entered the tournament ranked 887 in the world, will play Marcondes, age 20, who is ranked 899 and will be playing in his first Futures semifinal. Shane, ranked 549, and Craig, ranked 1,059, play following the first match.

Shane, 23, is the only remaining seeded player in the mix, and is looking to build on his win last week. Like Schneider, Shane said his game wasn’t at its best Friday, something that concerned him in the early going against Belgian Michael Geerts, who knocked off the tournament’s top seed, Takanyi Garanganga, in the first round.

“I have two knees that have been bugging me and that causes me a little lack of movement,” said Shane, who won the NCAA singles title in 2015 with the University of Virginia. “And he’s a big hitter with a big serve and that put me on the defensive a lot today, so I just had to (capitalize) on every opportunity.”

Craig, 22, who earned a sponsor’s exemption to the event, will play in his third straight semifinal. He lost in the semis in Claremont two weeks ago and in the finals last week to Shane at Laguna Niguel 3-6, 3-6. Friday, he dropped the first set to France’s Arthur Rinderknech, 2-6, before battling back to win a fierce second set, 7-6(4), and then flattening his opponent in the third, 6-0.

Schneider and Marcondes are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by Shane and Craig.

Part of the developmental tour of the USTA, the free event, which ran for 18 years in Costa Mesa before moving to Fountain Valley last year is an opportunity to see the future of professional tennis today.

The singles final will be held Sunday, Oct. 1.

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