May 1st, 2017

American Teen Riffice’s Run Stopped in USTA Pro Circuit Vero Beach Final

General News Pro Tennis

From left: Calvin Hemery and Sam Riffice (photo: Randy Walker)

France’s Calvin Hemery, appearing in his second USTA Pro Circuit final in two weeks, defeated American qualifier Sam Riffice 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to win the $15,000 2017 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, held at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

The top-seeded Hemery was a finalist the previous week at the $15,000 Eagle Landing Tennis Classic presented by St. Vincent’s Healthcare in Orange Park, Fla., where as the top seed he was upset in the final by unseeded Felipe Mantilla of Colombia. The Vero final was a back and forth affair in the first set before Hemery took control and started to wear down his opponent on the green clay.

“He got off to a very hot start. I didn’t play well and he pushed me,” the 22-year-old Hemery said of Riffice. “I was a little bit more fresh, so I moved a little better.”

The 18-year-old Californian Riffice won nine straight matches over 10 days after emerging from the qualifying tournament, reaching his career-first USTA Pro Circuit final.

“I was a little tired and he definitely picked up his game,” said Riffice, who works with Vero Beach resident Ivan Lendl as part of the USTA’s Player Development program. “I was happy with the way I played. He just outplayed me today…I take a lot of positives from this.”

It was Hemery’s second career ITF/USTA Pro Circuit title after winning in Italy in 2015. Brazil’s Alex Blumenberg and Thales Turini won the doubles title, in the final defeating Hemery and Julien Cagnina of Belgium 6-4, 2-6, 10-7.

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