The Farmer’s Classic tennis tournament on the beautiful grounds of UCLA took place July 23rd- 29th and American Sam Querrey won for the 3rd time in 4 yrs only missing last year when he was unable to play due to an elbow injury. The final was a blowout as Ricardas Berankis was clearly outplayed and lost 6-0, 6-2 to Querrey. Berankis, from Lithuania, came through the qualifiers and beat some good players to reach the finals without even losing a set. It started with upsetting #7 seed Bjorn Phau, then Igor Andreev who was once #19 in the world, then #4 seed Nicolas Mahut and finally #6 seed Marinko Matosevic. Berankis (pictured below), 22 yrs old, was ranked #141 but he will make a significant jump after this tournament.
Querrey is from Thousand Oaks and resides in Santa Monica, which made his commute not too far away for one of his favorite tournaments he said in the post match interviews. At 6’6”, he towered over his 5’8” opponent and also said when you are up 6-0, 3-0 against a good player; you know you are not going to cruise three more games. Many people would have doubted that but Berankis finally got on the board and the crowd gave him a huge cheer. However, the biggest cheers were for the local Querrey including many of his family and Samurai friends supporting him the whole week. He started the week #57 in the world but is looking to move up to the top 32 for the US Open and get back into the top 20 as the season goes one.
The tournament lacked some higher ranked and big name players due to the Olympics happening at the same time. I asked tournament director Bob Kramer if the tournament could be moved to another week and he replied there is no and there was no other time to move it to. It was a shame as this tournament has seen its fair share of star players in the past including Sampras, Agassi, Becker, McEnroe, Connors, Courier, Chang, Del Potro and more.
The doubles final was one by Ruben Bemelmans & Xavier Malisse over Jamie Delgado & Ken Skupski 7-6, 4-6, 10-7 which missed having the Bryan Brothers play as they are in London as well.
There were quite a few other Americans in the draw including past #4 in the world James Blake who lost a tough thrilling 3 set match Tobias Kamke in the first round; Jack Sock (pictured below in the orange cap) also lost in the first round to Flavio Cipolla 6-3, 6-1 (pictured below in the black shorts). I asked Sock after the match about it in the press conference and he said he didn’t sleep well and he was hoping for a Tuesday match to get an extra day of rest. Sock won the mixed doubles with Melanie Oudin at last year’s US Open as a wild card, which was incredible. He also mentioned he was in between coaches this week and will have ex-Swede & top 10 player Joakim Nystrom as his coach starting this upcoming week;
Ex USC alum & 6 time national champion Steve Johnson lost in the first round here as he is having a tough time adjusting to the professional level and travel; 2 Americans squared off in the first round with Michael Russell beating Jesse Levine and advancing to the quarter-finals defeating #1 seed Benoit Paire along the way; Finally, Rajeev Ram (pictured below) was super impressive getting to the semis before losing to Querrey. He beat fellow American Brian Baker (pictured below in the orange shirt) in a tough first round match up. Baker has made a great comeback this year after being out much of the last 6 yrs with many injuries and numerous surgeries. He made it to the finals of an ATP tourney earlier this year and made it to the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Ram played too well with his serving and consistent groundstrokes.
For more info and tickets to next year’s tournament, visit www.farmersclassic.com