Saturday, April 11, 2015

Roseville's Riffice advances to Easter Bowl semis

   Northern California's singles hopes in the Easter Bowl rest with Sam Riffice.
   The 14th-seeded Riffice, from Roseville in the Sacramento area, beat No. 10 Mwendwa Mbithi of Deerfield Beach, Fla., 6-1, 7-5 on Friday to reach the boys 18 semifinals at Indian Wells.
   Unseeded Cameron Klinger, from the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, was unable to join Riffice. Klinger lost to top-seeded Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3 after leading 3-1 with two service breaks in the third set.
   In today's semis, Riffice will take on second-seeded William Blumberg of Greenwich, Conn., and Fritz will play fourth-seeded Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz. Blumberg topped eight-seeded Catalin Mateas of Braintree, Mass., 7-6 (3), 6-4.
   Riffice is 0-2 against Blumberg, including a 6-4, 7-6 (4) decision last week in the round of 16 at the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson in the Los Angeles area. The 17-year-old Blumberg, ranked 11th in the world among juniors, went on to win the title.
   Riffice last December joined Grigor Dimitrov as the only players to sweep the boys 16 singles titles at the Eddie Herr International Championships and the Orange Bowl. The tournaments were held back-to-back in Bradenton, Fla., and Plantation, Fla., respectively.
   Dimitrov, a 23-year-old Bulgarian and the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova, is the 11th-ranked man in the world after ascending to a career-high No. 8 in August.
   Riffice, who celebrated his 16th birthday on March 1, trains at the USTA center in Boca Raton, Fla.
   Meanwhile, Riffice and Klinger will meet in the boys 18 doubles final.
   Sixth-seeded Vasil Kirkov of Tampa, Fla., and Riffice edged fifth-seeded Trent Bryde of Suwanee, Ga., and Emil Reinberg of Atlanta 7-6 (5), 3-6 [10-8].
   Klinger and Ponwith defeated Jake DeVine of Los Altos Hills in the San Francisco Bay Area and 15-year-old Patrick Kypson of Greenville, N.C., 6-4, 6-4. 

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