Friday, January 12, 2018

Altamirano reaches 25K singles, doubles semis

Sacramento's Collin Altamirano had a chance
to go down in collegiate tennis history but chose
to turn pro. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Collin Altamirano turned down a chance to become the fourth man to win four NCAA team titles.
   Instead, the Sacramentan turned pro last summer out of Virginia.
   Altamirano conceivably could have joined Stanford's Paul Goldstein and USC's Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen as the only men to accomplish the feat. Henrik Wiersholm was in the same position as Altamirano but chose to redshirt after three seasons at Virginia.
   "I didn't go to college to win titles," Altamirano, 22, admitted to press aide Steve Pratt today after reaching the singles and doubles semifinals at the $25,000 Long Beach (Calif.) Pro Futures Tournament. "Luckily I got to experience that, and I'll always be thankful for that. But to win four titles wasn't always on the goal list, to be honest."
   Altamirano, in fact, told coach Brian Boland last January that he would forgo his senior year.
  "Tennis has been my focus for my entire life, and I was just so eager to get out here and start doing this for a living," said Altamirano, the USTA boys 18 champion in 2013. "I just wanted to. At the end of the day, I wanted to just do what I loved.
   "I loved it at Virginia; I love that program. But this is what I really want to do. I want to take school seriously when I'm ready."
   As it turned out, the 2017 season also was Boland's last at Virginia. After four NCAA team titles, all in the last five years, in 16 seasons as the Cavaliers' coach, Boland announced last March that he was leaving to become the USTA's head of men's player development.
   Altamirano, the singles runner-up in Long Beach last year, defeated Alex Rybakov, a junior All-American at Texas Christian, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2.
   The unseeded Altamirano will meet third-seeded Kaichi Uchida of Japan. Uchida, who has trained at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for the past five years, dismissed Israeli qualifier Daniel Cukierman, a USC freshman, 6-0, 6-2.
   In the other semifinal, sixth-seeded J.C. Aragone, Altamirano's former teammate at Virginia from  Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles area, will play qualifier Emilio Gomez, a former USC star from Ecuador.
   Gomez ousted top-seeded Austin Krajicek of Bryan, Texas, 6-3, 7-6 (8). Krajicek reached the final of the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger in 2015, losing to Australian John Millman.
   Alternates Altamirano and Alexander Lebedev, a Notre Dame junior from Island Park, N.Y., held off unseeded Krajicek and Jack Pulliam, a high school senior from Manhattan Beach in the Los Angeles region, 6-1, 3-6 [10-7).
   Pulliam will play at Texas A&M, Krajicek's alma mater. Krajicek won the 2011 NCAA doubles title at Stanford with Jeff Dadamo.

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