Thursday, July 22, 2021

NorCal native, NCAA champ Riffice loses in $52K Cary

No. 2 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India beat wild card Sam
Riffice in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals in Cary, N.C.
2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 2 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran, a 31-year-old left-hander from India, defeated Sam Riffice, a 22-year-old wild card originally from Sacramento, Calif., 6-2, 6-4 today in the second round of the $52,080 Atlantic Tire Championships on hardcourts in Cary, N.C. 
   Gunneswaran reached the Cary final last November and the semifinals of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2017.
   Riffice, now based in Orlando, Fla., won the NCAA singles title in May as a University of Florida junior after helping the Gators capture the team championship.
   Riffice also lost in the Cary doubles quarterfinals. The unseeded pair of Riffice and Ulises Blanch of Orlando fell to top seeds Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-3, 7-5. 
   Novikov won the Cary singles title in 2015 and the doubles crown last year with Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia. 
   ATP Tour — At least one player with strong ties to Northern California will reach the doubles final in Los Cabos, Mexico.
   Wild cards and San Francisco Bay Area natives Mackenzie McDonald and Sam Querrey are scheduled to play unseeded Hunter Reese of Knoxville, Tenn., and Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands in Friday's semifinals. Querrey won the singles title in 2017. 
   Reese and Verbeek edged top seeds Luke Bambridge and Ken Skupski of Great Britain in the first round on Tuesday. Querrey won the singles title in 2017.
   USTA Pro Circuit — Qualifier William Griffith, a former University of California, Berkeley standout from Fresno, Calif., topped No. 7 seed Dusty Boyer, a native of Grand Forks, N.D., 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the $15,000 Edwardsville (Ill.) Futures on hardcourts.

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