PALM VALLEY — Right before a cold front hit the Rio Grande Valley on Sunday afternoon, Jeffrey John Wolf concluded a very hot week of play as the 18-year-old American captured the singles title at the 2017 Harlingen Country Club Men’s $25,000 Futures tennis tournament.
Wolf won the championship by rallying to defeat compatriot Evan Zhu 6-7 (1), 6-1, 6-2 in the finals. His path to the title began with a straight-set first-round victory over Jeffrey Schorsch then another straight-set win against Igor Marcondes of Brazil in the second round. In the quarterfinals, he upended seventh-seeded Ulises Blanch 6-3, 6-2 and in the semifinals on Saturday he rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Strong Kirchheimer. For his efforts, Wolf received $3,600 of the $25,000 prize money in addition to 27 ranking points.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Zhu began his dizzying journey to the finals by defeating Sebastian Korda in the opening round after Korda retired with an injury. He then marched through the second round with a stunning 6-4, 6-4 win over the tournament’s top seed Nicolaas Scholtz of South Africa. In the quarterfinals against Alexei Popyrin of Australia, he dropped the fist set but rallied to win the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. And in Saturday’s semifinals, Zhu battled last year’s tournament runner-up Luke Bambridge of Great Britain to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory. Zhu’s runner-up finish got him $2,210 and 15 ranking points.
In doubles action earlier in the day, the United States team of Hunter and Yates Johnson held off the tournament’s No. 3 seeded team of Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant 7-6 (2), 6-3 to win the championship and a cool $1,550.
Johnson and Johnson’s road to the title began with a 6-2, 6-0 first-round win over Christopher G. Haworth and Andre Saleh. They followed that up with a quarterfinals upset victory over the No. 4 seeded team of Ronnie Schneider and Ryan Shane before a semifinal win over Henry Patrick Cacciatore and Dennis Nevolo.
This year marked the 15th consecutive year the Futures tournament returned to Harlingen Country Club.