Tien Nets Third Singles Crown and Pareja Wins First Pro Title, Becoming Youngest SoCal Pro Series Champion - USTA Southern California




Learner Tien



JUNE 24, 2024

Learner Tien
Julieta Pareja
Campana Sisters

Top: Irvine’s Learner Tien made it three singles titles out of three SoCal Pro Series events with his win in Rancho Santa Fe.

Middle: Carlsbad’s Julieta Pareja, 15, won her first ITF World Tour singles title.

Bottom: Sisters Anna and Carolyn Campana, who played together at Pepperdine, took home the women’s doubles title.

(Photos – Lexie Wanninger/USTA SoCal)


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The concluding tournament of four in the 2024 SoCal Pro Series’ San Diego swing, onlookers at Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club on Sunday may have seen the end of an era for the series’ most decorated champion and a dawn of a new one, featuring another Southern California teenage prodigy, to be continued next year.

Irvine resident Learner Tien, 18, became the first player in SoCal Pro Series history (since 2022) to win three of its $15,000 ITF World Tour/USTA Pro Circuit men’s singles titles in consecutive starts, and within the same year, following a 6-3, 6-1 triumph over English qualifier Matthew Summers.

For the fourth time in her five matches this week, Carlsbad resident Julieta Pareja rallied from a set down and registered her first professional singles title, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, over seventh-seeded Torrance resident Kimmi Hance. Pareja, 15, became the youngest singles champion in SoCal Pro Series history in closing out her stay on the 2024 series.

“I’m really happy. I’ve played against great players and done well,” said Pareja, a wild card who recently completed her high school freshman year at Carlsbad Seaside Academy. “I’ve really just stayed well, mentally. Every point, it’s been a battle.”

Tien’s SoCal Pro Series story is one of affirmation. He has maintained a perfect 15-0 singles record on the 2024 SoCal Pro Series, spanning three of the past four weeks (he didn’t play Week 3). He ran this gauntlet after three months of inactivity in recovering from a fractured rib sustained in January. He has nothing left to prove on this series.

“I’m really happy that I’ve been able to get in, get out of all of these matches. Just get on the court, get my business done and come back the next day and do it again,” Tien said. “I feel like, before, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain playing this much without having drastic level dips. I feel like I’ve been progressing each week.”

Tien has accepted a wild card into an ATP Challenger Tour ($75,000) event in Michigan July 1-7 and will skip at least the next two weeks in this series. He will consider entering the SoCal Pro Series finale, July 8-14 at Lakewood Tennis Center, should he have an early exit from the Challenger event.

As silly as it sounds that an 18-year-old can leave a lasting legacy on a professional level, Tien is the winningest player in SoCal Pro Series history with four singles titles and two doubles titles; all achieved within the last 51 weeks, dating back to his championship double in his hometown.

“The first one is always pretty special. I think it’s cool I was able to win it there, of all places,” Tien said. “I feel like you don’t get to play (pro tournaments) at a lot of familiar places that you played junior events at that often. It’s cool to be able to stay at home and to have family and friends surrounding you when you play.”

Tien (No. 373 ATP ranking) collected 15 ATP ranking points and a $2,160 prize.

Pareja’s SoCal Pro Series story is one of discovery. Had the SoCal Pro Series never entered San Diego County, its youngest competitor in the 2024 swing may have yet to dabble in full-fledged professional competition and realize how her game measures up.

She has not featured in a women’s ITF/USTA Pro Circuit tournament outside of the five SoCal Pro Series events she has entered over 2023 and 2024. With the series leaving town, Pareja has nothing left to play, for now, on the pro level.

“It is expensive to travel. We just saw these (SoCal Pro Series events) last year and it was, like, it’s close by home so let’s play them,” Pareja said. “I’m really grateful to USTA SoCal for giving these opportunities to play in these types of tournaments. Being able to play at a high level close to home is great. I’m just taking advantage of every opportunity I have at every tournament.”

Only three weeks elapsed between the time Pareja earned her first WTA Tour singles ranking point and her first pro championship. She said this past month “is high on the list” of her best moments in tennis. A cause for celebration, surely.

“I’ll definitely go out for ice cream,” she said.

Pareja (No. 1,374 WTA ranking) gained 15 WTA ranking points and a $2,352 prize, while Hance received 10 WTA ranking points and a $1,470 runner-up share.

Potentially primed to be UCLA’s No. 1 player during her upcoming senior season, Hance is leaning toward making this week’s SoCal Pro Series event at Jack Kramer Club her third and last appearance on the swing. She was encouraged in reaching her first ITF World Tour/USTA Pro Circuit singles final.

“This is a big accomplishment for me,” Hance said. “I haven’t really been training too much. It’s the best result I’ve gotten, so maybe I should do that more often. I worked my way into the tournament and I definitely feel like I’m playing really great tennis.

“She (Pareja) is younger, she’s smaller. She looks like a 15-year-old. She’s had such a great tournament. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you’re good at the game, you’re good at the game.”

Hance, 21, endured a physically and emotionally difficult semifinal win, 5-7, 6-0, 7-6 (6), over UCLA teammate Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer, from Irvine.

Said Hance: “We’re so close. I consider her one of my best friends. You don’t want to beat your friend but … you have to put that aside. Last time I played her, I think I was 17 and she was, like, 15 and it was the day that she committed to UCLA; the day she committed, I beat her. I was like, ‘Thanks! Let’s go! Go Bruins!”

Sisters Anna and Carolyn Campana, who were college teammates at Wake Forest and then Pepperdine in 2023, won their first pro doubles title together on Saturday, 6-2, 6-3, over Brea native Brandy Walker and Jessica Alsola.

It was the first ITF World Tour/USTA Pro Circuit championship for Anna Campana, 23. Carolyn Campana, 24, made the doubles final for the third consecutive week on the SoCal Pro Series, and for the second week in a row with Anna. Carolyn won her first pro doubles crown with 2023-24 Waves No. 1 player Lisa Zaar in Week 2.

The Campanas earned 15 WTA doubles ranking points each and split a $955 winner’s check. Alsola and Walker collected 10 WTA doubles ranking points each and split a $515 runner-up prize.

The sisters were urged to stick it out for the San Diego swing by their mother, even at the expense of not being present for her birthday on Friday. They flew back home to San Francisco on Saturday evening to celebrate two occasions.

Said Anna Campana: “She (my mother) was, like, ‘That’s what I want for my birthday, for you guys to take home the title together.’ So, happy birthday, Mom!”

Added Carolyn Campana: “She (my mother) just was, like, ‘You had such a great week last week. Just go for it.’ And then here we are. She’s been watching all of our matches on the live stream. I don’t think we expected to be standing here right now, and to do it with your sister means a lot. It’s definitely hard to play, at times, with your siblings, but it’s also the greatest reward. You get to do it with your best friend.”

Australian Joshua Charlton won his fourth ITF World Tour men’s doubles crown this year and Patrick Maloney won his second ITF/USTA Pro Circuit doubles title with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over Pacific Beach resident Trevor Svajda, 18, and Adam Neff.

Svajda appeared in his first USTA Pro Circuit doubles final, and he lost to Tien, 3-6, 4-6, in Saturday’s singles semifinals in a rematch of the final at the 2023 USTA Boys 18s National (hardcourt) Championships.

This was Svajda’s lone 2024 SoCal Pro Series event as he left for England on Monday in preparation for the Wimbledon (junior boys) Championships, beginning July 6.

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