Past Pepperdine Star Carolyn Campana Campaigning for SoCal Pro Series Double This Weekend in San Diego - USTA Southern California




Carolyn Campana



JUNE 8, 2024

Carolyn Campana
Jacob Bullard and Max McKennon

Top: Former Pepperdine Wave Carolyn Campana competing in her quarterfinal match at the SoCal Pro Series in San Diego.

Bottom: SoCal natives and Arizona State teammates Jacob Bullard and Max McKennon are into the men’s doubles final at Barnes Tennis Center.

(Photos – Lexie Wanninger/USTA SoCal)


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Carolyn Campana is the last of a trio of ex-Pepperdine University players that reached the Sweet 16 in this week’s SoCal Pro Series $15,000-purse ITF World Tour/USTA Pro Circuit tournament. As she enters the weekend at Barnes Tennis Center, she hopes to ride the winning wave twice more to experience the sweet taste of a first professional ITF women’s singles title.

Campana, 24, upended top-seeded Dasha Ivanova, 7-5, 6-3, on Friday to advance to her first ITF women’s singles semifinal, where will meet Arizona resident and 16-year-old junior Maya Iyengar at 10 a.m. Saturday.

What’s more, Campana will attempt to win her first ITF doubles title with Swede Lisa Zaar, who served as Pepperdine’s No. 1 player as a senior this past NCAA season, as the No. 2 seed moved into Saturday’s women’s doubles final with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory over Bronte Murgett and Sarah Rokusek. Zaar won two of her three ITF World Tour doubles titles last year.

The ex-Waves face 2023-24 USC teammates and No. 1 seed Eryn Cayetano and Lily Fairclough in Saturday afternoon’s final. Cayetano-Fairclough rallied past Tenika Mcgiffin and Vivian Yang, 6-7 (6), 6-2, 12-10 (10-point, third-set tiebreaker), in Friday’s other women’s doubles semifinal.

The 23-year-old USC graduate Cayetano, raised in Long Beach and Corona, and Fairclough, 18, each own three ITF World Tour doubles titles. Fairclough won hers in 2023. Cayetano won doubles crowns in each of the SoCal Pro Series’ first two years.

This week marked the 24th ITF women’s singles tournament – and 10th time in the main draw – for Campana, a 2022-2023 Pepperdine graduate student. The only other pro tournament where she had made it out of the first round was at a $15,000 ITF event in Brossard, Canada in March.

Campana previously participated in the SoCal Pro Series in 2022 and 2023 but could not get out of qualifying in three of those four tournaments. Her only main draw appearance resulted in a first-round defeat in July 2023 at Lakewood Tennis Center. Prior to capping her NCAA career at Pepperdine, Campana played her freshman year at Vanderbilt and at Wake Forest for three seasons.

Friday’s quarterfinals presented an opportunity for Campana sisters to reach the semis but junior player Aspen Schuman, 16, thwarted that notion, knocking off 23-year-old Anna Campana, a 2023-24 Pepperdine graduate student, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

For the second week in as many 2024 SoCal Pro Series tournaments, the top two seeds reached Saturday’s men’s singles semifinals.

Top-seeded left-hander Learner Tien, the 18-year-old Irvine resident, cruised past New Zealander Isaac Becroft, 6-2, 6-0 in Friday’s quarterfinals. Tien faces former Texas A&M standout and No. 7 seed Noah Schachter, who helped to defeat Tien and partner Sebastian Gorzny in the first round of this week’s doubles tournament.

Aiming for back-to-back singles titles in Week 2 of the 2024 SoCal Pro Series, Tien (No. 434 ATP ranking) has yet to drop a set this week. The two-time reigning USTA Boys’ 18s national hardcourt champion could vault into the top 400 of the ATP Tour world rankings with another singles title this weekend.

San Diego native and Westview High School alum Alafia Ayeni (No. 520 ATP ranking), the No. 2 seed, tallied a 7-6 (6), 6-3 victory over Australian Joshua Charlton to advance to his first ITF semifinal since Ayeni competed in his lone 2023 SoCal Pro Series tournament at Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates last June.

Friday’s victory also bought Ayeni, 24, an extra week at home, as he plans to remain in the draw for next week’s SoCal Pro Series tournament at the University of San Diego. He was leaning towards traveling to Croatia to train for the upcoming summer Challenger Tour season if he had fallen short of weekend play.

Prior to last week’s start of the 2024 SoCal Pro Series, Ayeni had played two matches and spent less than two weeks in the U.S. this year while living and training in Argentina and playing internationally.

Said Ayeni: “I get to do my own cooking. This (SoCal Pro Series) might be my third (tournament) in the U.S. I think the last time I was here (for a week in Southern California), I played the one at Jack Kramer. At the beginning of the year, I felt like I could make a push. I felt like I was training hard and I was playing well.”

Ayeni, the 2017 Easter Bowl Boys’ 18s singles champion and Cornell graduate (who finished his NCAA career at Kentucky as a graduate student in 2022-23), faces Mexico’s Alan Rubio, 25, in Saturday’s semifinal. Rubio, who blitzed Santa Barbara native Collin Altamirano, 6-1, 6-1, in his quarterfinal, also reached last week’s semifinal at Barnes Tennis Center in the 2024 SoCal Pro Series opener.

Newport Beach’s Max McKennon and Calabasas’ Jacob Bullard, senior teammates at Arizona State this past year, advanced to their first ITF World Tour men’s doubles final after ousting second-seeded Schachter and San Diego resident and College of the Desert product Jared Thompkins, 7-6 (5), 7-5. 

McKennon-Bullard will play Australian Jeremy Jin and Great Britain’s Lui Maxted in Saturday’s 10 a.m. final. This week is McKennon’s eighth ITF doubles event, and Bullard’s ninth. Maxted played on Texas Christian’s 2023-24 NCAA Division I national championship team while Jin finished his freshman year at the University of Florida.

Carlsbad residents Katie Codd, 20, and Julieta Pareja, 15, fell in Friday’s women’s singles quarterfinals. University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) graduate and former ITA All-American Sara Daavettila, who won the singles and doubles titles at last year’s SoCal Pro Series event at Barnes Tennis Center, eliminated Duke rising junior Codd, 6-4, 6-1.

Pareja, the youngest competitor in the 2024 SoCal Pro Series coming off her freshman year of high school at Carlsbad Seaside Academy, was one game away from her first ITF semifinal but dropped a difficult 7-6 (0), 2-6, 5-7 decision to Iyengar. Pareja lost the last three games of the three-hour and four-minute match.

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