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Winning eight singles matches in nine days finally proved too much for Haythem Abid to overcome, as the 27-year-old veteran Tunisia Davis Cup player came out flat and fell to 28-year-old and unseeded Prakash Amritraj, 6-2, 6-1, on Saturday in the semifinals at the 17th annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pro Classic, a $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit men's event.
Amritraj will play No. 2-seeded fellow Southern Californian Daniel Kosakowski, who beat qualifier Daniel Nguyen, 7-6 (3), 6-3, on a scorching day at the Claremont Club. The final is set for 10 a.m.
Abid has played more than 50 Davis Cup ties for Tunisia, a country led by world Top 100 player Malek Jaziri, and which currently competes in the Euro African World Group II. "We've played some teams like Ghana, Zimbabwe and India," said the former UCLA Bruin Abid, who lives in Westwood and trains at the Weil Academy in Ojai. "For me, playing Davis Cup has really just kept the competitive juices flowing."
Abid's highest career singles ranking was No. 360, and the lefty has been hampered by a bum left wrist, which he had surgery on in 2008 and 2010. "It doesn't feel 100 percent but I'll go with 90," he said earlier in the week. He also played doubles with young Bruin Dennis Novikov but the pair lost in the second round.
Nguyen, 21, played Kosakowski, 20, tight in the first set, before Kosakowski went up 4-1 in the second and then continued serving well to pull out the match and make his fifth career ITF Futures final. His only Futures victory came in 2011 when he won the $15,000 Sacramento title. A runner-up at the $10,000 Irvine tournament in 2010, Kosakowski also fell in the Calabasas Futures final back in March of this year.
Kosakowski played doubles this week with his brother and coach Marcin, a former UC Santa Barbara standout who is now 31, as the two were the last to gain direct entry acceptance. He said the Bryan and Harrison brothers don't have too much to worry about. "It didn't go so well," he said, of the 6-1, 6-2 loss to Jason Jung and Mark Verryth.
"I think my brother's best days are behind him," he laughed. "Maybe we'll try it again someday, but yeah, he's a little bit past his prime."
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