Victoria Flores Advances To Semifinals At Kramer Club SoCal Pro Series Event

Victoria Flores (photo: Jon Mulvey/USTA SoCal)

ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, June 29, 2024 (by Steve Pratt)

A trip out west to her favorite place to visit was all the motivation Fort Dodge, Iowa, native Victoria Flores needed to enter her first-ever SoCal Pro Series tournament this week.

The 25-year-old No. 5 seeded Flores held off fellow Pepperdine graduate and No. 2 seeded Jessica Failla in the quarterfinals on Friday at the Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates as she needed a third-set tiebreaker to advance for the second time in three days, 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (3).

“Jessica and I overlapped and were never teammates but she’s still a former Wave so it was a special win,” said Flores, who served for the match up 6-5 before Failla broke to force a deciding breaker. “That third set was a battle and back and forth.”

Flores, who currently trains in Atlanta, was an All-American at Georgia Tech in singles and doubles before heading to Southern California as a grad student in 2022 and playing in Malibu.

“I’ve been playing mostly pro events on the east coast, but I saw that there was a two- or three-week break so I thought I’d come to L.A. and play,” said Flores, who also trained a lot in Kansas City as a young child. “I just love it here and get to see some good friends and visit L.A. We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.”

Flores will next face No. 3 Amy Zhu on Saturday in her first ITF World Tennis Tour semifinal event in the United States having previously made the final of a $15K in Tunisia. Zhu played her college tennis at the University of Michigan.

Speaking of the Wolverines, it was another former Michigan star who provided the highlight of the day on the men’s side as No. 8 seed Patrick Maloney upset No. 1 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, ranked No. 286 in the world, to advance to Saturday’s semis, 6-1, 7-5.

“I started really well and my serve from the start was my weapon,” said Maloney, 24, playing in his third SoCal Pro Series event this summer. “I’ve never played Thai before but have known of him for years and know he’s a great player.”

The USTA Southern California took the Kramer Club location as a time to honor longtime legendary coach Robert Lansdorp before the evening match. Landsdorp first began teaching at the Kramer Club more than 50 years ago and led four players to the No. 1 ranking – Tracy Austin, Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova.

Austin was on hand and conducted a Q&A with Lansdorp in front of a who’s-who list of SoCal tennis greats, including past Lansdorp pupils Walter Redondo, Eliot Teltscher, Kimberly Po, Melissa Gurney, Justin Gimelstob and Otis Smith, just to name a few.

After Lansdorp was presented a plaque commemorating his long-standing coaching contributions to the area by USTA Southern California Executive Director Trevor Kronemann, a night match was held with qualifier Colton Smith from the University of Arizona taking out UCLA sophomore wild card Spencer Johnson from Ladera Ranch, Calif., 7-6 (6), 6-2.

In the other women’s semifinal starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, top-seeded Sahaja Yamalapalli of India takes on University of Florida junior Rachel Gailis.

In the Saturday doubles final the No. 2 Australian pairing of Lily Fairclough and Tenika McGiffin will face No. 3 seeded Anita Sahdiieva of Ukraine and Aussie Stefani Webb while on the men’s side top-seeded Maloney and Joshua Charlton take on unseeded Bryce Nakashima and Jack Anthrop.

To learn more about the SoCal Pro Series, go to: