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Holt and Los Al's Smith fall in boys doubles final at U.S. Open

STAFF WRITER

Riley Smith won’t be at school Monday, having missed his flight from New York. But the Los Alamitos High senior has a good excuse.

Smith and his doubles partner Brandon Holt played in Sunday’s rain-delayed U.S. Open Junior boys doubles championship, losing 7-5, 7-6 (3) to Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov at the USTA National Tennis Center.

The three-hour rain delay forced Smith and his father, Peter Smith, to postpone their flight home until Monday. It’s doubtful his teachers will mind.

“We played good, but they are better than us,” Riley Smith said in a telephone interview Sunday. “We still had a great run, though.”

Smith and Holt were awarded a wild-card entry after they finished third at the USTA Boys’ 18s doubles championship earlier this summer in Kalamazoo, Mich. They then proceeded to beat one seeded team en route to the final.

Smith and Holt had their chances in the final, coming up with timely service breaks in both sets. Smith was serving at 5-3, 30-15 in the second set when the rain began. When the weather cleared, Aliassime and Shapovalov broke Smith’s serve and went on to close out the match.

“After the delay, they just came out and ripped it,” Smith said. “It was unreal.”

Peter Smith, the men’s coach at USC, said the players were disappointed to have come so close and lose.

“I think when they sit back in a couple of days and think about this, they will be very proud of their effort,” Peter Smith said.

Smith, a senior, is the No. 1 player for Los Alamitos, while Holt plays for Palos Verdes High, where he won the CIF-Southern Sectional Individual championship in singles. Holt, the son of tennis legend Tracy Austin, was the first Palos Verdes player to win the title since Pete Sampras in 1987.

Smith and Holt have played each other often in the junior ranks and last year decided to team up. It proved to be a smart decision. Smith and Holt won the USTA Southern California Boys 18s doubles title.

Peter Smith said their personalities and games mesh well on the court.

“They are like fire and ice,” Peter Smith said. “Riley is a big kid. He’s emotional, while Brandon is steady. They have different personalities and different games which makes them very good doubles players.”

Smith and Holt are both planning on attending USC next fall.


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