Sam Groth and Nicole Gibbs are giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the world of professional tennis all year long in My Tennis Life. To read more updates from Sam and Nicole, go to tennischannel.com.
My first tournament back on hard courts was a good one. It was my third trip to Aptos, a place where I hadn't previously played great tennis, but it was a good fit in my schedule this year.
I was the last direct acceptance into the main-draw singles and drew Bjorn Fratangelo in the first round. It's the fourth time I've played him in the last year, winning all three times, and he came out fired up. I got broken in the first game but got myself back into the match, breaking at 4-3. I ended up losing the first set in a tiebreak but came back to win, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.
In the second round I had another tough three-setter against Jason Jung, again losing the first set but winning 6-0 in the third.
In the quarters I played a young Aussie, Akira Santillan. I got through in straight sets, 7-5- 7-6, before losing to eventual champion Alexander Bublik in the semifinals. It was my third semifinal in a row and my first on hard courts since last October. I definitely feel like I'm making good progress and pushing back up the rankings.
I had a great week in Aptos overall. I had a really nice host family I stayed with for the week who looked after me well. It was nice to get out of hotels for a week. Now I'm in Vancouver and will play on Tuesday. It's the last week before US Open qualies, so I'm hoping for another good run.