Friends and foes

South American pals to face off in RWI Pro Circuit singles final
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LOOMIS — As Victor Estrella ripped forehand winners left and right Saturday afternoon in the RWI Pro Circuit Tournament at Del Oro High School, his buddy Ricardo Hocevar urged him on with each swing. “Buena, buena,” Hocevar repeated, nodding at Estrella. The compliments may not be as abundant today at 11 a.m. when Hocevar faces Estrella in the championship match. Both South American professionals cruised through their semifinal matches in straight sets Saturday. Not only will they face each other in the singles final, they’ll team up in the doubles final against Daniel King-Turner and G.D. Jones. “I’ve got singles finals tomorrow and doubles finals tomorrow – I really want to win,” said Estrella, who is the top-ranked player from the Dominican Republic. “It’s the first time I’ve played with (Hocevar) and in singles I think it’s going to be a nice match tomorrow. He’s playing very good.” Hocevar, from Brazil, rolled past American Ryler De Heart 6-4, 6-3 in his semifinal match. He’ll be playing in his 10th tournament final today and gunning for his seventh title. “I’m very happy for me and Victor right now,” Hocevar said. It took Estrella a few games to figure out Jose Statham in his semifinal. Statham didn’t give up a point on his serve through the first three games. Estrella then broke his serve twice, but missed on his two chances to serve out the set as Statham fought back, forcing a tiebreaker. Estrella cut down on his errors and served steady the rest of the way. The 28-year-old won the tiebreaker 7-4 and made quick work of Statham in the second set, winning 6-1. “When I was serving for the first set, I missed two easy forehands and had a double fault,” Estrella said. “But in the tiebreak I played very good. I played so good in the second set, it was much better.” The winner of today’s singles final will win more than $2,000 at the RWI tournament, which features a purse of $15,000. Today’s final will begin at 11 a.m. with the doubles final to follow. The tournament is free to the public. For more information, visit