By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
CALABASAS, Calif. – You can count World TeamTennis owner Mark Ein among the many tennis followers impressed with the play of young American Ryan Harrison.
Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles, got a close-up look at Harrison’s game on Thursday during Day 4 of the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, as Ein and doubles partner Kevin Kim lost to Harrison and Travis Rettenmaier, 6-1, 6-2, in a first-round doubles match at the $50,000 Pro Circuit event, being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
It was the second straight year Ein, a 45-year-old multi-millionaire and founder and chief executive officer of Venturehouse Group in Washington D.C., and his good friend Kim were granted the wild card by Calabasas tournament promoter Steve McAvoy, who also happens to call Kim one of his best friends.
"He was very mature and very composed and just has a complete game," Ein said of Harrison, who earlier in the day won his singles match and later won another round of doubles on the first dry day of the event. "It was just an unbelievable experience getting to play on center court against some of the best players in the world."
Ein said he was glad to have faced a team as tough as Harrison and Rettenmaier, the No. 3-seeded team in the tourney. "At this level, there’s not going to be an easy match so, I would rather play the team who is at the top of the sport. It’s easy to see why Ryan Harrison is being called the future of American tennis, and Travis made the quarterfinals of the French Open in doubles and is in the top 100."
Ein is a self-described 5.0 player who said he thought he "held my own out there," even recording several winners and holding his serve, down 5-1 in the second set. "I feel really good about it," he said. "It really is a George Plimpton-like fantasy for me, getting to play this tournament.
"I can confidently say this was the most fun I’ve ever had, losing 6-1, 6-2."
Harrison, being watched by new coach Martin Damm, was having some fun of his own in his first-set singles match. Down 6-1 in a tiebreaker against of one Ein’s Kastles’ players Bobby Reynolds, Harrison reeled off seven straight points to take the tiebreaker 8-6.
"That’s tennis for you," said Harrison, 18, and unseeded. "You just have to go for it at that point. He got nervous on two of the points, and I made a couple of good returns."
Asked who he was looking forward to playing most in the deep field of players, including top-seeded players Donald Young and Ryan Sweeting, Harrison smiled and said No. 3-seeded Robert Kendrick, who is his quarterfinal opponent on Friday.
"That’s who I play next. I’m taking it one match at a time. I’m not looking ahead of my next match."
Harrison said he loves playing in California and that his only two singles titles have come in the state – the $10,000 Costa Mesa event and a $15,000 Futures tournament in Chico. He even won a round at the Indian Wells Masters tournament in March.
Young also plays great in California, having won all four of his $50,000 events in the Golden State, including Aptos (2007), Sacramento (2008), Calabasas (2009) and Carson (2010).
"It’s a great field and a great tournament," said Young, who beat James Lemke, 6-4, 6-0, on Thursday. "I always like playing this event."
Singles Round of 16
(wc: wild card; q: qualifier)
Marinko Matosevic, Australia, (6) def. Greg Jones, Australia, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1
Robert Kendrick, U.S., (3) def. Tim Smyczek, U.S., (wc) 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4
Donald Young, U.S., (1) def. James Lemke, Australia, 6-4, 6-0
Amer Delic, Bosnia, def. Jamie Baker, Great Britain, 7-5, 6-4
Ryan Sweeting, U.S., (2) def. Gary Sacks, South Africa, 6-4, 6-2
Ryan Harrison, U.S., def. Bobby Reynolds, U.S., 7-6 (6), 6-4
Lester Cook, U.S., def. Nikoloz Basilashvili, Georgia, (q) 6-2, 7-5
Frederik Nielsen, Denmark, def. Jesse Witten, U.S., 7-6 (2), 7-6 (0)
Doubles Second Round
Travis Rettenmaier, U.S. / Ryan Harrison, U.S., (3) def. Alex Kuznetsov, U.S. / Tim Smyczek, U.S., 6-3, 6-3
John Paul Fruttero, U.S. / Izak Van Der Merwe, South Africa, def. Lester Cook, U.S., / Amer Delic, Bosnia, 6-1, 7-6 (5)
Rik De Voest (South Africa) / Bobby Reynolds, U.S., (4) def. Greg Jones, U.S. / Jesse Witten, U.S., 6-2, 6-4
Ryler DeHeart, U.S. / Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, Canada, (1) def. Nicholas Monroe, U.S. / Donald Young, U.S., 1-6, 6-1, 17-15
Travis Rettenmaier, U.S. / Ryan Harrison, U.S., (3) def. Kevin Kim, U.S. / Mark Ein, U.S., (wc), 6-1, 6-2
Rik De Voest (South Africa) / Bobby Reynolds, U.S., (4) def. Andrew Gerst, U.S. / Gary Sacks, South Africa, (wc) 6-3, 6-2
Friday’s Order of Play:
CENTER start 11 a.m.
F Nielsen (DEN) vs  M Matosevic (AUS)
Not Before 12:30 p.m.
 R DeHeart (USA) / P Duclos (CAN) vs P Bester (CAN) / A Kumar (USA)
R Harrison (USA) vs  R Kendrick (USA)
Not Before 4:30 p.m.
 D Young (USA) vs A Delic (BIH)
Not Before 7 p.m.
 R Harrison (USA) / T Rettenmaier (USA) vs J Fruttero (USA) / I Van Der Merwe (RSA)
L Cook (USA) vs  R Sweeting (USA)
For a schedule of events and other details, check out the official website, calabasaschallenger.com
Round of 16
Round of 32
Doubles (per team)
Round of 16
Friday, Oct. 22
– Pro-Am Drill, 9-11 a.m.; Pro Exhibition, 6-7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23
– USTA Junior Team Tennis Kids’ Day, 2-3:30 p.m.
Calabasas Past Champions:
- Donald Young (USA)
- Vince Spadea (USA)
- Robert Kendrick (USA)
- Mark Philippoussis (AUS)
- Brian Vahaly (USA)
- Ivo Karlovic (CRO)
- Jerome Golmard (FRA)
- Michael Chang (USA)
- Andre Sa (BRA)
- Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) – Simon Stadler (GER)
- Ilija Bozoljac (SRB) – Dusan Vemic (SRB)
- John Isner (USA) – Brian Wilson (USA)
- Robert Kendrick (USA) – Cecil Mamiit (PHI)
- Amer Delic (USA) – Bobby Reynolds (USA)
- Graydon Oliver (USA) – Travis Parrott (USA)
- Justin Gimelstob (USA) – Scott Humphries (USA)
- Paul Rosner (RSA) – Glenn Weiner (USA)
- Ota Fukarek (CZE) – Ivo Heuberger (SUI)
USTA Pro Circuit
With 94 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $3.2 million in prize money and valuable ATP and WTA Tour ranking points. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jelena Jankovic are among the top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA Pro Circuit is world-class tennis administered on the local level and played on local tennis courts as part of the fabric of communities nationwide — an opportunity for current and new fans to experience the excitement and intensity of the professional game in their neighborhood.