Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ex-NCAA champs to meet in Sacramento pro final

Seventh-seeded Devin Britton overcame a slow
start to beat unseeded Nicolas Meister in the
semifinals at Park Terrace. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Devin Britton and Sebastian Fanselow got off to horrible starts in the wind Saturday.
   Only Britton survived in the semifinals of the $15,000 Tennis Town Pro Tennis at Park Terrace tournament.
   The seventh-seeded Britton lost the first four games in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over unseeded Nicolas Meister of Trabuco Canyon in the Los Angeles area at the Park Terrace Swim & Tennis Club.
   Fanselow, a two-time All-American at Pepperdine from Germany, dropped the first five games and lost to fellow wild card Jeff Dadamo 6-1, 7-6 (3).
   Whereas Britton was facing a steady but unimposing 5-foot-10 player in winds reaching 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph, Fanselow was going against a powerful 6-foot-1 left-hander.      
   Consequently, two former NCAA champions from the United States will meet in today's singles final at 2 p.m.  In the doubles final at 11 a.m., fourth-seeded Americans Vahid Mirzadeh and Phillip Simmonds will face Meister and former Cal star Pedro Zerbini of Brazil. Today's forecast is for a high of 95 degrees with winds of 10 to 20 mph.
   At Mississippi in 2009, Britton became the youngest NCAA singles champion at 18 years, 2 months and joined Jimmy Connors (1971), John McEnroe (1978) and Cecil Mamiit (1996) as the only male freshmen to win the title. Britton, from Brandon, Miss., then turned pro.
   The NCAA crown gave Britton a wild card in that year's U.S. Open, in which he lost to Roger Federer 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 in Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first round.
Jeff Dadamo held off fellow wild card Sebastian
Fanselow in the other semi. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Dadamo (pronounced Duh-DAH-mo), from Tampa, Fla., won last year's NCAA doubles crown as a Texas A&M senior with Austin Krajicek. The tournament was held at Stanford.
   Both Britton and Dadamo, who are friends, seek their first pro singles title in their biggest final. Each has lost in the final of one $10,000 tournament. Britton, 6-foot-4, has won seven pro doubles titles and Dadamo one.  
   In their only meeting, Dadamo won 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 last summer on a hardcourt in the quarterfinals at Edwardsville, Ill.
   "He has a great game," Britton said. "He has a big forehand, a nice one-handed backhand, a good transition game and a good volley. I like to watch him play. He has a nice slice."
   Dadamo said Britton "has a really big serve and solid volleys, and he'll crack a forehand here and there. He plays traditional power tennis. He comes foreward a lot. He's definitely dangerous."
   Britton admitted that he came out "a little slow and lethargic" against Meister, who's playing in his first pro tournament after an All-America career at UCLA.   
   "My feet were stuck to the ground," said Britton, adding that he initially was nervous playing for a spot in the final. "In the wind, that'll kill you. In the second set, I picked up my intensity and moved my feet.. I got into a rhythm, and that made the difference. I put balls in play and got my confidence up."
   Britton had a scare in the third set, though. Leading 4-2 (one service break), he overcame a 0-40 deficit to hold serve.
   "I was lucky to squeeze that one out," Britton conceded. "I got it to 15-40 and hit a backhand up the line that I went for and shouldn't have that went in. To squeeze out that game was huge. It was pretty much the deciding point."
   Dadamo said Fanselow, who will be a senior at Pepperdine in the fall, "had a tough time adjusting to the wind in the first set. He started to find a rhythm and get used to the conditions. He played a lot better match from then on.
   "I feel like I gutted it out. It wasn't really pretty tennis from either of us. I put a couple more balls in play."
   In the wind, that was good enough.
   French Open in Paris --Top-seeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada prevented second-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan from winning an Open Era-record 12th French Open men's doubles title.
    Mirnyi and Nestor defeated the 1998 NCAA doubles champions from Stanford 6-4, 6-4 for their second straight crown in the event.
   "We wanted it probably a little too bad," Mike Bryan told reporters. "When it's not going your way early, it's tough to stay really positive."
   The 34-year-old Bryan twins won their first Grand Slam men's doubles title in the 2003 French Open but have not repeated. They lost in the 2005 and 2006 finals to Jonas Bjorkman and Mirnyi.
   "For us, it's probably been the toughest one to win," Mike Bryan said. "You've got to be really tough mentally to win this one. You're not going to get the easy holds that we're accustomed to. It's been elusive for the last nine years now."
   Nestor has won eight Grand Slam titles in men's doubles and Mirnyi six.
   Aegon Trophy in Nottingham, Great Britain -- The Sacramento area was represented in the men's and women's singles finals of the Aegon Trophy, a grass-court tuneup tournament for Wimbledon.
   Qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area fell to seventh-seeded Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in the women's $75,000 event. Vandeweghe, 20, is scheduled to play at least five matches for the Sacramento Capitals during the July season in World TeamTennis.
   Fourth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov, a longtime Sacramento-area resident from Moscow, was scheduled to meet unseeded Benjamin Becker of Germany in the final of the $80,000 men's event.
   Wimbledon begins June 25.
   Today -- $15,000 Tennis Town Pro Tennis at Park Terrace, doubles final at 11 a.m., singles final at 2 p.m., Park Terrace Swim & Tennis Club, 5500 Parkfield Court, Sacramento,
   Today, June 16-18 -- NorCal 18 Junior Sectional Championships, Sacramento State,
   Through June 17 -- $15,000 Chico Futures, Chico Racquet Club & Resort, 1629 Manzanita Ave., Chico,
   July 7-15 -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford,
   July 9 -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals' season opener at Boston, 4 p.m.,
   July 12 -- World TeamTennis, Capitals' home opener (with Mardy Fish) vs. Kansas City, Sunrise Marketplace Stadium, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,

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