April 10, 2011
UCLA signee Marcos Giron captured the singles title at the USTA International Spring Championships at the Home Depot Center on Sunday. It marks the second year in a row that a future Bruin has won the event, as current freshman Daniel Kosakowski took home the title in 2010. Below is a story by the USTA's Steve Galluzzo, who was serving as one of the press officers at the tournament.
Note: Giron will be competing at the Easter Bowl, which runs from April 10-17 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. You can follow his progress here: (@EasterBowl).
CARSON, Calif. - Marcos Giron had plenty of incentive heading into the boys' 18s final of the USTA International Spring Championships Sunday morning at Home Depot Center.
The 17-year-old from Thousand Oaks was hoping to succeed where a friend and future teammate had failed. UCLA freshman Clay Thompson lost in last year's final and Giron, who will play for the Bruins next seasonl, was determined to have a better result.
"I just got a text from Clay because every year I've seemed to do the exact same as him," Giron said after his 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4 upset over top-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo of Pittsburgh. "Being from Southern California you don't like losing in your home territory."
The unseeded Giron needed nearly two hours and 25 minutes to avenge a straight-set loss in the quarterfinals of Kalamazoo in 2009, but the extra effort and sweat made his victory that much more rewarding.
"This is probably the biggest tournament I've won because some of the top players in the world were here," said Giron, who will have one day to rest before playing his first match at the Easter Bowl in Rancho Mirage, a two-hour drive east from Carson. "[UCLA] Coach Billy Martin was here the whole tournament, too, so I'm glad I could play well."
Fratangelo, the defending USTA National Clay Court Championships and Easter Bowl winner, entered the tournament No. 17 in the ITF world junior rankings. He fell behind 6-0 in the first-set tiebreaker before reeling off six straight points to level it.
"He played lights out those first six points and on the changeover I decided to just go for broke," said Fratangelo, who struggled with his first serve throughout the match. "When I won the next three [points], I started feeling like I could come back."
Fratangelo fought off his sixth set point when Giron hit long after a 22-stroke baseline rally. Fratangelo's topspin lob landed inches beyond the baseline to give Giron another set point and this time Fratangelo hit a forehand approach long. Giron had saved a set point himself with an overhead winner in the 10th game.
"It was fun, it just sucks to come out on the losing end," Fratangelo said. "My forehand is usually my best shot, but I was missing it today. I won the second set and really wanted to break him to start the third, but he was serving with new balls and won that game at love."
Giron had a 4-1 lead in the third set, but Fratangelo came back to even it at 4-4. Giron held serve and had a 30-40 lead when Fratangelo sprayed a forehand wide on match point.
"We're both know for hitting big," Giron said. "I've been working on moving forward and shortening the points and I think it paid off in the third set."