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In a rematch of last week’s finals, Arthur De Greef knocked off Bjorn Fratangelo in two sets, 6-2, 6-3, on Sunday in the USTA Men’s Futures tournament at the Palm Coast Tennis Center.
De Greef, a 20-year-old Belgian now ranks inside the top 300 in the world after overcoming his loss last week and collecting 17 ranking points.
“I’m very, very happy because last week I lost in the final and I had my chance,” De Greef said. “But this time, I won it.”
The win marks the third Futures title for De Greef, who fought through a back injury in the second set. De Greef admitted to being hurt before the match and reinjuring himself during play.
“Unfortunately, I was injured before the match, so I was not able to serve as well,” De Greef said. “Then I injured myself again in the second set, so I didn’t think I was going to win, but (Fratangelo) helped me a bit. I was a bit lucky.”
Despite the pain, De Greef, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, was able to hold serve in Game 6 of the second set, leveling the score at three games each. The next game saw De Greef break Fratangelo’s serve after two deuce points, giving him a 4-3 edge.
From there, De Greef quickly took a 5-3 lead before going up 15-40 in the final game. At the back fence, De Greef held his ground as Fratangleo pounded overhead volleys during match point. Finally, Fratangelo’s third smash attempt found the net, and De Greef screamed out in victory.
After the match De Greef was presented his check for $1,440 while both players received an etched silver plate for reaching the final.
In the doubles final featuring four American collegiate players, partners Jean-Yves Aubone, from Florida State University, and Joey Burkhardt, from the University of Florida, took down Kevin King, from Georgia Tech, and Vahid Mirzadeh, also from Florida State, in two sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Aubone and Burkhardt were behind 4-1 in the first set and 3-1 in the second before charging back for the championship.
“We did a really good job of not taking any point of the game for granted because we came back,” Burkhardt said. “When you keep scrapping, you never know what points you’ll come away with. We’ve learned that from our past.”
The tournament concluded the early Florida stretch on clay courts for the USTA Pro Circuit. The next event is the $100,000 Challenger, in Dallas, beginning Feb. 4.
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