Second-seeded Clarke Spinosa of Claremont and Gabriella De Simone of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., took home the top prize in U.S. tennis, both winning their first gold balls on the final day at the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships at the Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego.
Spinosa, who plays intercollegiate tennis for the University of San Diego, defeated seventh-seeded Campbell Johnson of Rancho Santa Fe, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the men’s singles final.
The 19-year-old De Simone, a member of the women’s tennis team at the University of Southern California, defeated second-seeded Megan McCray of Oceanside, 6-1, 6-0, in the women’s singles final.
After exchanging service breaks in the first set to open the women’s singles final, De Simone won 11 consecutive games on her way to winning the title. Afterwards she said the score did not indicate how tough the match was.
“She (McCray) really made me work for every point. I stayed focused and competed really well.” De Simone said. “This win is really good for my confidence. I’m really happy about it.”
In the men’s singles final, Spinosa dropped the opening set against the 20-year-old-Johnson, who has played the last two years at the University of Georgia.
However, Spinosa cut down on his unforced errors and picked up the level of his game and won the next two sets to claim the title. It was the fourth straight three-set victory of the tournament for Spinosa.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, but Campbell was playing well in the first set. He had me on the run and he was really attacking,” said Spinosa, who credited his fitness for helping him win after losing the first set.
“I just wanted to stay out there as long as possible and see if I could break him down,” he said. “We had a lot of long points and Campbell got a little tired.”
The runner-up in each division received a USTA silver ball. There was also a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball.
Former tournament champions include current American stars Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe and former touring tennis professionals Gretchen Magers, Rosalyn Nideffer and Allison Bradshaw.
The USTA National Open Hard Court Championships was voted, “2011 Tournament of the Year” by the San Diego District Tennis Association.