ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — All the hard work Marcos Giron put into his conditioning at UCLA has paid off.
“Even though I’ve had some straight set matches this week, my body is still fatigued,” he said. “It’s tough coming out here playing in the hot and humid conditions all week long.”
Giron beat Pepperdine’s Alex Sarkissian 6-4, 6-1 to win the Bruins’ 11th men’s national singles title on Monday.
The second-seeded Giron (30-5) is UCLA’s first singles champion since Benjamin Kohlloeffel in 2006.
Sarkissian (34-10) was attempting to win the Waves’ second NCAA title and first since 1988.
“He was just fitter than I was today,” Sarkissian said. “He was the better player. There was nothing I could do. It’s good for him. He outlasted me today. “
UCLA coach Billy Martin, who won a national singles title for the Bruins in 1975, said Giron is “as physically fit as any kid I’ve seen in college tennis.”
Giron won after UCLA teammate Clay Thompson, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, was upset in the first round by South Florida’s Roberto Cid. Sarkissian beat Cid in the quarterfinals.
Giron’s victory gives him an inside track to earn a spot in the main draw of the U.S. Open, though he must wait to see if it becomes a reality.
“After talking about it all week long, if I do well, to potentially go to New York and to actually come through and make it happen, I’m really happy,” Giron said. “There’s been a lot of tough hours out there training, and for it to become a reality is just unbelievable.”
As the match wore on, Sarkissian began to feel fatigue after needing three sets to beat Harvard’s Denis Nguyen in Sunday’s semifinals.
“I feel like it affected me a little bit,” Sarkissian said. “I gave it all I’ve got. In the end, (Giron) was the better player.”
No. 4 seed Tennessee took the doubles title after Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese won on their fifth match point opportunity in a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6) victory over Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka.
The Buckeyes were two points from the title in the third set, but Metka double faulted at 6-6, and Libietis held serve for the victory.
Libietis and Reese are the Volunteers’ first doubles champions since 1980 and second in school history.
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