Former Vol Tennys Sandgren captured his third USTA Pro Circuit Futures title with a straight-set win over Daniel Kosakowski on Monday, completing the rain-delayed $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures event at the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center.
Sandgren earned 27 valuable ranking points and a $1,950 check by virtue of his 6-3, 7-5 victory over the No. 5 seeded former UCLA Bruin Kosakowski at the USTA Men's Pro Tennis Championship of Calabasas.
The victory was a long time coming for the 2011 NCAA singles semifinalist. In July and August, Sandgren won two $10,000-level Pro Circuit events in Illinois, but he entered the Calabasas tournament having reached one semifinal since then.
"I haven't had too many good tournaments; it's been kind of a tough year for me so far," said Sandrgen, who turned pro last summer after two years at Tennessee. "I'm just now starting to build my confidence back and feeling good about my game right now."
Sandgren needed three sets to advance -- and nearly four hours -- in his quarterfinal match, and he fought off two match points in his three-set semifinal upset of top-seeded Andre Begemann. Kosakowski had to win two matches Sunday after a full day of rain washed out the tournament on Saturday.
Up 3-0 and then 4-2 serving in the second set, Sandgren got a little bit tight and enabled Kosakowski to break back and make for a very competitive last four games. Sandgren committed his only double fault in the seventh game trying to hold and go up 5-2.
"It's hard to go an entire match without double faulting, but I definitely picked the wrong time to throw it in there, that's for sure," he said. "But I'm still up a set and on serve and it's late in the match so I just knew I had to lock it down and I did."
With the 27 added tour points, Sandgren will break into the top 450 in the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.
"I'm really excited about the points," Sandgren said. "It's what I'd hoped to accomplish at these tournaments in California. To get all those points in the first week is great, and I hope to build on that this week."
There was no rest for the weary for Sandgren or Kosakowski. After his win, Sandgren traveled the hour's drive to the next tournament destination: the $15,000 Futures event in Costa Mesa, Calif. He starts doubles on Tuesday.
When Sandgren won his first title in Godfrey, Ill., he backed that performance up with a singles trophy in Decatur, Ill., the very next week. While extremely difficult, Sandgren won't rule out the possibility of repeating the repeat. But he's not looking too far ahead, either.
"Anything's possible, that's for sure," Sandgren said. "It's a really tough field again this week, obviously. Lots of good players. I just have to take one match at a time and see what happens."
In the next month, Sandgren plans on competing in the Challenger in Talahassee, Fla., and the pair of $15,000 Futures stops in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Little Rock, Ark.
(Championship match information and some quotes provided by Steve Pratt.)