July 31, 2011
Three Tennessee Volunteers have captured USTA Futures singles titles in July.
On Sunday, it was junior Tennys Sandgren's turn to hoist the trophy.
Sandgren defeated former Fresno State star Rudy Siwy 6-2, 7-5 to clinch his first professional singles title at the Lewis and Clark Community College USTA Men's Pro Circuit Event in Godfrey, Ill.
"That was great, probably the best moment I've had on court," said Sandgren, who was traveling to his final tournament stop of the summer in Decatur, Ill. "I've got to have a short memory about this win though because I'm starting another tournament now. No one's going to let me win just because I won this week."
Sandgren took advantage of Siwy's mistakes early in the title match to take the first set 6-2, but the match tightened up after that. Siwy broke Sandgren and served for the second set at 5-4, but Sandgren rattled off the last three games to take the championship in straight sets.
The tournament road was not an easy one for Sandgren, who had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals of a professional event until this week. He defeated 2008 NCAA singles champion and eighth-seeded Devin Britton in the first round and then beat fourth-seeded Dimitar Kutrovsky in the quarterfinals.
A strong service game spelled the difference for Sandgren in Godfrey.
"I served really well this week and only lost serve a handful of times," Sandgren said. "These courts played really fast, so serving well was very important. If you lost serve, you were in trouble."
Sandgren's victory added to the remarkable summer success of the 2011 Tennessee squad. The three members at the top of the last year's lineup -- John-Patrick Smith, Rhyne Williams and Sandgren -- have all won a Futures singles title in the last month.
With Smith graduated and Williams launching his professional playing career, Sandgren now figures to be the top returner for the Vols in 2012. He earned All-America honors as a sophomore last season and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships.
For Sandgren, collecting wins during the summer circuit builds confidence for the college year ahead.
"I'm making winning a habit right now, and hopefully that will carry on into the spring season," Sandgren said. "I've been able to get a lot of matches in this summer, and I've been able to beat some very good players along the way."
Lewis and Clark Community College USTA Men's Pro Circuit Event
Singles Main Draw
Round of 32: Tennys Sandgren (USA) def.  Devin Britton (USA), 7-5, 6-4
Round of 16: Sandgren def. Ray Sarmiento (USA), 6-3, 6-4
Quarterfinals: Sandgren def.  Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL), 6-3, 6-2
Semifinals: Sandgren def. Jeff Dadamo (USA), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3
Final: Sandgren def. Rudy Siwy (CZE), 6-2, 7-5
Photos courtesy of S. Paige Allen of Lewis and Clark Community College.