The United States had won the Master'U BNP Paribas for six straight years, and seven of the last eight, but Great Britain put an end to that streak with a 4-2 upset win last Sunday. The US came back from a 2-1 deficit in wins over France and Germany but it couldn't do it a third time against Great Britain. UCLA sophomore Ena Shibahara put Team USA in front 1-0 after coming back from 3-0 down in the third set to win 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 but recent North Florida graduate Jack Findel-Hawkins tied it up after defeating UCLA senior Martin Redlicki 6-4, 6-4. Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey fell 7-6, 7-6 but it looked like USC sophomore Brandon Holt would tie it up when he served for the match up 6-5 (40/0) in the third. However Holt would be unable to close it out and would fall 7-6(3) to GB's Jonny O'Mara. Shibahara and Lahey trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 win in doubles but Redlicki and Holt fell 6-4, 6-3 to Findel-Hawkins and O'Mara to give Great Britain its first-ever Master'U championship. Former Texas Longhorn Pippa Horn was also a member of Team Great Britain.
Yannick Hanfmann (USC '15) was the big winner on Friday at the $25K USC/Los Angeles USA F1 Futures. The 6'4" German started off the day playing a fellow 6'4" German in former Pepperdine Wave Sebastian Fanselow. The opening set stayed on serve through the first five games until Fanselow broke Hanfmann at love to go ahead 4-2. Fanselow would hold for 5-2 and then break in a one-deuce game to claim the opening set 6-2. Hanfmann struck first in the second set when he broke for a 3-2 lead and then two games later he broke again to go up 5-2. A love hold would give Hanfmann a 6-2 set to send it to a winner take all third set.
Hanfmann fought off a break point in his opening service game to hold for 1-1 and then he broke from 30/40 to go in front 2-1. Hanfmann held at love for 3-1, broke from 15/40 for 4-1, and held in a one-deuce game to extend the lead to 5-1. Fanselow was able to scratch out a hold but Hanfmann served it out in the next game to take it 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour and 51 minutes. Hanfmann double faulted nine times in the match and only landed 48% of his first serves but he still managed to hold in 10 of 12 service games.
There were a lot of close battles on Thursday at the $25K USC/Los Angeles USA F1 Futures with all eight second round matches played between players with collegiate ties and a few played between players from the same school. Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund held off Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in a match that'll probably be repeated in practice for weeks and months to come. The match started off with back-to-back holds and was then followed by six consecutive breaks before Soderlund held for 5-4. After another pair of holds Soderlund broke from 30/40 to close out the set 7-5. The server did much better in the second set with only one break in the first nine games which came when Kwiatkowski broke 3-2. Kwiatkowski led 5-3 and served for the set up 5-4 but Soderlund broke from 15/40, held from 40/30, and broke from 15/40 to close it out 7-5, 7-5 in 2 hours and 4 minutes.
After spending the day in Kalamazoo yesterday I made my way down to Decatur, Illinois, today to watch the finals of the Ursula Beck Pro Tennis Classic/USA F26 Futures. I was hoping to catch the second and possibly third sets of the doubles final but Jared Hiltzik and Rhyne Williams weren't very accommodating and finished off Nathan Pasha and Dane Webb 6-0, 6-1 in just 43 minutes. It was Hiltzik's second career pro doubles title and Williams's seventh though it was Rhyne's first since 2013.