First ATP Crown for San Diegan Brandon Nakashima

Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

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Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

The day of finals at the Barnes Tennis Center produced a pair of wonderful matches, seeing a pair of first-time ATP champions, as well as the making of a San Diego legend.

Singles Final:

Brandon Nakashima def. Marcos Gíron (6-4) (6-4)

The first set was one of strong serving, as the players combined for eight aces and faced just one break point.

It was a sloppy start early for the hometown hero, as Nakashima dropped each of his first two service points. However, he rallied, securing the game with four consecutive points as each player held serve for their first two service games.

Eventually, Gíron proved to be the one to blink first. He fell behind 15-40 in his third service game, and Nakashima won a lengthy rally to jump a break ahead. The San Diegan never got particularly close to breaking Gíron again, but he comfortably held three more times. With Nakashima seeing three set points, he finished the first set with a winner that Gíron could only watch, sending the crowd of more than 2,000 into a fervor.

Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

After the first set saw 13 points won by the returning player, the second set proved to be much different. Nakashima started the set by breaking Gíron, who appeared to be pressing, with ease.

Each of the following three service games went to deuce, as with nightfall coming, the ball slowed down, making it easier to return serves. Both players held serve without a break point the first two times, but Nakashima’s second service game saw him face and fight off three break points. But the fourth was one too many.

A pair of Nakashima forehands ended up in the net, leveling the set at two games apiece. After the match, EVT caught up with the champion, “After I got broken, I was just telling myself, don’t get too worried, stay calm,” Nakashima said. Just when all the momentum seemed to have swung to Gíron, he made four unforced errors in a row, gifting Nakashima back his break.

The native of San Diego did not waste the gift, taking all four points of his service game to win his eighth consecutive point, a streak that eventually extended to nine in a row. Gíron managed to stabilize the ship by holding serve, but he needed five deuces to do it. Nakashima and Gíron each comfortably held serve, setting up Nakashima to serve for the match.

He launched two scorching baseline shots to set himself up with a 30-0 lead. An uncharacteristic error from Gíron on a simple volley meant that Nakashima had three championship points. He wasted no time, dialing up his eighth ace of the match, sealing the victory. Nakashima described the victory as “like a dream” before crediting the presence of his friends and family. The new champion, who had lost in his first two ATP finals, will move to a career-best 48th in the world, having entered the week ranked 69th. 

Credit: Nicole Noel/ EVT Sports

It was a truly special night for Nakashima and the entire crowd, who went ballistic as he delivered the match-winning ace. He had to fight for every inch as Gíron, playing in his first ATP final, gave him everything he had.

It’s the 21-year-old’s most significant victory, for now.

Doubles Final: 

Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons def. Jason Kubler and Luke Saville (7-6) (6-2)

Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons picked up their first ATP tour victory as partners through strong service games and just enough points as receivers.

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Withrow and Lammons, a pair of Americans, started slowly, breaking serve in the match’s first game. However, they quickly found their serve, as they did not face a break point for the remainder of the match.

After the match, EVT spoke to Lammons, “I let myself get settled, and Jackson {Withrow} did a great job helping me get through it,” Lammoms said with excitement. It was Lammons’ first ATP tour victory, and he blamed the early break on his nerves. But he was critically able to settle in quickly. The turning point of the match came when Lammons and Withrow were able to overcome a 0-40 deficit to break Kubler and Saville, which eventually led to the tiebreaker. Withrow and Lammons were dominant in the second set, as they comfortably held serve four times while breaking Kubler and Saville twice. Kubler made a catastrophic error on a simple overhead shot, allowing Lammons and Withrow to secure the match comfortably.

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