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Photo by Theo Tate
Tennys Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn., hits a return in the second set against Facundo Mena of Argentina in the singles championship match of the Lewis and Clark Men’s Pro Tennis Classic on Sunday.
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Photo by Theo Tate
Facundo Mena of Argentina backhands a return in the first set against Tennys Sandgren in the singles championship match of the Lewis and Clark Men’s Pro Tennis Classic on Sunday.
GODFREY – Tennys Sandgren did it again on Sunday.
The Gallatin, Tenn., native won his second singles championship at the Men’s Pro Tennis Classic at Lewis and Clark Community College after cruising to a 6-0, 6-4 win over Argentina’s Facundo Mena in a title match that lasted 1 hour, 17 minutes.
Sandgren also won the Lewis and Clark Men’s Pro Tennis Classic in 2011.
“It’s definitely a fantastic feeling to win here in Godfrey,” said Sandgren, who was the top seed in the 32-player main draw. “It feels really good. It’s great points to win one of these 25Ks and try to help me get my ranking up to where I can get to challengers consistently. So it’s a great steppingstone and a great confidence booster and I’m happy about it.”
Now, Sandgren is already looking forward to competing in the Edwardsville Futures Tournament, which starts on Monday and runs through Sunday. The Edwardsville Futures is the second tournament of the “Illinois Swing,” which also includes Decatur and Champaign.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Sandgren said. “Obviously, I’m going to be a little more tired than I was on Tuesday of this week. But that’s part of the game and I’d rather be tired because I did well this week than fresh as a daisy because I lost in the first round. It’s a good problem to have for sure.”
Mena, the second seed, finished runner-up in both singles and doubles at the Godfrey event. On Friday, Mena teamed up with Jesus Bandres of Venezuela and lost to Americans Nathan Ponwith and Emil Reinberg in two sets in the doubles final.
“I want to congratulate Facundo for a great week in singles and doubles and making two finals,” Sandgren said.
Sandgren also played doubles with Rhyne Williams, who was his former teammate at the University of Tennessee. The two lost to Mena and Bandres in the semifinals on Thursday.
Sandgren lost only one set at the Lewis and Clark Men’s Pro Tennis Classic. He started tournament play on Tuesday by beating Reinberg. Sandgren also had wins over Sameer Kumar, Wil Spencer and Williams to advance to the championship match against Mena, who was playing in the Godfrey Futures for the first time.
Sandgren defeated Spencer in three sets in the quarterfinals on his 25th birthday on Friday to advance to the semifinals against Williams.
Sandgren played all of his singles and doubles matches under hot and humid conditions.
“I drank a lot of fluid and was trying to serve well,” Sandgren said. “My serve always seems to come up big when I needed to do. My whole game seems to raise a little bit when the score got tight and that kind of help propel me through some of those tough moments, but you got to conserve your energy and you can’t do anything crazy. You have to try to stay calm and be about your business the whole match.”
Sandgren rallied from a 30-love deficit to win the first game that lasted 10 minutes. Leading 3-0, Sandgren called a medical timeout after suffering a blister in his right hand.
“It’s not a great place to have a blister like this, but what are you going to do?” Sandgren said. “When it’s humid, everything’s wet and your hands get real soft, but you’re still grinding out here and the rackets move in your hand a lot more.”
Sandgren won the next three games to win the first set. With the second set tied at 4-4, Sandgren won the next two games to win the set and match.
Sandgren played at the Lewis and Clark tournament for the second time. He first played in it in 2011, when he won it all.
“It’s quite a feat to win this two times in a row,” Lewis and Clark Pro Tennis Classic tournament director Doug Stotler said.
Sandgren has been playing tennis since he was 5. His parents named him Tennys (pronounced tennis) after his great grandfather.
Sandgren has been playing professionally since 2011 after he won his first Godfrey Futures championship. He has won 11 career USTA/ITF singles titles and 15 doubles titles. Earlier this year, Sandgren won a singles title at the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series event in Charlottesville, Va.
“When I won this event, I was still an amateur,” Sandgren said. “I won Decatur the following week, so I won two futures in a row and I thought I was progressing my game well enough that I should turn pro. It’s always my dream to play professionally. So I left after that and my career high was at 170 and I hurt my hip. I had to had hip surgery shortly the following week after I hit my career high and I was out for seven months and I was trying to build my ranking back up. It’s tough to stay healthy for a long period of time.”