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Motevassel edges past defending champ Tarango to win National Hard Court Championships

December 5, 2011 10:19 AM
Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale, Calif.
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
La Jolla, Calif. – A year can sometimes make all the difference between victory and defeat and that was certainly the case on Sunday afternoon at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
In a singles final featuring two former touring professionals, second-seeded Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale, Calif., defeated defending champion and top-seed Jeff Tarango of Manhattan Beach, Calif., 6-4, 6-3, to win the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships men’s singles title.

It was a year ago when these same two left-handed players met in the tournament final as Tarango dropped the first set of the 2010 title match before coming back to win the next two sets and capture the championship.

In this year’s final, which was played on Court No. 1, Tarango and Motevassel each fought off break points early in the first set, but with the scored tied at 3-3, Tarango hit two straight double faults to lose serve and give Motevassel a 4-3 lead.

Two games later, Motevassel served for the set and at 40-15 Tarango smacked a crosscourt forehand long to give Motevassel the first set in 59 minutes.

Despite losing his serve to open the second set, Tarango came back to take a 2-1 lead but Motevassel, playing solid, steady tennis from the baseline broke Tarango twice and won four straight games to take a 5-2 lead.

Tarango got one of the breaks back when Motevassel’s crosscourt forehand passing shot landed wide to make the score 5-3. As Tarango served to stay in the match and get back on serve, he fell behind 15-40 and faced two match points.

On the first match point, Tarango approached the net, but Motevassel responded with a near perfect lob which Tarango pushed wide with a high backhand to end the match in one-hour and 45 minutes.

After being awarded a USTA gold ball for winning the national championship, Motevassel spoke about the difference between losing last year’s three-set final and winning the title this year.

"After last year I was kind of upset. I had the match. I was up a set and I was up a break. I just lost a little focus.
I was playing too defensive from the back and allowed him (Tarango) to dictate. I played too tentative last year," he said.

"I was focused today. I had a good game plan and it worked fine," Motevassel said. "I took the ball a little earlier. I put him on the defense more. Getting the ball more on the rise helped me a lot today."

Motevassel plans to return to the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club to defend his title next year. "I plan to come back. I like coming here. It’s a nice place and a good venue. It’s fun to play here," he said.

Top-seeded Brett and Brian Joelson of Beaverton, Ore., the eight-time defending Father and Son National Hard Court champions saw their eight-year winning streak come to an end as they dropped a thrilling 6-7 (9), 7-6 (5), 7-5 decision in the semifinals to fourth-seeded Peter and Tanner Smith of Los Alamitos, Calif. before a large crowd on Court No. 2.

Peter Smith, the head coach of the University of Southern California men’s tennis team, and his 16-year-old son Tanner, fell in the Father and Son final to third-seeded Travis Rettenmaier of Las Vegas, Nev. and Tom Rettenmaier of Fountain Valley, Calif., 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

La Jolla, Calif.
Surface: Hard

Men’s Singles

Oren Motevassel (2), Sunnyvale, Calif., def. Jeffrey Tarango (1), Manhattan Beach, Calif., 6-4, 6-3
Men’s Doubles

Neel Grover and Richard Leach (2), Laguna Beach, Calif., def. Arthur Hernandez, Huntington Beach, Calf. and Carsten Hoffman (1), Newport Beach, Calif., 6-3, 6-4

Father-Son Doubles

Travis Rettenmaier, Las Vegas, Nev. and Tom Rettenmaier (3), Fountain Valley, Calif. , def. Peter Smith and Tanner Smith (4), Los Alamitos, Calif., 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Peter Smith and Tanner Smith (4), Los Alamitos, Calif., def. Brett Joelson and Brian Joelson (1), Beaverton, Ore., 6-7(9), 7-6(5), 7-5
Travis Rettenmaier, Las Vegas, Nev. and Tom Rettenmaier (3), Fountain Valley, Calif. , def. Brett Morse-Karzen and Jerry Morse-Karzen (2), Wilmette, Ill. , 7-6 (1), 6-2

Grandfather-Grandson Doubles

William Robertson and Luke Robertson (2), Bloomington, Minn., def. Chuck Lia, Alpharetta, Ga., and Trenton Rodriguez (1), Foothill Ranch, Calif., 4-6, 6-2, 6-4

For additional scores, please click here.



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