GODFREY – A “tweener” match point return Saturday by No. 2 Cesar Rameriz clinched his spot in Sunday’s final of the 15th Annual Lewis and Clark Community College Men’s USTA Pro Circuit Futures championship.
Gasps and claps rang out from the crowd as Rameriz contorted his body, stuck his racquet between his legs and successfully returned the match point to opponent Alex Blumenberg.
Rameriz, 22, of Mexico, defeated Blumenberg, 20, of Brazil, 7-5, 6-3.
“It was a good match and he was a very competitive opponent,” said Rameriz, who has made the Lewis and Clark tournament his first in three months after recovering from an injury.
Blumenberg, who has an ATP ranking of 909, got off to a strong start in the first set against Rameriz, who is ranked No. 432.
“I have to give credit to him because he was powerful in the first set,” said Rameriz. “I had to be patient and get more aggressive. I feel I was able to stay focused and positive and just got stronger in the last set.”
Americans Dennis Nevolo and Jason Jung also battled Saturday for a spot in Sunday’s final with Jung winning 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Jung, a former University of Michigan player, was a two-time All-Big Ten (2010 and 2011) and two-time NCAA Individual Championship qualifier.
Nevolo, who just finished his collegiate tennis career at the University of Illinois, is one of only 10 men named to this summer’s USTA Men’s Collegiate Team.
“He was very good from the start and it was a tough match,” said Jung. “We both played hard through all three sets. So I feel lucky to have made it through.”
The final in the $10k tournament is set for 9 a.m. Sunday at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex at Lewis and Clark. It is free and open to the public.
For more information, call (618) 468-6252. For the latest in tournament news and to view/download photos visit the tournament website at www.lc.edu/USTA