Former University of Florida standout Sekou Bangoura continues to carry over his stellar play from last year in Sunday’s final of the Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy $15,000 USTA-ITF World Tennis Tour event, beating Brazil’s Pedro Sakamoto 7-6(6), 6-0 for his first title of the 2019 in season in Naples, Fla.
The No. 4-seeded American was 3-1 in ITF finals last year. The 27-year-old Bradenton resident improves to 8-5 in career finals.
Bangoura in the semifinals defeated No. 7 seed Pietro Rondoni of Italy 7-6(2), 6-1, while Sakamota came back from a set down to outlast 18-year-old Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, a wearing result that took its toll the next day in the final.
The 25-year-old Sakamoto, an accomplished doubles player with 10 ITF doubles titles, was looking to add to career ITF singles titles in 2017 and 2013.
Former collegiate players Strong Kirchheimer (Northwestern) of the U.S. and Julian Bradley (North Florida) of Ireland won the doubles title, in the all-unseeded final defeating the Chilean team of Gonzalo Lama and Alejandro Tabilo 6-4, 6-2.
With more than 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $15,000-$125,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, John Isner, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka, and Sam Querrey and are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.
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