Three Florida players captured USTA Pro Circuit and ITF titles last weekend across the U.S. as the tour winds down in its final months of 2018.
Former French Open juniors winner and Orlando resident Bjorn Fratangelo won the biggest title at the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Fairfield, Calif., as an unseeded player defeating No. 8 seed Alex Bolt of Australia 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
The 25-year-old rose to No. 138 on the ATP rankings, and improved to 3-4 in career ATP Challenger-level finals after working himself back to form following a knee injury during the clay court season.
“This is very special to me,” said Fratangelo who had last won a USTA Pro Circuit event in 2016, speaking to The Reporter newspaper. “It’s probably my most emotional win. If someone had told me in June I was going to win another challenger, I probably would have laughed and said you’re crazy. I’m feeling a lot better than I did three months ago.”
Orlando’s Jared Hiltzik, a former standout at the University of Illinois, won the $25,000 Futures event in Houston, Texas as the No. 2 seed. In the final he upset top-seeded fellow American and former University of North Carolina player Ronnie Schneider 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-5 in a battle of 24 year olds.
Hiltzik needed to fight back from a set down in his first two matches, eventually claiming his second career USTA Pro Circuit title.
American Nick Meister, a former UCLA Bruin, won the doubles with UCLA senior Maxime Cressy of France as the No. 4 seeds. In the final they upset No. 2 seeds John-Paul Fruttero of the U.S. and Portugal’s Bernardo Saraiva 7-5, 6-3.
University of Florida junior Chris Herman, a native of St. Petersburg, won the men’s singles title at the Chicago Wheelchair Classic ITF Futures, and was runner-up in the doubles with Jason Keatseangsilp of Arizona.
The No. 2 seed in singles, Herman in the final upset top-seeded fellow American Conner Stroud 6-1, 7-6(5). Stroud got his revenge in the doubles final as the top seed with Canadian partner Thomas Venos, beating Herman/Keatseangsilp 6-2, 6-3.
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