May 2nd, 2017

Former Collegiate Rola, Paes-Lipsky Walk Away with Tallahassee Tennis Challenger Titles

General News Pro Tennis

Blaz Rola

Former Ohio State University standout Blaz Rola of Slovenia defeated India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan in the all-unseeded singles final of the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger on Sunday 6-2, 6-7(6), 7-5 for his first ITF/USTA Pro Circuit title in two years.

It was his 11th career ITF/USTA Pro Circuit title and first since the Sao Paulo Challenger in April 2015. Rola is in his fifth year as a pro after winning the NCAA singles championship in 2013.

“It’s been a long, long week,” Rola, who needed to navigate the qualifying tournament to reach the main draw, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “But I can’t really rest. Maybe a day or two and then I’ll head to [the] Savannah [Challenger] and hopefully keep the run going.”

It was his eighth match in eight days, and the final took nearly three hours. The Slovenian did not drop serve throughout the three-set final.

The 22-year-old Ramanathan fell to 14-7 in career ITF/USTA Pro Circuit finals after the loss. He was looking for his first title of the year after winning three in 2016 in Qatar (back-to-back tournaments) and Spain.

From left: Scott Lipsky and Leander Paes

The doubles title was won by former world No. 1 Leader Paes, who teamed with American Scott Lipsky to defeat No. 3 seeds Maximo Gonazlez and Leonardo Mayer 4-6, 7-6 (5), 10-7 in the final.

The 44-year-old Paes, who participated in community and kids’ day events during the week, has won 18 Grand Slam men’s and mixed doubles titles during his career.

“I love the place,” said Paes, who joked during matches and treated fans to some spectacular shotmaking “It’s great old Southern hospitality. The weather is magic. The first night I got here it was a little cool for me. We Indians are not used to the cold weather. But right now, it’s just perfect. It’s sunny, high 70s, low 80s with a little breeze. You just never get tired playing tennis.”

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