Sandgren Upsets Groth in Champaign Challenger Final

by John on November 17, 2013


Unseeded American Tennys Sandgren defeated seventh-seeded Aussie Sam Groth 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the final of the Champaign Challenger yesterday afternoon. The 22-year-old Sandgren was competing in his first Challenger final and had knocked off the second and eighth seeds en route to the championship match. Groth, holder of the record for fastest recorded serve, dropped to 0-3 in Challenger finals. Sandgren kept remarkably calm throughout his maiden final and showed great patience waiting for the limited opportunities he got against the big-serving Groth. Serving a mix of slice and kick serves, along with an occasional cannonball, Groth was virtually untouchable in the first set, winning 20 of 23 service points. Looking to capitalized on his one-set advantage, Groth failed to cash either of two break-point chances in the first game of the second set. The 26-year-old Aussie continued to serve flawlessly until the sixth game, when serving at 2-3, he double-faulted on the first point and then again on break point. The two doubles were the only ones Groth served up in the match. The break was enough to give Sandgren the set and even the match. Both players amped up their already strong serving in the deciding set, with Groth pounding out nine of his 19 aces and Sandgren six of his 12. Groth had the only break-point opportunity of the set in the eighth game. The big Aussie rifled a return which caught the tape, but fell harmlessly on his side of the net. In a lot of ways that was the kind of day it was for Groth. Sandgren raced to a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker and ended it with a forehand winner down the line. “Today was a battle and I really feel blessed and lucky to squeak it out there,” Sandgren said. “That was a great match.” Sandgren won one of two break points on the day. Groth cashed just one of six. Groth served 81 aces in his five tournament matches. Sandgren’s season is done, while Groth flies to Tokyo to compete in his final tournament of the year this week.




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