With so many current and former UT-Austin players in the main draw, it’s not a shock that two Longhorns ended up in the singles’ final of the Greenview Development & Majestic Realty Men’s Pro Tennis Open. But the surprise is that Siem Woldeab, who qualified for the main draw, and Pierre Yves Baily, who was given a wild card, will face each other on Sunday for the title on their home courts at the Texas Tennis Center.
Woldeab, a 22-year-old senior, was aggressive from the start against his 17-year old opponent Learner Tien, who was seeded fourth and is a two-time U.S. Boys’ 18 champion. Woldeab gained momentum – with help from some Tien double faults – as he closed out the first set 6-2 with an ace down the T.
Woldeab had Tien on his heels and had him playing defense for the majority of the match, even when Tien took an early lead in the second set. But Woldeab’s forward push proved to be too much. Still Tien made Woldeab work in the last game, coming back from 40-0 and even gaining some break points to even the set at 5-5. But Woldeab ultimately won, 6-2, 6-4, earning a spot in the finals.
“I just told myself to keep visualizing success and keep visualizing myself closing out the game,” Woldeab said. “I think through all my match points and all the break points I saved I was able to just keep that mental edge and I think that’s what got me over the line.”
Playing at the same time on Court 1, it was a Longhorn face-off between 20-year-old junior Pierre Yves Bailly and 21-year-old senior Eliot Spizzirri. The older player started aggressively, getting the first break of the set.
Bailly, a junior at Texas who won two matches yesterday when his opponents retired, came back to tie the first set at 3-3 with back-and-forth break points.
After winning the first set, the junior from Belgium quickly started gaining on Spizzirri. Ultimately, he defeated his senior teammate ,6-4, 6-2, and scored himself a seat to the final on Sunday.
Bailly said his main strategy was regulating his emotions and keeping his focus on the game.
“I think breathing is my most important thing,” Bailly said. “When my heart rate is going up and tie moments, I just try to stay calm, try to stay in my own bubble and then I turned it around somehow.”
After a short break, the doubles final took place on Court 3, with Tien partnering with Edward Winter of Australia to defeat Sebastian Gorzny and Brayden Michna, 4-6, 6-3, 10-2.
Gorzny and Michna, two 19-year-old Americans, started off strongly in the first set. But the 17-year-old Tien and 19-year-old Winter, pictured above, fought back hard in Set 2, bringing the match to a super tiebreak for the third set. Tien and Winter brought their victory home from there with ease, winning the doubles title,
Article and photograph by Bevo Video Productions, a division of Texas Student Media at UT-Austin’s Moody College of Communication