Pro Circuit: Altamirano is Legends Long Beach Champion

Collin Altamirano (USA) patrols the baseline at El Dorado Tennis Center in Long Beach.

At the end of a weeklong tournament that saw pouring rain, blazing heat, juggled schedules, unexpected wild cards, and the fall of nearly every seeded player heading into the semifinals, Collin Altamirano was never phased. In Sunday’s singles final at the $25k Legends Long Beach Pro Circuit, the NorCal native continued his smooth roll through the year’s second Pro Circuit event, firmly securing the straight set victory over Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez.

In a week that saw Altamirano oust the #2 seed Marcos Giron in the opening round, and then #3 seed Kaichi Uchida in the semifinals, the 22 year old from Sacramento started with a flurry in Sunday’s final, collecting the first five games for a commanding early lead over Gomez.

Both competitors looked to attack the other with a powerful offensive, evident by extended rallies and deuce games. Gomez struggled to close some of those points, leaving opportunities for Altamirano to gain the upper hand and capitalize on critical points. While both players were fundamentally solid, it appeared Altamirano was at times a step ahead of Gomez, son of former French Open champion Andres Gomez.

Emilio Gomez (ECU) lines up a forehand during Sunday’s singles final.

 

With the first set in hand at 6-1, Altamirano looked to make the championship final short and sweet, but Gomez remained focused and answered with authority in the opening of the second set, pushing out to a 4-2 lead by eliminating some of those early errors as the game pace slowed beneath midday heat.

But Altamirano’s brief slowdown began to turn around with a break of serve, and in his next service game, Altamirano notched three aces – including one to save break point – and knotted the set at 4-4. Gomez would hold serve for a 5-4 advantage, volleying the pressure back on his opponent.

Altamirano was up to the task, and at 5-5 in the second set, two crucial hitting errors off the Gomez racquet gave Altamirano a break and 6-5 lead. Moments later, he was the champion in Long Beach with a 6-1, 7-5 victory.

His day was not over. Appearing in the doubles final, Altamirano hoped for a championship twin bill. But the top seeds, Britain’s Luke Bambridge and Mexico’s Hans Hach, were more than enough for the singles winner and his teammate, Notre Dame’s Alexander Lebedev. Bambridge/Hach, fresh off a finals appearance one week ago at USC/Los Angeles, returned to the final and took that one extra step by taking the first place trophy following a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Almamirano/Lebedev.

The Men’s Pro Circuit resumes this week in Sunrise, FL at the City of Sunrise Pro Tennis Classic. The Women’s Pro Circuit comes back to Southern California in February at Morgan Run Club in Rancho Santa Fe.

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