Marcos Giron admitted to looking up and running through the list of names displayed on the center court banner along the baseline of past winners of the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, and spotting his name as a winner in 2014.
The No. 4-seeded Giron of nearby Thousand Oaks, said he didn’t see any repeat winners, and was reminded of the fact during his post-match on-court interview with tournament director Jeff Richards that on Sunday he could become the first two-time winner of the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 Pro Futures event taking place at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
“I kind of right before the warmup checked up there and saw it,” said Giron, the former NCAA singles champion from UCLA, who made quick work of Stanford senior Tom Fawcett in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-1, in just 52 minutes on Saturday. “I thought that someone else had done it before.”
The 24-year-old Giron will take on fellow Southern Californian J.C. Aragone, the No 7 seed, in Sunday’s singles final in his attempt to be the first repeat winner of the popular USTA Pro Circuit event that has featured past winners with such notable names as Michael Chang, Ivo Karlovic, Mark Philippoussis, Donald Young and Tennys Sandgren.
“It would be awesome to win my hometown tournament,” said Giron, currently ranked No. 322 on the ATP World Tour, who worked out with former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at UCLA last Saturday. “The conditions are what I grew up with and I’m just so comfortable with everything and playing in front of family and friends. It’s just a lot of fun.”
He added: “It’s just good energy and good vibes out here. I’ve been playing really well lately and it’s just nice to put it all together.”
Giron said that he felt fresh after two full days off because of the rain on Wednesday and Thursday. “Two days of doing nothing was good and I felt pretty fresh yesterday throughout all the matches. Today I felt fresh. The matches yesterday were intense but they weren’t really long with rallies and it wasn’t hot.”
The wild-card Fawcett played more than five hours of tennis on Friday, and looked tired and sluggish on Saturday. He called for the trainer for a shoulder rubdown between sets. “His five hours versus my three hours I thought made the difference today,” Giron said.
Aragone, a three-time NCAA team champion from the University of Virginia who grew up 75 miles south of Calabasas in Yorba Linda, has yet to drop a set in his four matches, and won two of them on Saturday beating former Cavaliers teammate Collin Altamirano in the semifinals while giving up just four games.
Aragone spent the past three weeks in Canada playing two $25,000 Futures events and a Challenger. His roommate during the trip was his quarterfinal opponent on Saturday morning, another Southern California resident Deiton Baughman. Aragone got the better of Baughman 6-4, 6-4, before beating Altamirano, 6-0, 6-4, in another fast start.
“I’ve been pretty efficient with a 40-minute match, and an hour match yesterday,” Aragone said. “I usually play very long matches, but I guess I figured there wasn’t time to mess around. The body is a little hurting from the last three weeks, but I’m happy to be in the final.”
Aragone said he enjoys traveling the circuit with fellow American players like Baughman, Ronnie Schneider and Michael Redlicki.
“If you’re playing here in States you are going to be playing someone familiar and you are seeing the same guys each week,” Aragone said. “I don’t think it makes too much difference playing someone you know so well. It’s always nice playing friends, and I actually like it. Rather than playing someone who is completely against you and doesn’t want anything good to happen in your life.”
In the doubles final Sunday, it will be former UC-Berkeley teammates Andre Goransson of Sweden and Florian Lakat of France facing No. 2 seeds Bernardo Saraiva of Portugal and Sam Verbeek of the Netherlands.