March 26, 2018
CALABASAS, Calif. – CALABASAS, Calif. — J.C. Aragone battled two opponents in the final of the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas.
The 22-year-old pro circuit rookie and University of Virginia graduate beat former NCAA singles champion and hometown hero Marcos Giron, 6-2, 6-4, to win his first professional title, a USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 Pro Futures event that concluded on Sunday at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Aragone may be from Southern California, but Yorba Linda in Orange County felt a lot farther than 70 miles away, as Grion’s high school tennis coach joined in with about 150 other enthusiastic supporters and cheered his every move.
Aragone addressed the crowd after the match in an on-court interview with tournament director Jeff Richards. After telling them it was his first pro title, he got a nice ovation, at last. “That was the most clapping I got from you all day,” Aragone said with a smile. “I get it, he’s a good looking guy. But come on already. I’m going to try and come back next year but you guys are going to have to do a little better for me.”
The pro-Giron fans appreciated the high level of tennis exchanged by both players. Aragone, who won three NCAA team titles at Virginia, got an early break in both the first and second sets and played aggressive tennis throughout to take his second win over Giron in the past six weeks as Aragone registered a third-set tiebreaker win over Giron in the San Francisco Challenger.
Giron was kept behind the baseline for most of the match, and couldn’t solve Aragone’s big serve and constant pressure. “J.C. played amazing tennis and kept the pressure on me,” said Giron, the 2014 Calabasas champion. “Just too good today. He qualified for the US Open so we know he can play great tennis.”
He added: “I always love playing here in front of my family and friends and wish I could have won here again. Next time.”
Leading 5-4 and looking to close Giron out on his serve, Aragone tightened up a few times in the 10th game, including serving two double faults on match points. In fact, it wasn’t until the sixth match point that Aragone was finally able to hit a big serve down the T which Giron hit into the bottom of the next to give him his first title.
“I don’t know if you guy realize this, but don’t play Marcos’ running forehand. Ever,” Aragone told the crowd. “I don’t know why I kept going there. It was a tough week having to play two matches a day, both physically and mentally.”
Aragone later said he got nervous on his few match points, but was able to grind it out, even though the crowd was cheering Giron’s every move. “Marcos played unbelievable on the match points,” Ararone said. “I mean, yeah, I threw in two doubles, but he was putting so much pressure on me. I would come up with a huge shot, and he would come up with something bigger. The game plan was to be aggressive. Marcos can be pretty aggressive if you let him.”
He said he wasn’t annoyed by the crowd, just worried it might ultimately make him lose focus. “It’s tough to play an opponent and the entire crowd,” Aragone said. “I was hitting like outrageous sights and just crickets [from the crowd]. I was like, ‘what is going on?’ It’s usually even. It was definitely tough.”
After four straight weeks of tournaments, Aragone said he’s ready to relax. “Where do I go from here? I’m going to rest. I’m going to Miami Beach and going to sit on the beach. And then I start training for the clay court season.”
In the doubles final Sunday, former UC-Berkeley teammates Andre Goransson of Sweden and Florian Lakat of France snapped the seven-match streak of No. 2 seeded Bernardo Saraiva of Portugal and Sam Verbeek of the Netherlands, 6-2, 7-6 (3). Saraiva and Verbeek were coming off a win in last week’s Bakersfield Futures.
Sunday’s Final Singles Score
J.C. Aragone, U.S. (7), def. Marcos Giron, U.S. (4), 6-2, 6-4
Sunday’s Final Doubles Score
Andre Goransson, Sweden / Florian Lakat, France, def. Bernardo Saraiva, Portugal / Sam Verbeek, Netherlands (2), 6-2, 7-6 (3)