For the second week in a row, Belgian Michael Geerts has taken the title at the Oracle Pro Series, this time at Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In a match that lasted just shy of three hours, Geerts outlasted recent TCU graduate Alex Rybakov 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4).
“I played really well here, the conditions suit me,” said Geerts. “Every match I try to be as focused as possible, and in the end it really paid off for me. I maybe got a little bit lucky here and there, but it’s a lot of hard work in the last few months and years that helped the good feeling and good results on the courts these last two weeks.”
Geerts is undefeated in singles during the first two Oracle Pro Series events in Claremont and Waco and has had great experiences both on and off the court.
“The last two weeks have been amazing,” said Geerts. I played really great tennis. Oracle has been treating us well and taking care of the players. I really feel comfortable at these events. It’s time for me to go home a bit and rest, but I look forward to playing more in the future.”
On the women’s side, an unlikely champion fought her way through both the qualifying and main draws to win the biggest title of her budding career. Fernanda Contreras Gomez, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, defeated French Open junior champion Leylah Fernandez 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in a tough final.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” said Contreras. “I’m just really proud and grateful to have the opportunity to play. I just focused on each match individually. Even in the third set of the final, I just had to tell myself ‘this is a first-round match – don’t think about it, play fearless.’ And it worked out!”
The match was a topsy-turvy affair, with the young Canadian Fernandez catching fire in the second set.
“I tried to keep it simple – be positive, be present, think about the process. She started playing really well in the second set, hitting unbelievable shots. So I just had to weather the storm and keep fighting.”
As with Geerts, Contreras attributed a part of her success and comfort level at the Oracle Pro Series – Waco to the off-court experience, due to the seamless nature of the event and fact that her family was able to watch her compete and win.
“My family came to visit, they’re just an hour and a half away, so it was amazing to have them here. It was amazing to play in the Oracle Pro Series – Waco. It was an extremely well-run tournament.”
Contreras now just travels an hour or so up I-35 to a different Texas university – SMU – to play in this week’s Oracle Pro Series – Dallas. With confidence in her pocket and a will to compete and improve, Contreras is relishing the opportunity to play in this new series of tournaments.
“The Oracle Pro Series is super beneficial. You get to have a competitive match every time you step on the court. It’s way better than winning or losing – the competition is what drives people.”
In the doubles finals, Geerts partnered with Michael Whitehouse but came up short against the top-seeded Dutch duo of Jesper De Jong and Ryan Nijboer 7-6(4), 6-1. The top-seeded pair on the Women’s side also took the title, Vladica Babic and Anna Dalinina won 6-3, 6-2 over Americans Savannah Brodus and Vanessa Ong.