By Steve Pratt
Former college rivals and now friends Brandon Holt and Marty Redlicki warmed each other up before the USC junior Holt came back for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over last year’s finalist and former UCLA Bruin Redlicki at the Claremont Club Pro Classic on Sunday.
“Marty’s not playing for the Bruins anymore, so I feel like can and have become good friends,” Holt addressed the crowd after winning his first professional tournament victory which earned him $2,160 and 18 ATP World Tour ranking points. “He’s such a great player and I know he’s going to get some good results out on the pro tour.”
The USTA Pro Circuit Futures tournament was played at the Claremont Club 35 miles east of Los Angeles and is a $15,000-level event.
Holt said he got sick later in the afternoon Saturday and did not sleep well the night before the final. “I started to feel it yesterday and it hit me harder today,” said Holt, his voice scratchy and coughing. “That first set I just felt kind of out a gas, which is kind of a bummer because when you play someone like Marty he’s just always on you point and point and just ripping it side to side. So you really need your legs and your lungs.”
Holt said he began to pick up his play during the second set when he looked up and saw his father Scott Holt, grandparents and his aunt and uncle, as well as his college coach Peter Smith, Trojan assistant Kris Kwinta and other teammates cheering him on. “That gave me a little bit of energy,” he said.
Redlicki got a big break of serve in the fifth game of the first set and kept Holt off-pace to capture the first set 6-3. “That’s tennis and you’re not going to play your best every single day,” said Redlicki, who lost to his former Bruin teammate Karue Sell in last year’s singles final. “Being in the final before definitely could have helped me to my fast start, and Brandon could have had a few more nerves. Again, it’s tennis and there’s always next week.”
Holt became the first player with USC ties to win at Claremont since Steve Johnson (2011) and Gary Sacks (2010) won back-to-back years.
Holt had lost three straight matches at No. 1 singles to Redlicki this past college season.
“Give all the credit to Brandon, but I just felt like I made mistake after mistake after mistake,” said Redlicki, who will play this week at the Laguna Niguel Futures tournament.
During the awards ceremony, tournament host and Claremont Club Director of Tennis Barry Friedman announced this would be the final year of the popular pro event after 23 years because of a change in the USTA Pro Circuit schedule. He said there is a possibility that a similar women’s event could may take place in March.
For more information, check on the web at:www.procircuit.usta.com, www.claremontclub.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Claremont-Club/236147226396
Sunday’s Final Singles Score
Brandon Holt (US) def. Martin Redlicki (US) , 3-6, 6-3, 6-2