The men’s title match at the 52nd annual Modesto Open had it all – two players piercing shots from baseline to baseline, swinging away for more than an hour in what was a treat for the fans at the Modesto Fitness and Racquet Club on Sunday afternoon.
On one side was the top seed, Ilya Osintsev, a tall, athletic left-handed senior at Santa Clara University. On the other, 17-year-old upstart Cameron Klinger of Elk Grove, who seemingly tracked down every ball coming his way.
Osintsev led 5-2 in the first set, only to watch Klinger rally tie to it at 5 before succumbing 7-5. The two were deadlocked 2-2, 30-all in the second set as Osintsev followed through on a serve.
Seconds later, the match was over when Osintsev clutched his right leg and called it quits due to severe cramping.
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“It was really bad and I couldn’t even walk,” Osintsev said. “It was hot today, and I’m not used to playing tournaments and I hadn’t played in awhile.”
This was the second match of the day for both players, as each had to win their semifinals – Osintsev defeating Brandon Sutter 6-1, 7-6 (7) and Klinger beating Eugene Muchynski 3-6, 6-1, 6-0.
“(Osintsev) was really tough, and it’s unfortunate he had to retire,” Klinger said. “I had some chances in that first set, but he played really well.”
Klinger did well to extend the first set, overcomng a 5-2 deficit. He broke Osintsev’s serve to make it 5-4, then fought off a set point in the 10th game to even it.
Osintsev won the final two games – winning all four points against Klinger’s serve to close it out.
“It was a really good set, and I thought I had some momentum,” Klinger said.
Osintsev said he felt the cramp coming on and had difficulty jumping on his serve.
“That set hurt me a little bit,” he said. “Maybe if I finished it a little early, I wouldn’t have cramped.”
Both players continued crushing the ball in the second set with Osintsev moving Klinger from side to side and Klinger tracking down nearly every shot.
“He’s pretty tall and moves really well for his size,” Osintsev said of Klinger. “He has really nice hands, a nice backhand and really consistent.”
The women’s final was never in doubt. Top seed Lauren Stratman overpowered 15-year-old Madeline Almeida 6-0, 6-0 to win a tournament she entered at the last minute.
The Goleta resident planned to play in a tournament in Mexico when she checked her passport and saw that it had expired.
“It was so last-minute, and I wanted to play a tournament so I found this one and came up here,” she said.
Stratman played at Columbia University in New York and last spring at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where she was named to the NAIA All-America team. She’s taking this year off from school to focus on tennis.
On Sunday, she pounded her forehand and serve, overwhelming Almeida, a talented sophomore who last year led Oak Ridge High School of El Dorado Hills to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I team championship match.
“It was a good match and (Almeida) played well,” Stratman said. “I just got my momentum going at the beginning and rode it from there to the end of the match.”
That she could win so convincingly was even more impressive, given it came after a 31/2-hour, three-set semifinal victory over Rachel Eason on Saturday.
“I thought I was going to wake up and not be able to watch,” she said. “I guess it shows that I’m fitter than I think.”
In the men’s doubles final, Sacramento’s Eric Roberson and Walnut Creek’s Paul Schurig beat Modesto’s Mark Fairchilds and Reno’s Jan Tiilikainen 6-1, 6-4. In the mixed doubles final, Stratman and Danville’s Mark Meyer beat Garrett Auproux of Studio City and Kati Kacsis of Folsom 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.