(March 27, 2016) CALABASAS, Calif., — If Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland is to win both the singles and doubles titles on Easter Sunday at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, he will value them equally.
The top-seeded 23-year-old Finland native Laaksonen, who represents Switzerland, overcame a first-set loss in his semifinal singles match on Saturday against No. 7-seeded American Eric Quigley to rally for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, victory and a spot in the final where he will meet No. 2-seed Australian Matthew Barton.
Barton served and returned exceptionally well in his 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over No. 3-seeded American Mitchell Krueger. It will be just the second time in the tournament’s 15 years that there will not be an American in the Calabasas final.
The only other time no American appeared in the final at Calabasas was in 2003 when France’s Jerome Golmard beat Germany’s Lars Burgsmuller in what was previously a $50,000 Challenger-lever tournament.
“I was a bit tired in the beginning and got down 1-5 in the first set,” said Laaksonen, who qualified for the doubles final with a semifinal win on Friday. “I got it to 4-5 and he served it out well to take the first set.”
Laaksonen said he started to play better as the match progressed, much the same way he did in his only other career win over the former University of Kentucky All-American Quigley in the Champaign, Ill., Challenger quarterfinal. “In the third set I had a break and then he broke back,” Laaksonen said.
With Quigley serving down 4-5 in the third set, Laaksonen opened up a 40-15 lead, and Quigley saved a match point before hitting an overhead into the bottom of the net to end the competitive match.
Laaksonen said it’s a real positive for him to be in both the singles and doubles final on Sunday.
“I don’t think anybody would complain about being in two finals,” he said. “It means you have had a good week.”
He continued: “At this moment in my career the main focus is in singles, but you try to get good practice in doubles. You always try to win as many matches as you can and to gain confidence. Doubles is perfect practice because you get the match preparation and you get the serve and the return and the baseline game and the volley. So you get the perfect situation of a match.”
In the later doubles semifinal on Saturday, the top-seeded team of Quigley and former UCLA star Nick Meister were able to hold off the young American teenage duo of Stefan Kozlov and Deiton Baughman, 6-4, 6-2, to make the doubles finals where they will face Laaksonen and the Czech Republic’s Marek Michalicka following the singles final.
Saturday’s Singles Semifinals
Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland (1), def. Eric Quigley, U.S. (7), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
Matthew Barton, Australia (2), def. Mitchell Krueger, U.S. (3), 7-6 (6), 6-4
Saturday’s Doubles Semifinal
Followed by Nick Meister, U.S. / Eric Quigley, U.S. (1), vs. Deiton Baughman, U.S. / Stefan Kozlov, U.S., 6-4, 6-2
Sunday’s Singles Final
Starting at 1 p.m.
Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland (1), vs. Matthew Barton, Australia (2)
Sunday’s Doubles Final
Henri Laaksonen, Switzerland / Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, vs. Nick Meister, U.S. / Eric Quigley, U.S. (1)
Written by Steve Pratt