Dominant players to meet in Men's Future finals
Standing near the baseline after losing a lengthy rally to Jean-Yves Aubone in the second set of his semifinal match Saturday, Liam Broady forced a frustrated compliment.
“You're so talented,” Broady shouted at Aubone, drawing laughter from the crowd at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center.
Broady was just a day removed from winning the doubles title at the Men's Futures of Pittsburgh and displayed plenty of athleticism in his first three singles matches, but the talent and consistency of Aubone were too much for the 20-year-old Brit in a 6-2, 6-4 decision that sent Aubone to Sunday's championship match.
Aubone wasn't overpowering Saturday afternoon so much as error-free. The first four games of the semifinal match reached deuce, but the 26-year-old former Florida State Seminole won three of the games by keeping rallies alive and forcing Broady to make mistakes.
“I will say (Broady) did miss more than what I was expecting,” Aubone said. “In certain moments, that made me say, ‘Let's just get another ball in play, give him a chance to miss instead of forcing it.'”
Broady was more accurate with his first serves in the second set, producing shorter points and requiring Aubone to land more high-risk, high-reward shots, but he said his focus carried him through to the end of the match.
Aubone has faced very little resistance on his way to the championship match, losing just one set — to Texas A&M's Jeremy Efferding on Friday — in four matches. Still, he knows he can't rest on his laurels, and with good reason.
Toby Martin, who defeated Hunter Harrington of Clemson 6-4, 6-2 in the first semifinal of the day, has dominated each of his four opponents and has not yet dropped a set in the tournament.
Martin, 21, likewise has risen above the field by forcing his opponents to beat themselves. Winning long rallies seemingly at will this week has him bursting with confidence as he looks ahead to Sunday's final, which is at 10:30 a.m.
“I just feel like they're going to have to play pretty exceptional tennis to beat me,” Martin said. “I feel like if we play into a rally, nine times out of 10 I'm going to win it.”
An enjoyable living situation in Pittsburgh also has Martin convinced he won't psych himself out prior to his biggest match of the tournament.
“The family I'm staying with, they're the best family I've ever met,” Martin said. “It's good because I can get a lot of tennis, chill out, have good fun and go from there.”
For all his success at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center, Aubone said he knows what he's up against. The two have only played each other in a doubles match two weeks ago in Buffalo, but Aubone said he has been keeping an eye on the red-hot Martin all week.
“I know he's a good player, and I know he's on a roll right now,” Aubone said. “If he's on, I know it's going to be tough, but hopefully he's not.”
Andrew Erickson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.