Aubone wins Men's Futures of Pittsburgh one week after loss in Rochester final
Spent after playing five singles matches in five days last week, Jean-Yves Aubone decided to give his coach a call.
He played great tennis at the Men's Futures of Rochester, making it all the way to the final match before losing in straight sets to American Conner Smith. But Aubone couldn't help but feel a sense of incompleteness.
“Talking to my coach, I said, ‘I'm still disappointed because you don't know when you're going to get a chance to play in the final again, no matter what level,' ” Aubone said.
Luckily for Aubone, that agonizing wait could not have been shorter, as he redeemed himself a week later to take a three-set victory over Toby Martin of Great Britain on Sunday in the championship match of the Men's Futures of Pittsburgh.
“A lot of things have to go right for you to get to the final. I didn't see it coming,” Aubone said. “It's incredible after last week to come back and have a week like this.”
Perhaps more incredible was Aubone's ability to stay in a match that looked like it was destined for a quick, two-set decision early on at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center. Aubone didn't hold serve until the sixth game of the match, dropping the first set 6-1.
Martin played with confidence in his return game early, forcing Aubone to play the ball deep into his hands on second hits and keeping him from gaining any position. Aubone managed to stop the match from escaping him in the second set, however, winning his first six service games even while Martin won his first five. The 26-year-old American broke Martin just once in the first two sets, but that one game provided a critical shift in momentum, giving Aubone a 7-5 second-set victory and forcing a third set.
“I felt there's maybe a slight opening, but he wasn't giving it to me until 6-5. He got a little nervous,” Aubone said. “I know I didn't win the second set, I just put a few extra balls in play. He kind of allowed me back in the match, I thought.”
Aubone admittedly didn't play his best tennis. He fell behind 3-0 in the third set and even gave Martin a chance to serve for the match up 5-4. Still, he made big shots in the most critical points, winning two of the final three games to force a third-set tiebreaker, which he won 8-6.
He also added an element of much-needed entertainment in battling with Martin, who had won eight straight sets in the tournament prior to Sunday.
“You can't ask for any more than that (championship match),” first-year tournament director Hank Hughes said. “We've had blowouts (ending) in 40 minutes where you're like ‘What the?' ”
Aubone said he will take the win in stride and not exclusively play Challenger Tour events with higher purses after seeing several Futures event winners take the same route and hit a dead end. He added he'll take the next two or three days to enjoy the win before returning to tournament preparation.
“I don't know,” Aubone saud Sunday when asked what the win meant to him. “But (I'm) definitely having a couple beers tonight.”
Andrew Erickson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.