Mississippi State's Romain Ambert Takes ITA Southeast Region Singles Title
Oct. 20, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - No. 4 seed Romain Ambert from Mississippi State University claimed the ITA Southeast Regional Singles Championship with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Tulane's Dmitriy Koch, Monday.
Ambert used his speed and footwork to keep Koch guessing, as the Mississippi State player ran down ball after ball and was relentless in keeping the balls low when he sent them back over to Koch. Ambert broke Koch's first service attempt to go up 2-0 in the first set, and was up by as many as 5-0 before Koch held serve to score his first point of the first set, 5-1. Ambert then held his own serve and took the first set, 6-1.
Koch opened the second set with the serve, holding to go up 1-0. Koch then broke a 30-30 tie in the second game when an Ambert backhand did not clear the net, giving Koch a break point. But Ambert answered with a cross-court winner from his forehand to go to deuce, then took the advantage with a cross-court volley. He held his serve even the match at 1-1, then came back from 15-0 down on Koch's serve in the third game to win four straight points to break the Tulane player's serve again and take a 2-1 lead.
Ambert held serve for a 3-1 lead, then broke Koch for the final time in the match, coming back from 30-15 down to take a 30-40 lead when Koch's return found the net and when a Koch forehand followed the previous attempt into the net.
With a 4-1 lead, Ambert fell behind in his next service game, trailing Koch 15-40. But despite having three opportunities to break Ambert's serve, Koch could not keep a ball in play, allowing Ambert back to deuce, then to advantage. With Ambert holding the advantage, Koch played back a serve he thought was long, but did not call. Since he thought he was just hitting the ball back to Ambert for a second serve, the ball went long and was recorded as a point for Ambert to give him a 5-1 lead.
Upset with the previous call, Koch came out in the seventh game and aced his first serve for a 15-0 lead. But a pair of forehands going astray gave Ambert the 15-30 lead, before an Ambert backhand slice sailed long for 30 all. Another netted shot from the forehand side gave Ambert a 30-40 lead and Koch double faulted on match point to give Ambert the second set, 6-1.
Both Ambert and Koch have qualified for the ITA Indoor Championships, held Nov. 6-7 at the University of Michigan.
Also joining them from the Southeast Region will be the Georgia doubles team of Bo Hodge and John Isner. The No. 2 seed in the tournament, Hodge and Isner hung with the Alabama's No. 10 seeded team of Chris Gostek and Stephen Mitchell, with the match knotting as each team held its own serve all the way to 6-6.
Hodge and Isner then broke ahead 7-6, and managed to hang on to the 9-7 thriller for the Doubles Championship, Monday.