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Brian Baker: USTA Circuit Player of the Year

April 17, 2003 09:55 AM

BRIAN BAKER
Birthdate: April 30, 1985
Birthplace: Nashville, Tenn.
Residence: Nashville, Tenn.
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 150 lbs.
Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand

Brian Baker (photo credit: Scott Olivenbaum)
Seventeen-year-old Brian Baker of Nashville, Tenn., one of the world’s top junior players, posted his best result in a professional tournament last week, when he advanced to the final of the 2003 St. Vincent Auxiliary USTA Men’s Pro Tournament in Little Rock, Ark. Baker, a qualifier in the $15,000 USTA Futures event, had an impressive week, upsetting No. 3 seed Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic, 7-5, 6-3, in the semifinals and dropping only one set en route to the final, where he fell to sixth-seeded Ignacio Hirigoyen of Argentina, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Currently ranked second in the country in the boys’ 18s and third on the ITF World Junior Rankings, Baker has shown great promise competing at the professional level. In addition to reaching the final in Little Rock this year, he also advanced to semifinals in Elkin, N.C., and Arlington, Texas, and quarterfinals in St. Joseph, Mo., and Hammond, La., in 2002.

Baker, who served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team that faced Croatia in the first round in February, will be competing in the 2003 Sprint USTA Futures of Elkin, N.C., this week. He will face another talented young American, 20-year-old qualifier Ytai Abougzir of Delray Beach, Fla., in his first-round match Wednesday.


RANKING HISTORY
2002 – 6 (ITF), 1 (USTA 18s)
2001 – 13 (ITF), 1 (USTA 18s)
2000 – 159 (ITF), 2 (USTA 16s)

PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

After qualifying into the event, reached his first final in a professional tournament at the 2003 USTA Futures event in Little Rock, Ark.… Lost in the championship match to Ignacio Hirigoyen, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Was named a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup team that faced Croatia in the 2003 Davis Cup by NEC first-round tie.
Was a quarterfinalist at the 2002 USTA Futures event in Hammond, La., where he lost to Tripp Phillips, 6-4, 6-2… Upset top-seed Justin Bower, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round.
Qualified into the 2002 USTA Futures event in Arlington, Texas, and advanced to the semifinals, before falling to Huntley Montgomery in a third-set tie-break, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 USTA Futures event in St. Joseph, Mo., where he fell to Takahiro Terachi, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Reached his first professional semifinal at the 2002 USTA Futures event in Elkin, N.C., losing to eventual champion Andres Pedroso, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS

2003

Reached the doubles semifinals (with Brendan Evans) at the Australian Open Junior Championships.
Advanced to the singles and doubles quarterfinals (with Evans) at the Australian Hardcourt Junior Championships.
2002

Won the singles title and reached the doubles quarterfinals (with Evans) at the BURGER KING Orange Bowl.
Swept both the singles and doubles titles (with Luis Flores) at the Chanda Rubin North/Central American & Caribbean Junior Championships in Tulsa.
Won the singles title at the Kentucky International Junior Tennis Derby, defeating Josh Cohen, 6-1, 6-4 in the final… Did not drop a set throughout the tournament.
Was a double finalist (with Chris Guccione) at the US Open Junior Championships.
Reached the singles semifinals and the double quarterfinals (with Chris Kwon) at the USTA Super National Hard Court Championships.
Finished runner-up in doubles (with Rajeev Ram) at the Wimbledon Junior Championships.
Advanced to the singles quarterfinals at the LTA International Junior Tennis Championships – Roehampton.
Won the doubles title (with Evans) and advanced to the singles semifinals at the 38th Astrid Bowl, Belgian International Junior Championships.
Was a semifinalist at the Target Cup, the junior event held in conjunction with the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Advanced to the round of 16 at the Australian Open Junior Championships.
Finished runner-up in doubles (with Frank Dancevic) and advanced to the quarterfinals in singles at the Australian Hardcourt Junior Championships.
2001

Was chosen to represent the United States at the Sunshine Cup, the ITF’s official team competition for boys’ 18 and younger.
Won the singles title and finished runner-up in doubles at the Chanda Rubin North/Central American & Caribbean Closed Championships in Baton Rouge, La.
Reached the singles semifinals and the doubles final (with Matthew Emery) at the Kentucky International Junior Tennis Derby.
As a wild-card entrant, lost to No. 158-ranked Tomas Zib in the first round of the US Open qualifying tournament, 6-2, 6-4.
Reached the singles final at the USTA Boys’ 18s Super National Hard Court Championships, losing to Alex Bogomolov.
Advanced through qualifying to the main draw of the junior Wimbledon championships…Defeated Prakash Amritraj in the first round, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and extended No. 1 seed Janko Tipsarevic to three sets in the second round, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3.
Reached the semifinals of the Coffee Bowl, losing to Ytai Abougzir, 6-3, 6-1.
2000

Upset Tres Davis in the first round of the US Open boy’s singles event, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, before losing to Daniel Munoz of Spain in the second round, 6-4, 6-3.
In his first appearance in an ITF World Junior Ranking event, won the title at the USTA Junior International Hard Courts, defeating Adam Kennedy in the final, 6-3, 6-4.
Won the USTA Boys’ 16s Clay Court Championships, defeating Derrick Bauer in the final, 6-2, 6-1.
Won the Boys’ 16s doubles title at the Easter Bowl.
Posted a 3-1 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record in the NEC World Youth Cup Final in Hiroshima, Japan. The World Youth Cup is the Davis Cup equivalent for juniors’ 16 and younger.
1999

Was a singles finalist and doubles champion at Les Petits As, the most prestigious international 14-and-under tournament in the world. Became the first American to reach the boys’ singles final since Brian Dunn won the title in 1988.
1998

Defeated Ram in the singles final, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, then teamed with him to defeat Hart Ku and Eric Longenkamp, 6-4, 6-1, in the doubles final.
Was a singles finalist at the USTA Boys’ 14 National Championships… Lost to Doug Stewart, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
PERSONAL

Father, Steve, is an attorney; mother, Jackie, is a teacher. Has an older sister, Kathryn, and older brother, Art.
Was introduced to tennis at age 2½ by his father.
Favorite playing surface is hard court.
Is sponsored by adidas and Babolat.
Favorite tennis player is Andre Agassi.
Enjoys playing golf, video games and basketball.

 

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