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Russian Top Seed Takes Title at 2003 Project Independence Men's $25K Challenger

September 21, 2003 11:05 PM

Russian Dmitry Tursunov staged a dramatic come from behind victory over Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic on Sunday to win the 2003 Project Independence Men's $25K Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit event played at the Hootmon Tennis Club in Mandeville, LA.

After losing the opening set 6-3, Tursunov regrouped and handily swept the final two sets. Hernych, seeded No. 5, at times seemed ready to jump back into the match, but Tursunov continually played the aggressor and overpowered his opponent, winning the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Dmitry Tursunov at the 2001 Kroger-St. Jude Tournament. (Photo credit © 2001, rowztennis.com. All rights reserved. Photo taken by Lanie.)
Tursunov took home $3,600 with the win, while Hernych earned $2,120. Both will undoubtedly move up in the ATP Champions Points Race.

Tursunov is coming off of his remarkable first round, five set win over former world No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil at the 2003 US Open. He followed that amazing performance with another five set victory over John van Lottum of the Netherlands in round two, only to have his US Open run end in the third round with a loss to Belgium's Xavier Malisse.

En route to the final round of play Tursunov fended off rising young American, and two time NCAA Singles Champion, Matias Boeker. Boeker, however, was not much of a challenge as Tursunov pulled off the straight victory, 6-3, 6-2.

Hernych also faced a young American in the semis, but had a more difficult time advancing. Virginia's K.J. Hippensteel pushed Hernych to three sets before losing. The final score was 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3.

In doubles the unseeded team of Frenchman Sebastien De Chaunac and American Zach Fleishman battled through a tough three sets against German Benedikt Dorsch and Slovakian Matija Zgaga, before winning 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3. In the semifinals De Chaunac and Fleishman easily defeated the No. 2 team of Paul Goldstein and Anthony Ross, 6-2, 7-5.

Download the final singles and doubles draws.

The USTA organizes, sponsors and administers the USTA Professional Circuit, the gateway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis professionals and a frequent battleground for established players. The 2003 circuit features nearly 100 events for men and women. Prize money at USTA Professional Circuit events ranges from $10,000 to $75,000, with more than $3 million in purses this year. Players also earn valuable ATP and WTA tour ranking points.

Among the players to have launched notable careers on the USTA Professional Circuit are: Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport, Michael Chang, Patrick Rafter, Mary Pierce, Todd Martin, Chanda Rubin, Alexandra Stevenson, Jan-Michael Gambill, Anna Kournikova, Meghann Shaughnessy, James Blake and Andy Roddick.

The USTA owns and operates the US Open, two professional tour events, and 98 Pro Circuit events throughout the United States. In addition, it selects the U.S. teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and the Olympic Games. The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States, and is a not-for-profit organization with more than 660,000 members. It invests all its resources to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grass roots to the professional levels. For more information on the USTA, log on to www.usta.com.




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