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Brian Baker: Circuit Player of the Week

August 11, 2004 09:42 AM
Birthdate: April 30, 1985
Birthplace: Nashville, Tenn.
Residence: Nashville, Tenn.
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand

It was a clean sweep for 19-year-old Brian Baker at the 2004 Colorado Tennis Classic in Denver. Baker, a native of Nashville, Tenn., taking home both the singles and doubles titles at last week’s $50,000 tournament, earning him his second career singles and fifth career doubles title on the USTA Pro Circuit.

In singles, Baker had a challenging week, needing three-set victories in three of his first four matches, before defeating fellow American K.J. Hippensteel of Roanoke, Va., 7-6 (5), 6-4, in the final. In doubles, he and partner Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., had an easier run to the title, dropping only one set during the week in a thrilling 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (7) semifinal-round victory over Americans Scott Lipsky and Jason Marshall, before beating British duo Jamie Delgado and Jonathan Marray, 6-2, 6-2, in the final.

Baker, a 6’ 3” right-hander, has shown great promise playing in just his first full season as a pro. He began the year by sweeping the singles and doubles titles at the USTA Futures event in Tampa, Fla.

Since then, he has won an ITF doubles title at the Granby, Canada, Challenger. He finished runner-up in singles at the Futures event in Tampa, Fla., and reached the doubles final at the Joplin, Mo., Challenger. He advanced to doubles semifinals at the Challengers in Dallas and Tallahassee, Fla., and the Futures event in McAllen, Texas. And he reached singles quarterfinals at Challengers in Lexington, Ky., Forest Hills, N.Y., Tallahassee and Granby, as well as the Futures event in Mobile, Ala.

In addition to these impressive USTA Circuit results, Baker also notched his most successful results to date at two ATP tournaments, reaching the second round of Newport, as a qualifier, last month and Memphis in February.


RANKING HISTORY
2003 – 7 (ITF), 1 (USTA 18s), 422 (ATP)
2002 – 6 (ITF), 1 (USTA 18s), 618 (ATP)
2001 – 13 (ITF), 1 (USTA 18s)
2000 – 159 (ITF), 2 (USTA 16s)

PROFESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

2004

  • Swept the singles and doubles titles at the $50,000 Challenger in Denver... Defeated K.J. Hippensteel, 7-6 (5), 6-4, for the singles championship and teamed with Rajeev Ram for an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Jamie Delgado and Jonathan Marray of Great Britian for the doubles title.
  • Advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lexington Challenger before losing to eventual champion Matias Boeker, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
  • Won the doubles title at the Granby, Canada, Challenger with partner Frank Dancevic, defeating Harel Levy and David Sanguinetti, 6-2, 7-6 (5), in the final... Also reached the singles quarterfinals, before falling to Amer Delic, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6).
  • Qualified into the ATP event in Newport, R.I., and advanced to the second round before falling to Jeff Morrison, 6-3, 6-3.
  • Reached the doubles semifinals (with Rajeev Ram) and the singles quarterfinals at the Tallahassee, Fla., Challenger.
  • Finished runner-up at the Futures event in Tampa, Fla., where he fell to K.J. Hippensteel, 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
  • As a qualifier, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Forest Hills Challenger... Lost to Michael Russell, 6-4, 6-4.
  • Reached the quarterfinals of the Mobile, Ala., Futures, before losing to Wang Yu Jr., 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
  • Qualified into the Boca Raton Challenger, but lost in the opening round to Wesley Moodie, 6-3, 6-3.
  • Reached the doubles semifinals (with Bobby Reynolds) at the Futures event in McAllen, Texas.
  • Reached the second round of the ATP event in Memphis, falling to Jan-Michael Gambill, 6-3, 6-4.
  • Advanced to the doubles final (with Rajeev Ram) at the Joplin, Mo., Challenger.
  • Was a doubles semifinalist (with Rajeev Ram) at the Dallas Challenger.
  • Swept the singles and doubles titles at the $10,000 USTA Futures event in Tampa, Fla…. Did not drop a set throughout the tournament and defeated four seeded players en route to the final, where he beat No. 7 Todd Widom, 6-3, 6-4…. Teamed with Rajeev Ram in doubles to upset top seeds Huntley Montgomery and Tripp Phillips, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

2003

  • Was a semifinalist at the USTA Futures event in Arlington, Texas… Lost to eventual champion Juan-Pablo Guzman, 6-3, 6-4.
  • Reached the quarterfinals of the USTA Futures event in Lubbock, Texas, where he lost to Dusan Vemic, 7-6 (2), 6-1.
  • Qualified into the $50,000 San Antonio Challenger and advanced to the second round, where he fell to Kevin Kim, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6), 6-4.
  • Won the doubles title (with Phillip Simmonds) and reached the singles quarterfinals at the USTA Futures event in Orange Park, Fla… Defeated Brendan Evans and Marcos Ondruska, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the doubles final and lost to Matias Boeker, 6-3, 6-4, in singles.
  • Reached the quarterfinals of the USTA Futures event in Vero Beach, Fla., losing to Rafael de Mesa, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
  • Advanced to the semifinals of the USTA Futures event in Elkin, N.C., where he fell to eventual champion Josh Goffi, 7-5, 6-4.
  • After qualifying into the event, reached his first final in a professional tournament at the 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 Davis Cup by NEC first-round tie.

2002

  • Was a quarterfinalist at the 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 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 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 USTA Futures event in Elkin, N.C., losing to eventual champion Andres Pedroso, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS

2003

  • Became the first U.S. player since Jared Palmer in 1989 to reach the French Open junior final… Seeded sixth in the event, posted a huge upset in the quarterfinals, where he eliminated world No. 1 and top-seed Marko Baghdatis of Cypress, 6-4, 7-5. He then defeated No. 4 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals, before losing a three-set final to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3… Also reached the semifinals (with Phillip Simmonds) in the doubles event, losing to eventual champions Gyorgy Balazs of Hungary and Dudi Sela of Israel, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
  • As the No. 1 seed in both events, swept the singles and doubles (with Phillip Simmonds) titles at the 39th Astrid Bowl Charleroi, Belgian International Junior Championships… In singles, did not drop a set en route to the final, where he defeated Jorge Aguilar of Chile, 6-1, 6-1… Also did not lose a set in the doubles event, eliminating Australians Adam Feeney and Lachlan Ferguson, 7-5, 6-1, in the final.
  • 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, who both played college tennis.
  • Started playing tennis at age two with his dad.
  • Favorite playing surface is hard court.
  • Is coached by Ricardo Acuna.
  • Favorite tennis player is Pete Sampras.
  • Enjoys playing golf, video games and basketball.
  • Graduated first in his class from Hillwood High School in Nashville in May 2003… Was MVP on his high school tennis team and was recruited by Stanford, Florida, Georgia, Duke and Virginia.
  • Was once featured as Sports Illustrated’s Amateur Athlete of the Month.
 

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