The UCLA pair of Mackenzie McDonald and Robin Anderson swept the second annual American Collegiate Invitational titles Saturday. The 20-year-old McDonald of Piedmont, Calif. beat Vanderbilt 22-year-old graduate Gonzales Austin of Miami, 6-2, 7-5, in the men's final. Anderson, a 22-year-old from Matawan, N.J. who was a senior in 2015, beat fellow UCLA grad, 21-year-old Chanelle Van Nguyen of Miami, 6-4, 6-4, in the women's final.
“It’s one of the biggest stages in the world, and it means a lot to get that result here,” said McDonald of the win. “It’s really cool that we have this event here now at the Open. The Bruins have taken both titles so far, so hopefully we can continue that tradition. I thought I was very mentally focused and ready and calm throughout this event. I didn’t let the stage or anything get into my head too much. I just focused on the things I could control, and it paid off.”
After cruising through the first set, 6-2, second-seeded McDonald and fourth-seeded Austin traded game for game in the second set. A serving duel, McDonald was 88 percent on first serve points, while Austin was 85 percent. Going down to the wire, the UCLA junior led 6-5 heading into Austin’s serve. The game went back and forth, but McDonald broke Austin’s serve, taking the set and clinching the title.
Anderson, the 2014-2015 ITA National Collegiate Player of the Year, downed her former teammate Van Nguyen in straights in the women's ACI Final on Saturday evening.
"It means a lot to me," said Anderson. "As a little kid, I always wanted to play at the Open, so any opportunity that I get to play here is amazing."
After Anderson took the first set, 6-4, play was suspended shortly into the second set. The remainder of the match was moved inside, where Anderson also won the second set, 6-4, clinching the title.
"I thought I played pretty well," said Van Nguyen. "I think it came down to preparation. But I made it to the finals, and I'm really happy about that."
With their victories, McDonald and Anderson receive either main draw or qualifying wild cards into the 2016 U.S. Open, depending on their ranking next summer (main draw if number 120 or better by the U.S. Open entry deadline).