A little bit of rain wasn’t going to stop UCLA’s Marcos Giron from winning the inaugural American Collegiate Invitational played at the U.S. Open Saturday afternoon. The top-seeded Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., downed Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt, 6-1, 6-3, to win the men’s title in the eight-player event played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Saturday afternoon.
If Giron is ranked 250th or higher on the ATP Tour Rankings, he will receive a main draw wild card into next year’s U.S. Open. Guaranteed at least a qualifying wild card, Giron will also get wild cards into two USTA Pro Circuit events, while Kobelt will get one.
Playing a dominating all-court game, the reigning NCAA singles champion Giron took a commanding 5-1, 15-40 lead on Kobelt’s serve when the rain came. Kobelt won one point, and play was suspended. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” said Giron, who entered the locker room and began a 90-minute wait. “I had all the momentum to that point, but all of the sudden a rain delay can make you more relaxed once you come back out there.”
But Giron came back and took the set and eventually the match.
Currently ranked 419th in the ATP World Tour rankings, Giron has been in New York for two and a half weeks having played in the main draw of the pro event. “I’m ready to go back home,” Giron said. “This is a place I definitely want to be coming back to a lot in the future. This is the top of tennis, and I’m definitely looking forward to coming back and proving myself.”
Giron has had a good summer, including qualifying at the Winston-Salem tournament. “It’s attainable,” he said of reaching 250th by this time next year. “It’s been a steep learning curve since I turned pro, but I’m getting a grasp on it and slowly learning how to be a pro.”
Giron and Kobelt had split matches during their college days, and Kobelt said Giron has improved since he beat him two years ago.
“Marcos played great,” he said. “He has a lot of confidence since winning the NCAA title and had a great summer. He’s really developed an all-around game.”