© Cynthia Lum
CARSON, CA, -- There were times this week when it looked like Wayne Odesnik and Scoville Jenkins were headed for early exits from the USTA Pro Circuit's first Challenger on the 2009 calendar. Yet, there they were Sunday morning on Court 4 at Home Depot Center, the lone survivors of the 32-player draw.
In the end, though, there could be only one and Odesnik stayed in the moment better, posting a decisive 6-4, 6-4 victory, pocketing $7,200 and, perhaps more importantly, picking up 75 ATP Tour ranking points. Seeded fourth, Odesnik dropped only one set in five tournament matches--to fifth-seeded Jesse Levine in the quarterfinals.
"This whole week has been about me working on my game, trying to improve every match, Odesnik said after being presented the winner's trophy. "I pretty much know all these guys, we're all familiar with each other. Everyone is capable of winning."
Case in point: Friday's quarterfinal against Levine when Odesnik had his back against the wall, down a break in the third set, before rallying to win, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (7-4), 6-4, in a match that took over three hours.
"I was fortunate to get through that one because I didn't do some of the things I've been working on," Odesnik said. "These last two matches I have done those things better and it's showed in the results."
Odesnik, a 23-year-old left-hander from Weston, Florida, upset top-seeded Vincent Spadea in the semifinals on Saturday, easily his best match to that point. On Sunday, he picked up right where he left off, playing aggressive tennis to keep the unseeded Jenkins in defense mode.
"It's disappointing to get this far and not win but there are positives I can take from this week," said Jenkins, a 22-year-old from Atlanta, who picked up 45 ranking points and the runner's up check of $4,240. He, too, survived a scare earlier in the tournament, outlasting Ecuador's Giovanni Lapentti, 6-7 (9-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-1), in the second round.
"Wayne played well," added Jenkins, ranked No. 215, one of five former USTA Boys' champions in the Carson field and regarded as one of the fittest players on the Pro Circuit. "Both of us won pretty easily yesterday so fatigue wasn't a factor at all. He just won."
For Odesnik, the victory could be the start of another breakthrough year. In 2008, he got to the third round of the French Open, the second round of the U.S. Open and made the main draw at Wimbledon. The arrow next to his name is definitely pointed up.
"Yeah, I'm anxious to see what I can do on the [ATP] Tour," said Odesnik, who began the event ranked No. 115, two spots behind third-seeded Hyung-Taik Lee of Japan and three spots behind second-seeded Kevin Kim of Newport Coast, California. Cecil Mamiit of the Philippines upset Lee in the second round and Jenkins beat Kim in the semifinals.
Sunday, February 1
Wayne Odesnik (4), United States, def. Scoville Jenkins, United States, 6-4, 6-4