Madison Brengle captured the singles title in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
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By McCarton Ackerman, special to USTA.com
RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. -- The third edition of the Fresh Start Women’s Open at the Morgan Run Club concluded with the singles final taking place in front of a packed house. No. 6 seed Madison Brengle completed a dream week by winning the title without losing a set, taking 14 of the last 16 points to defeat No. 2 seed Nicole Gibbs, 6-1, 6-4.
"I knew I had to play really well because she beat me in three sets the last time we played," said Brengle. "She’s so consistent, and I knew every point was going to be a grind, so I really had to stay focused out there."
Brengle grabbed the first break of the match and raced out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set. Hitting every ball deep and down the middle of the court, Brengle was consistent and began to frustrate her higher-ranked opponent, who hit numerous errors throughout in the early stages of the match.
In the second set, Gibbs began to take the ball earlier and step into the middle of the court. The plan worked, as she raced out to a 4-2 lead, but the high-risk tennis ultimately proved to be too much to handle. As Brengle began to track even more shots down and go for winners when opportunities arose, she reeled off four consecutive games to take the title.
This is the fourth USTA Pro Circuit title of Brengle’s career and her third at the $25,000 level. She has been at this tournament for all three years it has taken place, also reaching the final in 2011 and compiling an 11-2 record here.
"The courts suit my game quite well, and I have a good feel of the timing on them," said Brengle. "I also really like the town because there are so many good restaurants, so I’m happy to spend the week here."
Despite the loss, Gibbs was optimistic about her tennis. The reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion said that while no official decision has been made, she is "90 perceny sure" she will turn pro at the end of this year.
"This week has kind of reinforced that decision for me," said Gibbs. "I feel like I’m playing at a top-100 level now and hope to make Wimbledon my first tournament as a professional."