A twister blew through the 76th Santa Barbara Open.
Top-seeded Andre Dome, unleashing a fierce, twisting, two-fisted forehand and backhand and a big serve, overpowered Cal Poly teammate Marco Comuzzo, 6-2, 6-4 in the Men’s Open singles final on Saturday at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara.
It was the first tournament win of the summer for Dome, who led the Mustangs to the Big West title, was named the conference player of the year and finished the season as the No.40-ranked collegiate singles player in the country.
The Arroyo Grande High graduate came out on fire against his teammate and summer training partner, breaking Comuzzo on his first serve and then serving a love game to take a 2-0 lead.
“I don’t think he made one error,” said the left-handed Comuzzo of Dome’s fast start.
Dome twists his entire upper body when he blasts a two-handed forehand and backhand from the baseline. And the ball is spinning and sizzling, making it difficult to return.
“That’s how I was taught,” he said. “I don’t practice it, it’s just natural for me to do that. The only way to get power on those shots is to use torque with it.”
Comuzzo, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, has gotten more familiar with Dome’s wicked returns, having trained with him for the last three weeks.
Dome said he’s seen big improvement in Comuzzo’s game.
“Practice is always heated and it’s always close but I usually get the upper hand,” said Dome, who earned a spot in the NCAA Individual Championships this season. “I have a little more experience, but he’s improved in the last three weeks. Three weeks ago it would have been a lot easier for me, but today it was kind of tough in the second set. He played well.”
Dome completed his junior year and Comuzzo his sophomore campaign at Cal Poly.
After dropping the first game of the second set, Dome won the next three games. He broke Comuzzo for the third time in the match, using big returns and a surprise lob shot for a point.
“That was difference in the match,” Dome said of the serving. “He didn’t break me and I broke him a couple of times.”
Dome appeared to have Comuzzo down and out at the start of the seventh game when he ran down a pair of drop shots and won the point. But Comuzzo regained his composure, fought back and won the game, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
He went ahead 40-30 in the next game on a beautiful passing shot, but Dome answered with a winner down the line to knot the score at deuce. Comuzzo missed another break-point opportunity when he mis-hit a second serve. Dome ended up winning the game on an ace and a long backhand return by Comuzzo.
“There were a few games in the second set that I got into a service game but other than that he was always pressing on my serve, which was tough to deal with, and he broke me,” said Comuzzo. “He was returning well.
“I felt when I got into the points, we were kind of even,” he added, “but those initial returns and serves he was much better.”
Comuzzo held serve to make it 5-4 before Dome finished him off with a pair of aces in a love game.
“It’s always an honor to win a tournament,” said Dome of winning in his SB Open debut. “It’s good for the confidence for the next couple of tournaments. It’s always good to get a W.”
In other action, the sister team of Loesje Guizar and Danielle Ouwendijk of Somis won the Women’s Open doubles final, beating Santa Barbara’s Kim Denig and Eva Rivera of Ventura, 6-4, 6-3.
The finals of the USTA Men’s 50s National Hardcourt Championships also were being contested at the Tennis Club. In the singles final, Mike Tammen of Portland, Ore., rallied to defeat Bill Moss of Malibu, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Former Long Beach State teammates Ross Hessler (Mission Viejo) and Jon Tyrell (Sierra Madre) captured the doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over David Porte and Thomas Schlack of Long Beach.