Basica buckles down to beat Webster

Leo BasicaSamuel Webster and Leo Basica closed out the 2009 Santa Barbara Tennis Open with a relentless men’s open final on Saturday, with Basica completing a stunning 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 turnaround at the Santa Barbara Tennis Club to defeat the three-time champ.

Basica fought off five match points in the second set to force a tiebreaker and used a late break of serve in the third to take the title. Each player played every point as if it were the last, making for a string of long rallys that extended the match to a marathon-like 3 1/2 hours.

“I had to be risky to beat him. He just gets every ball back,” said Basica, who lost to Webster in last year’s semifinals.

This year, it looked like it would be a similar result with Webster on the brink of victory. But Basica turned the tide after deflecting the match points in the second set, getting stronger as the match went on.

Sam Webster“That’s what makes a great match. You want your opponent to play their best and you want to play your best and we’ll see who wins,” Webster said, an apparent admission that both players were playing at their highest level.

Both Basica and Webster won four matches to reach the final, with Basica defeating doubles teammate Alexandre Anselme in one semifinal and Webster doing likewise against Spencer Simon. Basica and Anselme defeated Webster-Simon in the doubles championship match, 6-4, 6-2.

In other singles, former Santa Barbara High No. 1 and current UCSB Gaucho Taylor Chavez Goggin knocked out No. 1 seed Alex Brigham in the round of 16 in a 6-3, 6-4 victory. Chavez Goggin’s UCSB teammate, Josh Finklestein, also reached the round of 16 but was stopped by Simon, a current Santa Barbara Don.

The tournament also hosted the Men’s Over-50 Hardcourt National Championships, won by No. 1 seed William English. The top-seeded doubles team, Valls Wilder and Mike Fedderly, also won its draw.