Dome wins classic over Newman for second Santa Barbara Open title

Andre Dome - Santa Barbara Tennis Open

Andre Dome won his second title at the Santa Barbara Open in the past three years. (Presidio Sports Photos)


No. 1 seed Andre Dome clinched the second Santa Barbara Open title of his career this Fourth of July weekend, defeating No. 2 Noah Newman in a fierce championship match that was decided by a tight third set at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara.

Dome – who was a Big West Conference Player of the Year while playing at Cal Poly – edged Newman 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4.

“The final was a lot tougher this year so I was happy to pull it out,” said Dome. “Last time I played in this tournament I won both the singes and doubles. This year I just won the singles, but it was still a good accomplishment.”

It looked as if the first set could’ve fallen to either player, but after Dome went up 6-5 and was given the chance to capitalize on a set point, Newman battled back to serve out the game, thus advancing the set to a tie-breaker which he then went on to win, 7-3.

“After giving up the first set I just kept telling myself that it takes two sets to win a match,” said Dome. “I was prepared to go into a third set so I just wanted to focus a little bit more and try not to make as many loose errors. I think I did that pretty well.”

Dome came out even more aggressively in the second set and broke Newman in the first game, not allowing a single point. Dome’s momentum continued as he held serve in the second game and went up 2-0.

“I was happy that I took that first set,” said Newman. “I think I maybe took too long of a break and lost my edge because he came out and just broke my serve in the first game of the second set right away. I felt like I should’ve been more aware of the possibility of that happening.”

Noah Newman is a former UCLA player.

Noah Newman is a tennis pro at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club.

Dome broke Newman again later in the second set to go up 5-2. Dome started to struggle with his backhand as Newman got into a groove; the former UCLA Bruin broke Dome twice in a row and won three consecutive games after miraculously overcoming four set points at 4-5 to tie up the set at 5-5.

“I need to work on keeping my groundstrokes more consistent,” said Dome. “I hadn’t played a tournament in a while so my expectations were a little too high for how I was striking the ball.”

Dome got out of his funk in the 11th game of the second set and displayed a solid performance in the return game to put him up 6-5. He then held serve to force a third set.

“It always feels good to win,” said Dome. “I didn’t play my best but I still pulled through. These types of wins are sometimes even sweeter than when you do go out there and play some of your best tennis. Overall, I thought it was a good day.”

The third set was every bit as riveting as the previous two. Newman served in the first game and was able to squeak it out after a long-fought contest. Newman broke Dome in the second and at 2-0, the possibility of an impressive upset did not seem so improbable.

But Dome didn’t let himself fold mentally and he battled back to tie it up 2-2.

Andre Dome - Santa Barbara Tennis Open

Andre Dome plays with a two-handed forehand and backhand.

“I felt like I had an opportunity,” said Newman. “I was up 2-0 in the third set after I broke his serve, I really felt that that was my time. I can’t complain because I thought I played really well against a player who is close to the prime of his tennis career. At (age) 36 to play one of my best matches of all time is a really good feeling.”

Newman keeps on top of his game as a professional at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club.

It was back and forth tennis in the third set, both players muscling it out to see who would take home the championship prize money. Both players held serve and at 3-3, Dome crucially broke Newman, which was the decisive factor in the third set. At 5-4, Dome concluded a spectacular tennis match, closing it out with match point at 40-15.

Despite the loss, Newman is excited to move forward. “I think this is a big learning experience,” said Newman. “I can improve on this match and there is definitely a lot to learn from it. I’m playing an open tournament in Oxnard next weekend and it won’t be as tough as this. I have a lot of confidence after this match so it will be fun to go out there and play some more.”

Andre Dome plans to carry forward his momentum into his next few tournaments. “I’m going to go down to Southern California and play some money tournaments next week and the following week,” said Dome. “Then I’m hoping to go up to Canada and play in August.”

It was the 78th Santa Barbara Tennis Open.

Additional champions included Women’s Open winner Lori Stern, a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Anna Ustinova.

In doubles, top-seeded Nicholas Ballou and Marc Vartabedian won the Men’s Open title after finalists Dylan Brown and Fabian Schaefer had to withdraw.

Victor Almager of Lodi won the NTRP Men’s 4.0 Singles division in what was the second-largest draw of the tournament. Almager defeated top-seeded Craig Myers of Camarillo 6-2, 6-4 in the final.