Nearly 400 players competed in last weekend’s APP Sunmed St. Louis Open, hosted at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park. While many of the top APP pros found their way to the finals, we also saw many fresh faces take home the gold!
Three APP pros earned their first career gold medals: Dominique Schaefer in women’s singles and the team of CJ Klinger and Andre Mick in men’s doubles. Veteran pro Megan Fudge also took her first gold medal of the year alongside Susannah Barr in women’s doubles. Let’s take a closer look at how these pros earned their first gold medals!
Men’s Singles – Hunter Johnson vs. Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez
Men’s pro singles was the first event of Championship Sunday, where Hunter Johnson earned his 7th gold medal, 5th in men’s singles, on the APP Tour this season. His opponent Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez fought hard through the main draw, not dropping a single game until the semifinals.
Johnson swept Alvarez in the semifinals (11-2, 11-0) and kept that energy going into the finals. While Alvarez managed to take game two, Johnson prevented a tie-breaker by finishing strong in game three (11-5, 6-11, 11-3).
“It was a great match. We went three games – he made me work for it – and I’m just happy to come out with the win. Trusting my shots and staying emotionally neutral was the key. I missed a couple of shots, regrouped, refocused, changed the game plan a little bit, and went out and executed. Any game in the win column is a good feeling, and I’m looking to keep the momentum going.”Hunter Johnson
Women’s Singles – Dominique Schaefer vs. Salome Devidze
Women’s pro singles saw the upset of the tournament. With Parris Todd stepping back from singles in St. Louis, all eyes were on Salome Devidze to claim her fourth gold medal of the season. However, 6-seed Dominique Schaefer was in complete control on Championship Sunday.
In game one, Schaefer quickly pickled Devidze, 11-0. Schaefer kept the pressure up with strong deep drives that Devidze just couldn’t get a handle on. This pattern continued into game two, with Schaefer keeping Devidze pinned far behind the baseline.
Schaefer’s quick two-game finals match win pushed the series to a 15-point tie-breaker, as Devidze had defeated Schaefer in the semifinals. While the tie-breaker was close, Schaefer maintained the lead throughout, winning 15-11 and earning her first-ever APP gold medal.
Mixed Doubles – Barr/Daescu vs. Johnson/Todd
Next up, we got to see a classic matchup in mixed doubles with two of the strongest doubles teams in all of the APP. Parris Todd and Hunter Johnson partner up yet again as defending champions following Todd’s incredible triple crown performance at the APP Newport Beach Open. They faced off against Susannah Barr and Andrei Daescu, who also have medaled together this year in the APP.
This time around, Daescu and Barr were on a mission and didn’t drop a single game until the finals. Todd and Johnson took game one in the finals (3-11), but Daescu and Barr came into game two fired up, maintaining the lead throughout the entirety of the game (11-5).
Game three saw more of the same from Daescu and Barr, with both of them speeding it up at the line. They were in full command for game three, winning 11-3, and earning themselves their third medal together this season.
Men’s Doubles – Mick/Klinger vs. Daescu/Nunnery
8-seeds Andre Mick and CJ Klinger made their debut finals showing together against the 1-seeded team of Andrei Daescu and Rob Nunnery. Daescu and Nunnery grinded their way through the losers bracket to earn themselves a spot back into the finals after Mick and Klinger took them out in the round of eight.
Daescu and Nunnery managed to sweep Mick and Klinger in the finals (11-5, 11-8), pushing the finals to a 15-point tie-breaker. The tie-breaker was easily the closest game we saw all day, with both teams going back and forth for the lead. Mick and Klinger managed to come out on top, 15-12, earning themselves their first career gold medals!
“We’ve been playing together in rec play for awhile now, I think CJ was the first kid that I knew. He used to beat up on me a lot when I was first coming into the sport, so it’s good to partner up with him now and just talk things through on the court.”Andre Mick on playing with CJ Klinger
Women’s Doubles – Fudge/Barr vs. Oshiro/Rane
This was Susannah Barr’s weekend! Not only did she take gold in mixed, but she also teamed up with Megan Fudge as the 1-seed team to take home gold in women’s doubles. Fudge and Barr were coming off of a big win at the English Open together, and took that energy back with them overseas to take down the 3-seeds Milan Rane and Bobbi Oshiro.
Barr and Fudge only dropped one game all weekend, sweeping all the way through the finals otherwise. Oshiro and Rane were knocked out in the round of eight, but managed to fight their way through the losers bracket to earn themselves a place in the finals.
Oshiro and Rane started in the lead at 4-1, but Barr and Fudge locked in and scored ten unanswered points to take game one. Game two was almost an exact repeat of game one, with Rane and Oshiro starting ahead at 3-1, but Barr and Fudge went on the offensive to take game two 11-4, earning themselves gold.
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