No. 3 seed Michael Russell completed an unforgettable week of tennis in dramatic fashion in the singles final of Charlottesville Men’s Pro Challenger on Sunday at The Boar’s Head Sports Club.
Russell, the Pro Circuit’s all-time wins leader, rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the final set to tie it at 6-6 and force a match-deciding tiebreak against Peter Polansky of Canada.
In the tiebreak, Russell fell behind 5-2 but once again stormed back to claim the final five points, and with it the match, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(5). The tournament victory is the 23rd of Russell’s 15-year professional career. He adds $10,800 in prize money and 90 tour points to his long list of finishes.
The match lasted two hours and 17 minutes. Russell will now look to defend his 2012 Knoxville Challenger title next week. He defeated John-Patrick Smith, Tennys Sandgren, former Virginia standout Jarmere Jenkins, Jesse Levine and Polansky to win this week’s championship.
On the doubles side, Americans Steve Johnson and Tim Smyczek emerged victorious against Jenkins and Donald Young to capture the crown, 6-4, 6-3. Young won the 2010 Charlottesville doubles title along with Robert Kendrick, but he and Jenkins could not pull off the comeback win on Sunday.