The Landings Club April 29-May 5 2019!

After 6 days of terrific tennis, the stage was set for our Sunday showcase- singles and doubles finals here at the 2019 St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger.  With doubles first up on SJC Stadium Court, the fans were in for a treat!!!

This match featured the South American #2 seeded Roberto Maytin and Fernando Romboli against the French upstarts Arthur Rinderknech and Manuel Guinard.  The 2 seeds were the clear favorites in this one, with more experience under their belts and coming off of a championship last week in Tallahassee.  Yet the youngsters from France had the wingspan of a condor- at times it seemed nearly impossible to get anything past them!  Rinderknech in particular closed the net so tight that I feared he would get called for reaching over!  But when you are 6’5” tall you don’t worry about being lobbed, so why not close in that tight!!

The rangy Frenchman with ridiculous reach managed to win the first set in a breaker 7-6.  Neither team broke serve the entire set, as the net play was truly spectacular backing up the well placed serves.  This continued through into the second set as well before Maytin and Romboli finally got the break.  They continued to protect their serve, locking up the second set by a margin of 6-4.  This set the stage for the 10- point match tiebreaker.  Once again we were on serve the entire way, until Guinard and Rinderknech got the first mini-break at 8-7.  With the potential to serve out the match and lock in their first Challenger Tour title they could not hold on.  The veteran team stormed back and closed out the match by virtue of an 11-9 margin.  What a match!!

After the trophy presentation, thank you’s and a few words from Greg Schaack, CFO of St. Joseph’s/Candler, it was back to the courts for the singles final featuring #2 seed Paolo Lorenzi and #15 seed Federico Coria.

With two clay court specialists you knew that this match could be a doozy, however Coria came out on fire!!!  He has not lost a set here this week and he was not about to start now.  Showcasing his wide variety of talents he raced around the court tracking everything down and then throwing in the sneaky drop shot when the more experienced Lorenzi least expected it.  This tactic propelled him to a 6-3 first set victory.  Yet this is not Paolo’s first rodeo…or Challenger for that matter…he has won 21 Challenger events in his career and was not going to go down without a fight in this one either.

The second set was a see-saw affair, with neither player able to pull away.  Lorenzi was forced to take a medical timeout for a pulled hammy mid-way through the set.  He was laboring, down a break and everyone thought it was over.  But the Italian warrior would not go away!  He battled back from the brink of elimination to notch the second set 6-4, forcing the decisive 3rd set.

With the crowd on the edge of their seats, pulling for both of these great competitors, it was the young legs that proved to be too much on this Sunday afternoon.  Coria got the early break, secured it with a great hold and then closed out the match to take home the 2019 St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger title with a 6-2 third set win.  Congratulations to both players for a tremendous week of tennis and even more than the tennis, for being great ambassadors for the sport.  These two warriors conducted themselves with class and dignity all week long, and have no doubt made many lifelong fans in this Savannah area…we will be following your careers for years to come!!!

With that settled I am proud to say that the 2019 version of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger, far and away the best in the 11 year history of the tournament, has come to a close.  I would like to thank everyone who made it all possible:

  • Members
  • Sponsors
  • Franklin Creek Staff
  • Volunteers
  • Spectators
  • Engineering Department
  • Membership-Communications Department
  • Food and Beverage Department

Without all of your support this is just some guys hitting a tennis ball really hard.  But when we join forces and come together, we are able to pull off a professional sporting event that meets or exceeds the expectations that are associated with the ATP Tour Events.  It really is an amazing feat, and thank you to everyone who made this possible!!!