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DELTA GUAM FUTURES TENNIS TOURNEY DAY 6

The 2014 Delta Futures Tennis Tournament continues to roll on through the weekend. Get the entire recap of Day 6 that took place at the Hilton Resort & Spa.

PRESS RELEASE – With no expectations to continue winning, Tomohiro Masabayashi originally had his return flight to Japan booked for Thursday, but after consecutive doubles wins over top seeded teams with partner Yuuya Kibi, the 16-year-old had to change his departure date to Sunday.

The unseeded team of Masabayashi/Kibi, unlikely finalists, defeated the No. 2 and No. 4 seeded teams en route to the finals of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, but the tandem eventually was halted in the final by No. 1 Takuto Niki and Bumpei Sato 6-1, 6-3.

“I’m very grateful that we were able to make it to the final,” said Masabayashi through a translator after the match. “It’s my first ITF pro circuit tournament, and it was such a good experience to be able to play in the final at such a young age.

“After this week, I know I have to continue training for better physical conditioning and I also have to improve my serve. My next goal is to try to make it to the singles final, and my ultimate dream is to play in a Grand Slam,” added Masabayashi, originally from Kanagawa prefecture in Japan.

No. 1 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan runs to chase down a short ball against No. 3 Yuuya Kibi in a semifinal singles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Nedunchezhiyan triumphed in three sets 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. (courtesy photo)

No. 1 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan runs to chase down a short ball against No. 3 Yuuya Kibi in a semifinal singles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Nedunchezhiyan triumphed in three sets 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. (courtesy photo)

With the appearance in the doubles championship match, Masabayashi earned the distinction as the youngest finalist in the Guam Futures to date.

Sato and Niki are no strangers to the pressures of championship matches as the two met in the doubles final of last year’s Guam Futures tournament with their respective partners. This year, the pair teamed up, with Sato earning his second Guam Futures doubles championship trophy. Sato and Niki needed only about one hour to dispatch their opponents, and just about 25 minutes to take the first set.

“With our success throughout the tournament, we had the confidence to win the title,” Sato said after the match. “Niki has a big serve and I have a good volley, so like I had said before, if we play to our strengths, we can continue to win. In this match, we played our game and stayed strong mentally – I’m happy that we won.”

Niki will lace up his shoes again Sunday morning for the singles championship against No. 1 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India. Nedunchezhiyan scraped past No. 3 Kibi 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. Nedunchezhiyan had a pair of opportunities to serve for the match – once at 5-4 in the second set and the other at 5-4 in the third – but was unable to convert until he was presented a third chance at 6-5.

“Credit must go to Kibi for a good match – at 5-4 in the third, I was serving for the match, but he had a great first three points,” Nedunchezhiyan said after his match. “Maybe I was pulling the trigger too early, but Kibi really hung in there to stay in the match. Even though I missed my first two chances to close out the match, I kept fighting and I was able to get another shot to serve for the match. In my third try, I finally pulled it off.”

Yuuya Kibi plays a backhand return as partner Tomohiro Masabayashi anticipates the next shot in the championship doubles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Sato/Niki won 6-1, 6-3. (courtesy photo)

Yuuya Kibi plays a backhand return as partner Tomohiro Masabayashi anticipates the next shot in the championship doubles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Sato/Niki won 6-1, 6-3. (courtesy photo)

Nedunchezhiyan was visibly bothered by the decision to halt the game momentarily right before he was to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set. His opponent had been using a bag of ice to cool off during the match and in the middle of the changeover, the bag fell and all the ice cubes fell onto the court. The ice began to melt and water started to seep into the opposite court, prompting the call to stop play to pick up all the individual ice cubes and dry up the court.

“I didn’t think we needed to take that much time right before I was to serve for the match – I mean, it’s not like the court had to be spic and span in order to play again,” Nedunchezhiyan explained.

Nedunchezhiyan ended up losing the game and in frustration, threw his racket half way across the court. He later was forced to give up the set and play a third with Kibi, whose patience at the baseline, combined with a good net game kept Nedunchezhiyan on his toes.

Niki had less difficulty in the other singles semifinal against doubles partner Sato, winning 6-2, 7-5 for set up the finals meeting with Nedunchezhiyan.

The singles match will begin at 11 a.m. at the Hilton tennis courts. A short awards ceremony will be held right after the match. There is no admission fee to watch the match.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Bumpei Sato plays a forehand volley at the net as his partner Takuto Niki looks on in the play against Yuuya Kibi and Tomohiro Masabayashi in the championship doubles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Sato/Niki won 6-1, 6-3. (courtesy photo)

Bumpei Sato plays a forehand volley at the net as his partner Takuto Niki looks on in the play against Yuuya Kibi and Tomohiro Masabayashi in the championship doubles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Sato/Niki won 6-1, 6-3. (courtesy photo)

No. 2 Takuto Niki plays a forehand return to No. 4 Bumpei Sato in a semifinal singles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Niki defeated Sato 6-2, 7-5. (courtesy photo)

No. 2 Takuto Niki plays a forehand return to No. 4 Bumpei Sato in a semifinal singles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Niki defeated Sato 6-2, 7-5. (courtesy photo)

No. 3 Yuuya Kibi plays a backhand slice to No. 1 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in a semifinal singles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Nedunchezhiyan triumphed in three sets 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. (courtesy photo)

No. 3 Yuuya Kibi plays a backhand slice to No. 1 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in a semifinal singles match of the 2014 Delta Guam Futures presented by Docomo Pacific and Hilton Guam Resort & Spa at the Hilton tennis courts. Nedunchezhiyan triumphed in three sets 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. (courtesy photo)

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