Orlando, Florida- In the strongest field ever assembled for a Florida Tennis Tour event, it was the mighty Leonardo "The Lion" Telles roared his way through the stellar international field for the FTT Tour Championship. Players from Poland, Romania, Trinidad, Ukraine, Colombia, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Latvia, and the USA came to downtown's Orlando Tennis Center to vie for the $1000 1st place championship.
The event was attended by some stellar pros including ATP pro and pre-event favorite Adrian Zguns of Latvia, New Zealand's Anton Bettink former #1 star from Rollins College, Air Force Academy's Santiago Garcia, and #1 seed Stephen Watson, Jr. of Parramore FL who calls the Orlando Tennis Center his homecourt home.
But it was unknown and unseeded Brazilian Leo Telles of the Texas Longhorns that surprised the field. Telles had the toughest draw of the tournament with catching Zguns in his very first match. In an incredible match that saw Telles win the first set 6-4, Zguns won 6-4, and then Telles winning a come from behind tie-break 10-7. This win turned the heads of many fans as this was the first time anyone had seen Zguns defeated at the Orlando Tennis Center. In the 3rd round, Telles again had a tough opponent in Anton Bettink where he won 6-1, lost 4-6, and then won 10-4 in the super-tiebreak. In the semi-finals he met Liam Gomez of Trinidad who was having a fine run of his own as he took down Stephen Moros, David Metz, Tayjhon McGee, but fell to the mighty Telles in a match where he had to withdraw in the 2nd set due to an injury sustained the day before.
In the top bracket, it was another unknown Alexandru Gasca-Silav of Romania who was crushing his opponents with wins where no player achieved more than 3 games against him in a set. But in the semi-finals, he met his match in #1 seed Stephen Watson ,Jr. where he won 6-4, lost 3-6, and then Watson won in a thriller 10-8 tie-break.
On another note, 4 ladies entered the strong field including #17 FTT ranked Brittany Tagliareni, former collegiate #1 Alexis King, top junior Nikki Redelijk, and former UVA star Maci Epstein. All the ladies won their 1st round, and Epstein made it to the quarter-finals succumbing to finalist Watson 6-3, 6-2. However, Epstein teamed up with Liam Gomez in the Open Doubles and won the tournament defeating the men's team of Watson/McGee in the finals.
The finals was highly anticipated defense versus offense in Watson vs Telles. However, it was Telles's incredible offense that prevailed with Watson having no answer in a 6-1, 6-1 finale.
"I came here on Christmas break to train with my coach Jaime Oncins before my college season. I didn't originally plan to compete while here, but found out about the event and I had a really great experience. I was fortunate to have Jaime , a legend in Brazil, advise me with his years of experience on the pro circuit", said Telles, who will now go on the FTT Championship trophy as the inaugural champion.