ORLANDO, Fla. – Trey Hilderbrand was crowned the champion of the ITA National Fall Championships, defeating fellow teammate Gabriel Decamps in the title match on Sunday night by a count of 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. The tournament was the first taste of action for members of the UCF men's tennis team this fall as five members participated over the weekend.
"It was a great feeling to be back on the court and it was even better to have an all-Knights final," said Hilderbrand. "I'm just happy I was able to play well and get the win."
The ITA National Fall Championships were played at the USTA National Campus, giving the Knights home court advantage throughout the tournament. The championship match was moved indoors due to inclement weather in the area.
Decamps took the early edge in the championship match, which was televised nationally on ESPNU. It was a back and forth first set, but ultimately Decamps prevailed by a count of 6-4.
The script flipped in the second stanza. Hilderbrand came out surging, winning the first three games and riding that momentum to take the set. The final frame was more of the same as Hilderbrand won his first ITA National Fall Championship.
A total of five Knights participated in the four-day tournament. Mikhail Sokolovskiy, Quinn Snyder and Vasyl Kiselyov all got to compete alongside Hilderbrand and Decamps.
Hilderbrand and Decamps began their runs with some tight victories. As the No. 8 seed, Hilderbrand edged UNLV's Alex Kobelt in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Decamps, the tournament's No. 3 seed, topped USC's Bradley Frye in similar fashion, scoring a 6-4, 6-3 win.
Sokolovskiy also advanced past the first round on day one, cruising past ECU's Diogo Marques with a score of 6-1, 6-2.
Snyder was matched up with a tough opponent for his first collegiate match as he was set to face the tournament's top-seeded James Trotter of Ohio State. Snyder gave Trotter all he could handle, but fell 6-3, 6-4.
Friday was a busy day for the Knights. Hilderbrand and Decamps each picked up a pair of straight set victories en route to the tournament semifinals.
In the morning, Hilderbrand won a hard fought 6-3, 7-6(2) battle against Duke's Connor Krug. The evening saw Hilderbrand advance through the quarterfinals with an upset of Ohio State's Kyle Seelig, the tournament's No. 2 seed. He had to endure another tiebreaker to seal the victory, winning 7-6(8), 6-4.
Decamps cruised through day two, toppling Benjamin Kittay 6-1, 6-2 in the round of 16 and besting the No. 7 seeded Siphos Montsi of Illinois 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
Sokolovskiy exited the tournament after a tough battle with Minnesota's Gavin Young, falling by a count of 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3).
Snyder fell in a tight contest in the back draw of the tournament as he was edged by Boise State's Daniil Klimov 6-4, 6-2.
Hilderbrand had to fight hard in his semifinal matchup against Minnesota's Young, but got the job done in three frames. He rebounded from falling in the first set to earn a gutsy 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory.
Decamps made quick work of Michael Zheng in his semifinal match, picking up the 6-1, 6-3 win, setting up the all-UCF battle for the ITA National Fall Championship.
Kiselyov saw action in the back draw of the tournament and fought hard for a win. He matched up Boise State's Klimov and fell in three sets 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(4). Snyder also went three sets in his final match of the tournament and was narrowly defeated by Mauricio Grijalva 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.
Hilderbrand earns his first ITA National Fall Championship with his win over teammate Decamps. Both earned trophies and prize money at the conclusion of the match. Hilderbrand is the first player in UCF history to win the honor.
The UCF duo made history, becoming the first teammates to face each other in the championship match since 2008. That year saw Ohio State's Bryan Koniecko, now UCF women's tennis head coach, defeat his teammate Justin Kronauge in three sets. The only other instance of an all-teammate singles final in the men's ITA National Championships' 42-year history came back in 1989 when a pair of Michigan student-athletes went three sets as well.
Members of the UCF women's tennis team will participate in the week-long ITA/USTA National Campus Open beginning on Tuesday.
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