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Clay Court Championship Week
Second Chance is a Winner for Alexios Halebian
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It was a year ago on this very court at the Delray Beach Tennis Center that Alexios Halebian lost the Boys' 18 Clay Court Championship to Bjorn Fratangelo. A lot can change in a year. Upon his return to this tournament he went from being unseeded to the top seed, and this time he was able to take home the Gold Ball. Halebian celebrated after the win, saying, "it felt good to get this one down."

Finalists Alexios Halebian and Brett Clark
© Marcia Frost, College And Junior Tennis
Seventeen-year-old Alexios Halebian also came to this tournament with a new title of his own - professional tennis player. The 6'2" southpaw turned professional in June and seemed quite confident with his new status. Halebian had only one scare in the entire tournament. It was the round of 16 when 14th-seeded Sean Karl of Tennessee pushed him to the only three-set match he would play in the draw. It was even easier for his opponent, Brett Clark from nearby Naples, Florida.

Tenth-seeded Brett Clark had come into the Claycourts with some good wins behind him. In the past month, he had won the USTA Regional Tournament in Fort Myers as well as the USTA Florida State Closed Championships, and he also placed third at a National Open in Pennsylvania. The 17-year-old managed to get through the singles draw at this tournament without dropping a set. He faced only one higher seed, Jeremy Efferding, whom he dropped 7-5,6-1, but there was no doubt that Halebian was not ready to lose a Boys' 18 Clay Court Championship final two years in a row.

The final match between Brett Clark and Californian Alexios Halebian would start out perfectly even, with long games and interesting points, though Halebian admitted that he wasn't at his best.

"I wasn't serving as well as he did yesterday (in the semifinals)," said Halebian. "I didn't have as much energy as I had yesterday. I was moving pretty slow on the court."

When the first set went into a tiebreaker, it looked like the Floridian had it when he was up 5-3 in the breaker. But the top seed came back, taking the first set by a score of 7-6(5).

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Page updated on Friday, June 16, 2017
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