Armenian Captures Title

Rich Brown

Joplin Globe
July 20 2008

Florida State netter fails to win second straight Futures

On a morning when youngsters in Sunday school could have been listening
to a story about David and Goliath, there was a David and Goliath tale
of its own taking place elsewhere in Joplin. However, the characters’
roles were reversed.

The 10-day USTA Freeman Men’s $10,000 Futures tournament came to a
close Sunday at Millennium Tennis and Fitness Club. And the singles
final seemed to share a few comparisons with that famous biblical
story in the book of First Samuel.

David or, in this case, Jean-Yves Aubone was doing battle with a
Goliath from Armenia, Tigran Martirosyan. But here’s where the Joplin
story differs from that one in the land of Judah.

On this day it was going to take more than a slingshot for the
20-year-old college student from Florida State to topple the powerful
bearded Armenian.

Even though Aubone put up a valiant fight, coming back from a 6-3
loss in the first set to win 7-5 in the second, Martirosyan’s booming
serves, pinpoint volleys and exacting strokes took their toll in
the third and deciding set, which Martirosyan won in Goliath-like
fashion, 6-0.

Martirosyan started off breaking Aubone in his first time to serve
in the opening set and going up 4-2 before the Floridian could
get on track. The crucial point came when Aubone was down 4-3 and
serving. Martirosyan won the game on a sharp volley at the net that
went untouched and then closed out the set on his serve.

"My game plan was to start off strong and not to miss many balls," said
Martirosyan, who was making his second straight Futures appearance
at Millennium, having lost in the quarterfinals last year. "I was
determined to not give him any free points and look for my opportunity
to attack."

After both players held serve to open the second set, the third
game proved to be the longest of the match, lasting 15 minutes and
going through five deuces. The scrappy Aubone, who will be a junior
next year at Florida State after playing No. 1 for the Seminoles his
sophomore year, finally won to hold serve and then went on to break
Martirosyan’s serve in the next game.

That proved to be the momentum that Aubone needed, as he jumped
out to a 4-1 lead. Martirosyan came back to break Aubone’s serve
and hold his own to put the score at 4-all. After Aubone took a 6-5
lead on his serve, he broke the Armenian’s serve to give him the 7-5
second-set victory.

"In the second set he started playing a little more accurate,
not making so many mistakes anymore, and things went his way,"
said Martirosyan, who earned his master’s degree recently while on
a student visa in America. "I had so many opportunities and break
points in the second set. Twice I had two long games with many break
points and I couldn’t convert them and in the next game right away
I just lot my serve."

There was no doubt from the beginning that the third set was going
Martirosyan’s way. He only allowed Aubone one point on the Floridia
student’s serve in the opening game and kept up the pressure the rest
of the way.

"I thought I need to really mentally hang in there and I was able to
turn things around," said Martirosyan, who lives in Boston where he
teaches tennis at the Westboro Tennis and Swim Club.

The 25-year-old Armenian won his second love set in as many days. On
Saturday, in the semifinals, he came back from an opening-set loss to
defeat Travis Helgeson 6-0 in the second before winning the third-set
tiebreaker 7-4.