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COSTA MESA - Playing patiently and steady, Downey resident Daniel Kosakowski on Sunday defeated Florida's Jeffrey Dadamo in two sets to win the Costa Mesa Pro Classic tennis championship.
Kosakowski's world ranking jumped from 379 to 333 with the win, which also earned him $1,300.
Though he won in straight sets, it was a hard-fought victory. Dadamo, 22, an All-American at Texas A&M and the tournament's No. 7 seed, gave everything the No. 2 seed Kosakowski could handle.
The strong-serving Dadamo and the consistent Kosakowski held their serves through the first eight games of the first set. But leading 40-15 in the ninth game and serving, Dadamo questioned a call on the back line. He wound up dropping the game and the next to give Kosakowski the 6-4 victory.
"That gave me a little motivation," Kosakowski said of Dadamo's questioning of the call. "I felt that if I could just be patient I could scrape together some points, which is what happened."
In the second set, Kosakowski broke Dadamo's serve in the seventh game. Dadamo countered in the eighth game, but taking advantage of several Dadamo mishits, Kosakowski won the final three games.
Kosakowski also won last week's Claremont event on the Pro Circuits tour.
"I'm hitting it well in just about every way right now," and playing in Southern California makes me feel so comfortable," he said. "I have friends and family watching me and that really helps."
Kosakowski, who doesn't turn 21 until February, may become an unfamiliar sight on the Pro Circuit's $10,000 and $15,000 events. His plan is to play as many Challengers events this season (there are five remaining, including two $100,000 events next month in California) and then follow in the steps of the past two Costa Mesa Classic champions, Steve Johnson and Brian Baker, both of whom won matches in the 2012 U.S. Open. (Kosakowski advanced to the third round of qualifying in the 2012 U.S. Open.)
The final eight players in this Costa Mesa Classic all hailed from the United States. There were 10 international players in the 32-man main draw, including the top seed, Great Britain's Alex Bogdanovic, who lost in the second round to Dennis Venolo.
It marks the first time in the history of the Costa Mesa Pro Classic that the final eight players were all American, and could be the first of any Pro Circuit event in recent memory.
"We're not sure, but we know if it isn't, it's highly rare," said Hank Lloyd, the tournament director of the Costa Mesa Pro Classic. "That's a testament to the bright future of United States tennis. The future of professional tennis starts here, and I think you're going to see both these guys (Kosakowski and Dadamo) for a long time to come on bigger stages."
Published: September 27, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 24