SPOKANE, Wash. (NP) _ Nick Geranios defeated Kevin O'Neill in two sets on Wednesday night to win the coveted 3.0 singles title at The Spokane Athletic Club Members Only tournament.
Geranios, who came to the match dressed in gunslinger garb and insisted on being called The Tennis Player With No Name, took the first set 7-6 after a pulsating tie-breaker. Geranios jumped to a 5-1 lead in the tie-breaker, only to see O'Neill storm to a 6-5 advantage.
But the Golden Greek showed nerves of steel as he hung on for a 9-7 win to take the first set.
O'Neill _ who showed up dressed as Will Smith's geeky cousin from ``Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,'' and was attended by an entourage consisting of Julian Bindler _ scored aces with several of his trademark ``thunder serves.'' But neither player could serve consistently and there were numerous service breaks.
The second set was also close, knotted at 3-3 before Geranios pulled away for a 6-4 win.
It was the first singles title of Geranios' long tennis career, and comes after he posted disappointing losses in the finals of 3.0 doubles and 6.0 mixed doubles in this tournament.
``Thousands of dollars in lessons and years of disappointments went into this historic win,'' Geranios declared after the match. ``I'd like to thank my wife, Ann, and my sons Tom and Eli, for coming to bear witness.''
The match was played amidst grand pageantry, including representatives of tennis federations from many nations.
The huge crowd on hand included Bruce and Noreen Johnson, Ray Willman, and a handful of others, who afterwards pronounced themselves ``unworthy to be in the presense of such champions.''