After winning his semifinal match Friday night Rhyne Williams explained how much his improving serve has become a “huge weapon” on indoor courts.
On Saturday night, Williams’ serve earned the 21-year-old his first career singles title, defeating Robby Ginepri 7-5, 6-3 in the 15th Challenger of Dallas at T Bar M Racquet Club.
Williams’ impressive serve seemed to get better as the match went on. Fittingly, the No. 191 ranked player finished off the match the same way he finished his semifinal, serving up a ball that his opponent failed to return in play.
The sold-out crowd of about a thousand was treated to an intense first set that saw Ginepri, a former No. 15 ranked player, take an early lead before Williams won the final four games in a row, gaining momentum that he carried over into the final set.
Ginepri, who defeated former No. 4 ranked James Blake in Friday’s other semifinal, broke Williams’ first service game but couldn’t repeat that task the remainder of the night.
Complementing his strong service game, Williams was consistent all-around, mixing in an effective drop shot that kept his 30-year-old opponent on his toes. Somewhat surprisingly, Williams looked fresh on his feet. On top of defeating Frank Dancevic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the semis, Williams and partner Tennys Sandgren also advanced to the doubles final, which took place after the singles title match. Williams was given 30 minutes to rest between matches.
With the singles victory, the former University of Tennessee standout’s confidence should continue to grow. Williams entered the 2012 season ranked outside the top 500, but he’s been steadily climbing ever since. In last month’s Australian Open, Williams lost in the first round but played well against Florian Mayer, taking the No. 27-ranked player to five sets in a match that lasted over three hours.