Tennis with Brett
vega (ny) wins $new Brunswick open
PRIZE MONEY: $1,000
Tournament: + $ New Brunswick Open
Prize Money: Champion $1000, Finalist $300
Tournament Director: Larry Dillon
Date: May 23-27, 2019
Location: New Brunswick Middle School, New Brunswick, NJ
Quinnton Vega: ATP Pro, high rank 980 11/7/16 https://www.atptour.com/en/players/quinnton-vega/va16/overview
Quinnton Vega UTR 12.71 https://www.myutr.com/profiles/1283584
Victor Lilov: ITF Junior Rank 587 https://www.itftennis.com/juniors/players/player/profile.aspx?playerid=100313380
Victor Lilov UTR 12.37: https://www.myutr.com/profiles/775493
Victor Lilov B14 NATIONAL RANK: 117 https://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/Rankings/RankingHome.aspx#&&s=playerrecord1%5cPage_PlayerRecord%5cID_2137926%5cP_3697%5cType_viewranklist%5cC_%5cFirstName_%5cMiddleName_%5cLastName_%5cYear_%5cPlayerID_6lqB4CmMN9vQ8L5kAHbZew%3d%3d
“BOYZ TO MEN”
Results: #1 Quinnton Vega (Brooklyn, NY) def #2 Victor Lilov (Raleigh, NC) 7-5, 1-6, 11-9
Match duration: 1hr 53min
Brunswick Hills Tennis Center sponsored junior phenom Victor Lilov (15yrs old) played his first career Men’s Open Prize Money tournament at the New Brunswick Open and he did not disappoint.
He finished 2nd and earned $300.00.
His opponent in the final was 26yr old journeyman Quinnton Vega from Brooklyn, NY.
Quinnton is a tall, muscular, handsome tennis pro who plays prize money tournaments all over the world. While playing matches on the ITF MEN’S FUTURES TOUR from 2014-2017, Vega won prize money and world ranking points.
I was fortunate to be at this final match to see Victor dip his toe into the professional ranks. After witnessing Vega and Lilov win their SF matches I was hoping that Lilov had enough energy to play this final match.
Lilov played a bruising 2-hour SF match against #5 Daniel Nuzhny (UTR 11.61) Fort Lee, NJ. Lilov defeated the University of WI sophomore 6-3, 7-6. However, Vega won his SF match in 52 minutes over unseeded Alexander Kutovsky (UTR 9.07, Brooklyn, NY) 6-0, 6-0.
After a 1 hour rest the final started at 3pm sharp. The conditions were perfect: sunny skies, 78 degrees with a 7mph breeze out of the north.
I was concerned that Lilov would be flat with no energy, but I was wrong. After eating a salad, he seemed to be 100% and bouncing on his toes.
Vega served first and held for 1-0.
Both players were hitting the ball with extreme pace and spin. The sound of polyester violently smashing against that yellow fuzzy ball was echoing on the courts. All the other courts were vacant now while the #1 and #2 seed battled in the final.
Victor did not seem nervous or intimidated and cracked his first serves in at a high percentage. I was very impressed. 1-1.
Vega continues to pound serves and forehands at his 15yr old opponent. Victor withstands the assault well and sends the ball back with interest. The match is intense as rallies become long and heavy with spin. Both players getting in a high percentage of 1st serves. Vega holds and leads 3-2.
Victor only gets in 2/6 first serves and is broken. Vega leads 4-2.
Vega only gets in 1/5 first serves and is broken. Victor to serve 3-4.
Victor serving and moving well, getting his first serve in and holds 4-4.
Vega holds serve and leads 5-4.
Victor smashes two first serves in and it doesn’t faze the #1 seed. Vega returns them with ease and Victor is down love-30. Victor battles back hitting monster flat serves to Vega’s belly button. DUECE!!!! Victor coming into the net on smartly painted approach shots and Vega is missing the passing shots. Victor holds, 5-5.
Vega pounding 1st serves in but Victor returns them and moves in to the net which forces Vega into missing passing shots. Vega’s 1st serve percentage drops but he’s still playing tough. Play is hard hitting and exciting and Vega holds and leads 6-5.
Victor’s energy level is very good but he’s still down 30-40 break point. Victor hits a 2nd serve and after a 5-stroke rally, Victor smashes a forehand drive into the net. Vega breaks and wins the set 7-5.
Both players sit down on the changeover.
In the second set Victor is full of energy and is playing serve and volley tennis, successfully. VEGA KEEPS MISSING PASSING SHOTS.
Victor has found a strategy against the 26-yr. old journeyman. While Victor is relentlessly coming into net, Vega refuses to come to net and show that he can volley. Vega is missing passing shots and first serves, and Victor leads 4-1.
Victor is relentless and energetic and holds serve easily. Vega to serve at 1-5.
Vega doesn’t look as confident as before and Victor is taking it to him. Both players are going all out for the top prize. The sounds of sneakers squealing on the hard court and the crack of the strokes is building the tension. THIS IS HIGH LEVEL TENNIS AND EXCITING!!!!!
Vega serving at 1-5. Victor hits a slice backhand drop shot to Vega’s backhand at 30-40. Vega charges to net and slices a backhand approach shot cross-court. Victor rifles a two-hand BH down the line. Vega covers the line and smothers a forehand volley cross-court into the net. VICTOR WINS THE SET 6-1!!!! COME ON VICTOR!!!!! ONE SET ALL!!!
It all comes down to a 10-point match tiebreak for $1,000!!!!
Victor jogs to the sideline with his white towel and renewed energy while Vega sits down and slumps against the fence.
Both players are now playing at their best level of the match. The rallies are long and intense, and Victor continues his successful journeys to the net. The teenager is confident and competent on half volley’s and overheads.
It’s 3-3 in the breaker and the players switch sides. This is grown man big boy hitting and the 9th grader is holding his own and competing neck and neck with the grown man professional!!
Victor leads 5-3.
Vega serving 4-5.
Vega spraying his forehand. Victor leads 6-5.
Play is intense!!!!
Victor leads 7-5.
Both players at the net, Victor passes Vega. Victor leads 8-5.
Vega wins the next two points. Victor leads 8-7. PLAY IS FANTASTIC!!!
Victor serving and comes to net but misses the volley. 8-all!!!
Victor wins the next point and is leading 9-8. MATCH POINT VICTOR.
Vega serves, Victor comes to net. For the first time in the match Vega drills a two-hand backhand right at Victor’s belly button, but the pace and spin are too much and Victor dumps the BH volley into the net. It’s 9-9.
Vega spins a 1st serve to the Lilov forehand that opens the court. Victor hits a cross court FH return, but Vega smashes a FH winner down the line to take a 10-9 lead. MATCH POINT FOR VEGA!!!
Victor serving 9-10 and fires a brave first serve into the Vega forehand. Vega leans in and sends the ball deep to the baseline. Victor loops a forehand drive 5 feet long and the match is over. VEGA WINS THE MATCH TIEBREAK 11-9.
GAME, SET, MATCH, VEGA.
Vega wins the $1,000. What a match!!
I asked Victor “where you off to now?” He said, “to Florida for more training”.
I overheard Mr. Vega say he was driving immediately down to Virginia to play another Men’s Open $30K prize money tournament that begins the next day (Tuesday).
Both players live the life of professional tennis; off to another city in the pursuit of titles and happiness.