Colorado Tennis Classic 2004
The second annual Colorado Tennis Classic ended by crowning Brian Baker (USA) singles and doubles champion (w/Rajeev Ram). In the championship match Baker defeated former Stanford All-American K.J. Hippensteel (USA) by a score of 7/6, 6/4. The win marked the first time the nineteen year old Baker has won a challenger level event. By earning sixty ATP points, he has risen to 181 in the world rankings. Brian is now the youngest American in the top 200 hundred of the world. Singles runner-up Hippensteel has moved to 205 in the world. Baker has earned a main draw wild card into the U. S. Open later this month.
This year's field was one of the strongest of any Challenger in the U.S. With all eight seeds ranked in the top 200, the depth was just phenomenal. But tournaments are not played on paper. Four of the top eight seeds lost in the first round and by the semi-finals only sixth seeded Rik de Voest (RSA) was still alive. University of Miami standout Todd Widom reached the semi-finals before falling to Hippensteel 6/7, 3/6. Widom fought his way through the qualifying draw and then won three more matches in the main draw.
Luke Shields from Grand Junction, CO made the most of the wild card he earned a month ago in the pre-qualifying event. Shields defeated 4th seeded Cecil Mamiit (USA) 2-6, 6-4, 2-0 retired. The win marks the first time Luke has won a challenger level match and in doing so picked up 6 ATP points.
Other players from the Intermountain section were Brent D'Amico, Chad Harris and Richard Johnson. All three came up short in the first round of the qualifying with Harris and Johnson extending their opponents to three sets.
Tournament director Robert Gomez said we are excited about the future of the tournament. To see Brian win his first major tournament and to see this level of play really motivates us at Tier One Tennis to keep it going for years to come.