Lawrence Formentera made a storybook run through the 40th U.S. Tennis Assn. Easter Bowl Spring National Championships.
On Sunday, he wrote just the right ending for it.
Formentera, an unheralded and unseeded 15-year-old from Colton, won the last five points in a third-set tiebreaker to upset top-seeded James “Bo” Seal of Chattanooga, Tenn., 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4), in the boys’ 16-and-under division championship match of the prestigious tournament at Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage.
“I came in feeling pretty confident,” Formentera said. “it was really close, it could’ve gone either way. He grinds a little, but I was just more aggressive than he was and got the better of him today.”
Seal, ranked No. 2 nationally in the boys’ 16 division by the UST, did not go down without a fight.
Formentera trailed, 2-0, int he third set, but climbed back to forge a 5-5 deadlock. Facing a match point in the 11th game, Formentera made a save with a forehand that his opponent returned into the net for deuce, and then he broke Seal with a backhand down the line to send the set into a tiebreaker.
“Even if I didn’t have a good point, I just kept doing what I was doing, “Formentera said.
“I just kept going for it, kept going for my shots.”
The offensive approach worked, thanks to Formentera’s fast-improving inside-out forehand and a reliable backhand, both of which proved pivotal in helping the 5-foot-7, 145-pound right-handler rally once again after he fell behind, 4-2, in the tiebreaker.
“This is the biggest win I’ve had,” said Formentera, who is coached by Brian Park at La Habra Tennis Center.
The final outcome saws a switch from the last time the two players had met, three years ago in the USTA National Clay Court Championships, where Seal defeated Formentera in three sets.
The victory was the third over a seeded player in four days for Formentera, who does not attend high school, instead focusing on tennis while working on sophomore level subjects in an independent-study program.