For the past two years, SM East graduate and incoming University of Illinois senior Ross Guignon had to sit out the U.S. Open National Playoffs sectional qualifier at Homestead Country Club with injuries. This year, healthy for the first time in two summers, he got to put on a show for his local fans.
Guignon, who was named a college All American in doubles, marched through two days of competition to make his way into Saturday’s men’s singles final, where he faced the tournament’s presumptive favorite, Sanam Singh, an Indian-born standout who ranks among the top 400 players in the world. Though Guignon used his booming serve to keep neck and neck with Singh through the opening games of the title match, which was moved from Homestead to Overland Park Raquet Club on account of rain, Singh eventually settled in and took the match 6-3, 6-1.
Guignon said that while he was disappointed he couldn’t come away with the win, he was excited to be able to play in front of friends and family from northeast Johnson County, many of whom haven’t seem him in competition in several years.
“[Singh] is an accomplished player on paper and in person, but I was going in with an open mind and high expectations, ready for a battle,” he said. “We had a tight match at first, but once he got comfortable, he got really comfortable. He’s a strong player.”
Guignon and recent SM East graduate Olivia Sneed also made it to the semi-finals of the mixed doubles event.
“It’s a lot of fun to play with Olivia,” he said. “We practiced together here for five or six years and had plans to play together the last few summers but I was out with injuries. She’s a great friend of mine and I love getting to play with her.”
On the women’s singles side, Los Vegas resident Asia Muhammad came back to defeat Nicole Melichar of Stuart, Fla., for the win. Muhammad lost the first set and was down 5-2 in the second before Melichar lost composure allowing Muhammad to take the set 7-6. She won the third 7-5. Melichar had beaten Sneed in the singles semi-finals.