Carl Chang, No. 2 singles player in his family and No. 3 on his college team, was No. 1 Sunday.
With younger brother Michael watching from the sidelines, Carl Chang won his first collegiate singles title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Pepperdine’s Howard Joffe in the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches’ Assn. Holiday Classic final.
Michael, a French Open and Davis Cup champion, held the rackets and beamed after Carl’s match at Sunny Hills Racquet Club in Fullerton.
Carl, a senior at California, said he was lucky to win, having recently completed final exams at school. He had hardly picked up a racket in the days before the tournament, which began Wednesday.
“I wasn’t prepared to play this tournament,” Chang said. “I was a little lucky.”
Was it luck that four of Chang’s lobs sailed over Joffe’s head and bounced out of reach on the baseline for winners? Maybe, but Chang seemed to make all the same shots Joffe tried, but couldn’t make successfully.
And with Joffe’s powerful serve misfiring late the second set, it provided enough of an opening for Chang to win.
Joffe was often overpowering, with a strong serve-and-volley game. But Chang was steadier, coming to the net less frequently than Joffe but accomplishing more while he was there. Chang’s volleys certainly weren’t quite as strong, but they were more consistent.
“He played pretty good,” said Joffe, a 19-year-old sophomore from South Africa. “Well, actually, he played a lot better than me.”
Because of his lack of preparation, it was an especially gratifying victory for Chang. “I’m happy,” he said. “This gives me a confidence boost going into the season.”
Later, Joffe and Ari Nathan, a freshman at Pepperdine, were beaten by Bill Terry of Bakersfield College and Mark Segesta of UC Davis, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, in the men’s doubles final.
Joffe had about 20 minutes of rest between matches.
In the women’s final, Mimi Burgos of Clemson won when Dorey Brandt of San Diego State, suffering from flu, retired after losing the first game of the second set. Burgos had won the first set, 6-1.