Costa Mesa Pro Classic final features Abid vs. Escobedo

COSTA MESA — Past versus present UCLA men's tennis squared off Saturday in the semifinals of the Costa Mesa Pro Classic and, this time, experience triumphed, as Haythem Abid toppled Marcos Giron at the Costa Mesa Tennis Center.

In the other semifinal, West Covina high school senior Ernest Escobedo defeated another former college star, Jeff Dadamo.

Abid and Escobedo play Sunday following the doubles championship that starts at 10 a.m., which pits Giron and fellow UCLA teammate Mackenzie McDonald against South African duo, Keith-Patrick Crowley and Matt Fawcett.

Saturday's match, in the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, was the third time in a year that Abid, who played for UCLA from 2006-2009, has played Giron, who is a junior at UCLA. Last weekend in the semifinals of the USTA's Claremont event, Giron won a fiercely contested battle after being down three games in the third set.

"I beat him a year ago in Claremont, he got me last time, and I pulled this one out," said Abid, who lived up to a pre-round assessment offered by his former coach at UCLA, Billy Martin.

"He's a superior strategist on the court, and his secret weapon is a powerful forehand," Martin said.

Abid said Giron played to his backhand overwhelmingly in the first set, which he lost, but that he did a better job in the second and third sets driving to the baseline, allowing that devastating left-handed forehand more opportunities.

"He's a very good friend and a great young player, with a lot of potential," Abid said of Giron.

This is the 28-year-old Abid's first championship match since he won three Futures events in 2008 in the Middle East.

In the other semifinal match, Escobedo won a tough first set in a tiebreaker and then dominated Dadamo in the second set, even after suffering a spasm in his right shoulder that interrupted the match for about 10 minutes as he received medical treatment.

"It feels better," Escobedo said after the match. Though he said he knows nothing about his championship opponent, the 17-year-old home schooled senior said, "I'm just going to come out with my best game, see what happens, and have fun."

Though Giron's quest for a second straight Pro Circuit title was unsuccessful, he and fellow UCLA teammate McDonald will play Crowley and Fawcett for the doubles championship.

Part of the USTA's Pro Circuit, the $10,000 event features 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams. All players are seeking to boost their world tennis ranking through participating in USTA Pro Circuit events held weekly across the country.

Along with showcasing professional tennis players, the Costa Mesa Tennis Center has joined the Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play. The event, available to junior tennis players of all skill levels, will be held Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, visit

— From staff reports

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