Dec. 8, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - High school senior Steven Benvenuto, who has signed a letter of intent to compete for the Santa Clara men's tennis team beginning in 2006, captured his first career USTA tournament title at the National Open Championships held in Newport Beach in late November. A native of San Mateo, Calif., Benvenuto won six rounds of singles in impressive fashion en route to the championship.
After opening the event with a straight-set victory, Benvenuto defeated three seeded players to reach the semifinal round. Opponents, with seeding and USTA national ranking in parentheses, included Aaron Carpenter (No. 2 seed, USTA Boys 18s No. 19), Matt Schimmel (No. 10 seed, USTA Boys 18s No. 61) and Steve Forman (No. 7 seed, USTA Boys 18s No. 44, USTA Boys 16s No. 4).
"I was really excited to defeat Aaron as I lost to him last summer at Supernational Clays," said Benvenuto. "Once I got through Matt and Steve I felt like I had a shot to win it all. I was feeling really good throughout the event."
Benvenuto went on to defeat Chris Madden of Lotus, Calif. 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinal round and Gregory Hirshman of La Jolla, Calif. 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 in the final. With the tournament victory, Benvenuto is expected to make a significant move in the USTA Boys 18s national rankings list.
This was the fourth consecutive tournament final for Benvenuto. After coming up short in his first three events sanctioned by the Northern California Tennis Association (NCTA), Benvenuto claimed his first career title on the national level. The tournament also marks the farthest Benvenuto has advanced in a national event. He had previously reached the Round of 16 in the Boys 18s division and the quarterfinals in the Boys 16s. Benvenuto signed a national letter of intent during the fall signing period and will join the men's tennis program next September.