Rhyne Williams gets first singles title

Updated: February 11, 2013, 11:26 AM ET
ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Just weeks removed from Australian Open heartbreak, Tennessee native Rhyne Williams showed his resolve over the weekend by rebounding from his disappointment Down Under to win the Challenger of Dallas tennis tournament.

With victories over Canada's Frank Dancevic and then former world No. 15 Robby Ginepri in Saturday night's final, Williams secured his first singles title at the Challenger level on the ATP Tour.

Last month in Australia, Williams took a two-set lead over No. 25 seed Florian Mayer in the first round of 2013's first major before losing an agonizing fourth-set tiebreak and fading in the fifth set. But the improving 21-year-old made sure there would be no hangover from that defeat by reeling off five straight wins in the $100,000 event at T Bar M Racquet Club.

In Friday's semifinal, Williams put a stop to Dancevic's 10-match winning streak in Dallas -- dating to the Dallas Tennis Classic in Las Colinas in March 2012 -- with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph.

Williams, ranked No. 159 in the world when the tournament began, then rode his big serve to post a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Ginepri, who had advanced to the singles final by taking out former world No. 4 James Blake in Friday night's semifinal clash of the two American 30-somethings with the most accomplished résumés in the field.

Williams dropped only the one set to Dancevic en route to the singles crown. Ginepri, 30, was extended to three sets in each of his four wins before the final.

Williams had a chance to become the first player in the tournament's 15-year history to win both the singles and doubles, but he and American partner Tennys Sandgren were beaten in Saturday's doubles final by Alex Kuznetsov and Mischa Zverev.

A left hip flexor had forced Zverev -- who represents Germany but now lives in the Dallas area -- to retire from his second-round singles match against his partner, but he recovered to team with Kuznetsov to win a tight doubles final.