LOS ANGELES, January 11, 2016
US-American teenager Stefan Kozlov opened his 2016 season by claiming the title of the USC Los Angeles Pro Futures. The 17-year-old overcame Philipp Bester in Sunday’s final, winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 in a two hours and 50 minutes battle.
Kozlov had to save three set points in the opening set, taking six out of the last seven points but Bester responded the same way, taking the tie-break of the second frame 7-3. The world number 351 capitalized on seven of his 16 break points to celebrate his second ITF Pro Circuit title, after he had lifted his maiden trophy in Belarus last year.
It was also a special one, as Kozlov wrote history by winning this particular tournament. It was the first Futures event since 1998 played for higher prize money than $10,000 or $15,000. With the beginning of this season the ITF has changed the former $15,000 tournaments to a new financial commitment of $25,000. Kozlov won the first of that kind, taking away 27 ATP ranking points and will continue his journey playing in Long Beach next week, again for a tournament with a total prize money of $25,000.