Philip Bester was just one win away from his first title of the season but ultimately fell one match short last weekend after falling 7-6 (8), 3-6, 6-4 to Great Britain’s Farris Fathi Gosea in the $15,000 Mayfair Futures final at Mayfair Parkway in Markham.
The 25-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C. reached the final for the second straight year. In 2013, he lost to fellow Canadian Filip Peliwo due to a walkover.
Jon Sorbo, Bester’s former coach who helped him reach the 2006 Junior French Open final, offered to him during last week’s event.
“He asked me to take a look at his serve before the week started, so I gave him a lesson and he worked on it,” said Sorbo. “One of his matches, he had 20 aces and that definitely helped him go into the finals.”
Played in front of a large crowd, the 2014 final was a tight affair with each player earning only one service break in the match. Bester was just 1-for-6 on break point chances.
The first set went to a tiebreak and ended when Gosea, up 9-8, took advantage of Bester’s second serve.
“Both guys were a little tired from the long week,” said Sorbo. “If Philip handled to win that tiebreaker, I think it would have given him a little psychological lift. I think that could have definitely turned around on Philip’s side.”
After holding 6-3 in the second set, Bester experienced an emotional letdown and trailed 5-4 in the third.
The six-time ITF Pro Circuit Champion committed three consecutive unforced errors, including a double fault, giving Gosea the victory.
Ranked No. 893 in the world, Gosea earned his first ITF Pro Circuit title.
Bester, ranked No. 581 in the world, is coming back from successful hip surgery in November 2013. Since returning in June, he now has accumulated one runner-up and three semi-final appearances.
“He has no more pain in his hip, but now the rest of his body is trying to deal with recovering and getting strength back,” said Sorbo. “So because of that, this is the first final he reached since he came back. His body is not in 100 per cent condition.”
Sunnier days may be in store for Bester.
The Canadian will attempt to qualify for some Challengers events and a couple of ITF Futures tournaments this fall and winter in California.
ITF stepping stone to ATP Tour
The ITF Futures events are a stepping stone to the ATP Tour, attracting players ranging from No. 200 to 1500 in the world rankings, as well as top Canadian men and junior competitors.
“As far as being a part of a young player’s progress, I think that’s huge,” said tournament director Josh Weissman. “Before a player can achieve success at the highest level, they must gain confidence from winning these types of matches.
“For proof, all you have to do is look at our past champions.”
B.C.’s Vasek Pospisil, who is currently ranked No.44 in the world, captured the Markam title in 2010. In 2014, he won Wimbledon’s doubles title with American partner Jack Sock. To add to the list, Peter Polansky of North York, Ont. won the ITF Futures event in 2011.
Apart from giving these prospects a chance to achieve their tennis goals, Weissman said the tournament hopefully will also inspire Mayfair’s members to get out on to the court more often.
“Hosting the tournament allows some of our talented juniors a chance to compete against the big boys,” Weissman said.