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Flushing’s Byon captures Greater Urban tennis tourney

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A teaching pro at the Cunningham Park Tennis Center during the summer, Byon took advantage of his “home” surroundings by defeating Faisal Mohamed, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, to capture the eighth annual Men’s Open Singles Tournament of the Greater Urban Prep Tennis Classic, conducted by Jamaica’s Youth and Tennis Inc. last week in Fresh Meadows.

Playing in his first tournament of the year, the top-seeded Byon broke Mohamed’s serve in the sixth and eighth games of the third set and won the closely fought match when the Long Islander hit a cross-court volley long on match point.

“My serve was on, but Tae ran every ball down in the second and third sets,” said Mohamed, who will be entering his senior year at Lynbrook High School, where he plays first singles.

Mohamed, who competed in his second men’s tournament of this year and was unseeded for the Men’s Open Singles Tournament, was fresh from playing in the Empire State Games, where he saw action at first singles and led his team to the championship.

The key to the match was that I served and volleyed well,” said Byon, who was ranked 11th in the East in Men’s Open Singles at the start of the year. “He played well.”

The 24-year-old Byon, who earned $300 for taking the tournament, played for his high school and college tennis teams at Cardozo and Stony Brook University, respectively.

In the 17-player field, Byon reached the final by defeating Ari Fiul of Flushing, 6-0, 6-2, in the first round, Phil Radziegewski of Astoria, 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and Parl Wawrzyniak of Forest Hills, 6-2, 6-4, in the semifinals.

Mohamed, a highly ranked junior, reached the finals by turning back Louis Liu of Elmhurst, 6-1, 6-2, fourth-seeded Marjan Kaljaj of the Bronx, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and second-seeded Sadik Sendich of Staten Island, 6-1, 6-0 in the semis.

The 17-player field was a record low for the tournament, which was competing with other area tournaments for players.

“We’ll try to change the date to late June, early July for next year,” said tournament director Bill Briggs. “We hope to have the same players back and at the same time increase the field and even the prize money. Still, I think we had the best finals in the history of the tournament.”

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