Chandler, Schmitz live up to top billings
Stars and Stripes October 22, 2022
WIESBADEN, Germany – Spectators and athletes at the DODEA European tennis championships were treated to a match for the ages here Saturday as Ramstein’s Tristan Chandler and Marymount’s Leonardo Proietti battled in three grueling sets for the singles title.
Chandler and Proietti – the No. 1 and No.2 seeds, respectively - held court inside the T2 Sports Health Club for more than 21/2 hours, playing long after all the other final matches were over.
After falling behind 3-2 in the third set, Chandler prevailed to defend his 2021 championship with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win.
“That was probably the toughest match I’ve played in a long time,” said an exhausted but elated Chandler after it was over.
“It feels spectacular,” the sophomore said.
The epic battle with the 14-year-old Proietti, playing in his first DODEA championship tourney, at times grew boisterous. Both players yelled with excitement when a rally went their way, and sometimes in frustration, when their shots were called out or sailed into the net.
Every point was hard fought.
“Before the match, I had no idea how this was going to go,” Chandler said. After watching Proietti ‘s early matches at Europeans, “’I thought OK, I probably got this.’ Then when I saw him play Xander, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be tough.’”
On Friday, Proietti defeated Chandler’s former teammate, Kaiserslautern’s Alexander Brunk and the tournament’s third seed, 8-0, in pool play.
Chandler took the first set against Proietti in the finals, but Proietti stormed back to take the second set to extend the match to a tie breaker.
Proietti took the lead in the third set, going up 3-2 with a 40-15 advantage on serve. That’s when the momentum started to shift. Chandler won the game. He went on to go up 4-3 with an ace and never looked back.
Afterwards, Proietti was gracious in defeat.
“He’s an awesome player … he’s physically stronger than me, I can say he was better than me today,” he said.
Proietti expects to represent Marymount again in next year’s European championships. “And I will win next year,” he said with confidence.
New champions were crowned in the other final matches.
Kaiserslautern’s Stella Schmitz defeated Ramstein’s Kassianna von Eicken in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Aiva Schmitz. Now a freshman on the Division I University of Minnesota women’s tennis team, Aiva Schmitz won the singles title three times at the same venue.
“Kassie’s a really good player,” Stella Schmitz said. “I definitely had to bring my game to the court to win. I have two more years (to play for DODEA). Hopefully, I can keep it going for the family name.”
The Kaiserslautern doubles team of Abigail Hover and Alisa Dietzel also won, beating Stuttgart sisters Devin and Kiera French, 6-1, 6-3. Hover was half of Kaiserslautern’s winning doubles team last year when she played with Stella Schmitz. This year, the tournament felt much more intense, with more teams competing now that pandemic restrictions were lifted, Hover said.
“We played our best tennis,” she said of the match.
The boys doubles final between No. 1 Stuttgart and No. 6 Naples went to three sets. Stuttgart’s Noah Shive and Zachary Call survived a scare by Nick Cronk and Ben Avalos, who exceeded their own expectations in making it to the tournament’s final round. After taking the first set, Shive and Call faltered in the second set before closing it out in the third.
“We definitely fell apart” in the second set, Shive said.
“We forgot our strategy,” Call said, adding he and Shive had to regroup and communicate better to prevail.
“It was the hardest match of the year,” Call said.
In the third-place singles matches, Naples’ Sam Stutzman beat Kaiserslautern’s Brunk, 8-1, while Marymount’s Asalei Caffarelli fended off Sigonella’s Charlize Caro, 8-5. Vicenza’s Sam Grady and Andrew Reed defeated Ramstein’s Eric and Sean Kim, 8-4, to take third in boys’ doubles. Vicenza freshmen Addie Wilson and Annika Svenson won their third-place doubles match, 8-2, against Naples’ Talia Lord and Liliana Stutzman.
1. Ramstein 2. Stuttgart. 3. Kaiserslautern
1. Naples 2. Marymount 3. Vicenza
1. Alconbury 2. Brussels and Hohenfels (tie)
1. Kaiserslautern 2. Ramstein 3. Stuttugart
1. Vicenza 2. Marymount 3. Naples
1. Sigonella 2. Brussels 3. Spangdahlem
DODEA European tennis championships
Saturday at Wiesbaden, Germany
Tristan Chandler (Ramstein) def. Leonardo Proietti (Marymount) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Samuel Stutzman (Naples) def. Alexander Brunk (Kaiserslautern) 8-1
Noah Shive/Zachary Call (Stuttgart) def. Nick Cronk/Ben Avalos (Naples) 6-0, 2-6, 6-2
Sam Grady/Andrew Reed (Vicenza) def. Eric Kim/Sean Kim Ramstein 8-4
Stella Schmitz (Kaiserslautern) def. Kassianna von Eicken 6-0, 6-0
Asalei Caffarelli (Marymount) def. Charlize Caro (Sigonella) 8-5
Abigail Hover/Alisa Dietzel (Kaiserslautern) def. Devin French/Kiera French (Stuttgart) 6-1, 6-3
Addie Wilson/Annika Svenson (Vicenza) def. Talia Lord/Liliana Stutzman (Naples) 8-2