With a patient style of play, Claude England downed a harried Mark Buckley, 6-3, 6-4 yesterday to win the men's singles championship of the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Association tournament.
England, who seemed perpetually engaged in disputes with linesmen during the tournament at Aspen Hill Racquet Club, fell short of a sweep when he and Tony James bowed, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, to Tony Velo and Hank Harris in the doubles final.
Before challenging Buckley, England first disposed of Scott Kidd yesterday morning, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, in a semi-final match that was postponed by rain Saturday in the third set.
The duel between the two former University of Maryland players was decided when England broke Kidd with the scores 6-4 in the final set, and then held service.
The 19-year-old Buckley gained the final with topspin shots on the clay courts. Against England, however, Buckley abandoned his patient baseline game, choosing instead to force the action and try to overpower in his 5-foot-2 rival.
"I really didn't feel like playing today," said Buckley. "I'm patient to an extent but when I realized he was just staying back at the baseline I got tired of it and came to the net."
Buckley's impatience resulted in enough unforced errors to turn his 3-2 opening set lead into a 6-3 England victory. And England, a 25-year-old native of New Zealand, compensated for his less than spectacular array of shots by retrieving and returning everthing hit to him.
It was this patience that brought third-seeded England the title while dropping only one set in the tournament.
"I felt I got some bad calls and that bothered me," England said. "But I think I played well in returning a lot of balls, which put pressure on him and made him feel he had to do a little more with the ball. That caused him to make a lot of unforced errors."