Some contend there's no such thing as a moral victory. But a morale victory, that's a different matter.
Doug Sachs defeated Roland Thornqvist, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Mainline Classic tennis tournament on Sunday at the Allen Fieldhouse courts.
In the process, Sachs, a third-year pro, put to rest some of the nagging questions he had about leaving Arizona State without a degree when his eligibility expired.
"There have been times I said I shouldn't be a professional," Sachs said. "This makes me feel better about my decision to leave (ASU) without graduating."
Sachs earned $1,375 for his singles title and he split an $800 purse with Keith Evans after their 6-4, 6-1 win over David Blair and Mark Merklein in Sunday's doubles championship.
Thornqvist, a senior at North Carolina, is restricted by NCAA rules and will get just a share of the amateur's pool. His share will be worth about $360, or $60 a day.
"THE MONEY'S great," Sachs said. "But I'm just happy I'm playing well and getting some points."
Sachs said he has become more serious about his pro career, and it's starting to pay.
"What made the difference for me was that I had always played the circuit then took a month or two off," the 24-year-old Sachs said. "This is my 13th week. I think over the last month I've really improved."
It looked grim for Sachs in the first set Sunday. Thornqvist had a pair of aces in winning the first game, and he broke Sachs' serve in the second for a 2-0 lead. Both held serve until the eighth game, when Thornqvist again broke Sachs for the first-set win.
"He just came out playing great in the first set," Sachs said. "I thought I came out slow."
Sachs continually argued line calls in the first set, and Thornqvist benefitted from several net-cord winners.
"I THOUGHT a few of the line calls in the first set were shaky," Sachs said. "When I start thinking about other things instead of just playing, I don't play as well. In the second set, I started concentrating better and started forgetting about all the outside things."
That was evident from the first game of the second set, when Sachs immediately broke Thornqvist's serve. Thornqvist won just one point in that first game.
"He picked it up," Thornqvist said. "In that first set, I was moving him around. In the second, he picked it up. From that first point, he moved me around. He played well. I thought I played well in the first set. In the second and third, he put a lot of pressure on me."
Sachs again broke Thornqvist in the first game of the third set and again in the ninth for his first USTA circuit win
"When I got the first break in the first game, I thought I would be able to win the set just by holding serve," Sachs said. "It worked out."
WHAT ALSO worked was Sachs' court strategy. His ground strokes repeatedly kept Thornqvist on the baseline, and Sachs took every opportunity to come to the net.
"I noticed in the first set when I came in I won almost every point," Sachs said. "But I didn't continue to do it. In the second and third, whenever I got a short shot I came in and it seemed to go my way."