Rosen and Leiner shine at USTA National Open Men's Grass Court Championships

Josh Leiner (pictured) teamed up with Ben Rosen to win the "Bronze Ball" in doubles play at the 2017 USTA National Open Men's Grass Court Championships. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Rising senior Ben Rosen finished in second place for the second straight year in singles and he teamed with rising senior Josh Leiner to take third place in doubles at the USTA National Open Men's Grass Court Championships, held August 14-20 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Rosen (Port Washington, N.Y.) entered this year's single championships as the No. 2 seed, earning a bye into the Round of 64. From there he won each of his matches in straight sets until he ran into 2013 Rice University graduate Harry Fowler in the semifinals. 

Fowler gave Rosen a tough match that lasted two and a half hours. Rosen ended up prevailing by a count of 3-6, 6-4, 5-2. (Fowler retired with Rosen one game away from clinching the match.)

"What really won it for me was powerful serving and my attack game," said Rosen.

Rosen fell in the finals to Brown University alumnus Justin Natale for the second consecutive year, earning Rosen another "silver ball" as the runner-up in the 68-player tournament.

"He outplayed me but I am so pumped to take home a silver ball in singles and a bronze in doubles," Rosen said. "After I won the bronze with Josh, it was difficult to focus on my singles matches because we were so elated." 

Leiner (Baltimore, Md.) and Rosen opened up doubles play as the seventh seed, earning a bye to the round of 16. They proceeded to win in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) over Brown University's Aaron Sandberg and Jacob Walker. 

In the quarterfinals, Leiner and Rosen came out on fire, winning the first set 6-2 over Monmouth graduate Freddy Marcinkowski and Flagler grad. Brant Switzler. At 4-4 in the second set, Rosen and Leiner broke the opposition's serve and at 5-4 Leiner successfully served for the match, propelling the Bobcat duo into the semifinals.

The setting changed for the semifinals, as the teams moved from an outdoor grass surface to an indoor hard court. Rosen and Leiner fell to eventual gold ball winners Fowler and Harvard's Xavier Gonzalez by a count of 6-1, 6-4.

Leiner and Rosen clinched the bronze ball when their scheduled opponents in the third place match withdrew due to injury.

"It's really easy to play well with Ben because he has no weaknesses," Leiner said. "On top of that, we're very good friends, so I think we both really relaxed and had a lot of fun." 

Rosen, Leiner and the rest of the men's tennis team gets the fall season underway Sept. 23-24 at the Middlebury Invitational.