LIMA — Once you’re on top, everyone is gunning for you.
Last year’s defending champions of the Lima City Singles Tennis Tournament prevailed in Friday’s semifinals at the Westwood Tennis and Fitness Center.
The finals of the City Tournament will begin at 9:30 a.m. today at the Collett Street Courts. In case of inclement weather, the matches will then be moved to Westwood.
Jeff Brown, a former University of Northwestern Ohio standout and last year’s Lima City champion, won his semifinal match against recent Lima Central Catholic graduate Alex Swick on Friday.
But it wasn’t easy.
In a match that went back-and-forth, Brown slipped out with the win in a hard-fought tiebreaker, 7-5, 7-6(5).
Brown will face former LCC standout and now University of Findlay tennis player John Kidd, in today’s championship match. Kidd also won his match in a tiebreaker, defeating former Shawnee and UNOH product Sam Rutter 6-2, 7-6(4).
On the women’s side, former Shawnee standout Lauren Rovner (Case Western Reserve) cruised through her semifinal match against Jeanna Haggard, winning 6-0, 6-0. Rovner has won the City title the past three years.
“It went as I expected,” Rovner said. “I kept the ball in play. I used my forehand and I hit big shots. I just kept it in play.”
In the other women’s semifinal match, 65-year-old Mary Lou Roush forced 15-year-old Kaylee Davis to a third set. Davis prevailed, however, ousting the veteran in three sets, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4.
Rovner will face Davis in today’s championship match.
Brown, the all-time wins leader in UNOH history, gave Swick a great deal of credit.
“It was just a serving match, honestly. …I had no answer for his serve,” Brown said. “He kept mixing up serve speeds. I couldn’t read his shots and he had an answer for all of my shots. I truly feel lucky, right now. He played phenomenal. …That’s the best I’ve seen him play.”
After winning the first set against Rutter, Kidd found himself in a battle in the second set. Rutter’s serve gave Kidd a great deal of trouble, especially in the second set.
“He’s a solid player,” Kidd said about Rutter. “When his serve is on, it’s tough to break. You just hope you can get a couple points and hopefully hold serve.”
In high school, Kidd teamed up with Swick in doubles and was state runners-up twice. Now at Findlay, Kidd finds himself in a different role.
“In college you can play both singles and doubles,” Kidd said. “So, in my first year of college, I played second doubles, started some at third singles and ended up at second singles on the team.”
In the men’s consolation bracket, Emerson Hager defeated Ruthvik Avvari in the semifinals 6-1, 6-3.
The French brothers — Brandon and Alex — battled in the other consolation semifinal. Brandon came out on top, 6-2, 6-4.
Hager withdrew from the consolation finals and Brandon French was awarded the first-place trophy.
In the women’s consolation, Maggie Fett defeated Paige Collins 6-1, 6-1. In the other match, Claire Oates won over Rachael Roberts 7-5, 6-4. Oates will face Fett in the finals today.