LIMA — It was a very familiar setting.
The previous two years, John Kidd and Jeff Brown faced each other in the Lima Area Tennis Association Singles Tournament finals.
And in the past two meetings, Kidd walked away with the City Singles title. On Sunday, the third time facing Kidd would be a charm for Brown.
Brown, the former University of Northwestern Ohio standout and now the head pro at Westwood, battled back after getting down 2-4 in the first set and went on to defeat Kidd 6-4, 6-2 in Sunday’s championship match at the UNOH Tennis Courts. Sunday’s victory for Brown marks his second overall City Singles title.
In the women’s championship, Spencerville senior Kaylee Davis took on 9-year-old phenom Marina Fuduric. Davis easily claimed the title, defeating Fuduric 6-1, 6-0.
For Brown, it was all about being aggressive.
“I served well. ….I probably served the best in the tournament (on Sunday) by far,” Brown said. “I was confident in my serving, and everything else kind of fell in place. My game revolves around my serve and forehand. So, without that, I’m just an average player.”
Early on, Brown found himself battling back.
Kidd, the former Lima Central Catholic standout and now a senior on the University of Findlay tennis team, jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the first set. Early on, it looked like Kidd was the one who would take control of the match.
But Brown came roaring back with strong first-serves and a barrage of deadly forehands.
“I started off well, like I wanted to,” Kidd said. “I went up 4-2 in the first set. Then, he didn’t make any unforced errors, and he made me go for shots. I reeled off too many unforced errors. And the next thing I know, I lose the first set, 6-4. …Then, I was down in the second (set), 4-0. That (first set) was kind of the game-changer right there.”
Davis, who was runner-up in the City Singles tournament two years ago and then lost in the semifinals last year to eventual champion Andrea Arango, took control of her match against Fuduric on Sunday.
Davis took full advantage of the windy conditions, dishing out hard top-spins to the fourth-grader.
Davis came into Sunday’s match fully aware of Fuduric’s abilities.
“I knew she was younger but was very good. But I had to play the same match,” Davis said. “It was a good match. You give her a few years to mature, and she’ll be a great player.”
Fuduric, a fourth-grader at St. Charles, regularly competes in USTA tournaments in the Midwest and is ranked 21st in the USTA Midwest Girls 10s. She is coached by Brown at Westwood.
This year’s City Singles tournament was the first time a competitor that wasn’t at least in the eighth grade was permitted to play. Now, if the athlete holds a USTA ranking, they are allowed to compete.
Fuduric took Sunday’s loss in stride.
“She was really good at (hitting) top-spin,” Fuduric said. “I’m pretty happy at the way I played.”
For Davis, notching her first City Title was very special.
“It feels great to finally do it,” she said with a smile.
In the Women’s 30-and-over division, veteran Mary Lou Roush notched the title on Sunday with a win over Jill Welch, 6-2, 6-0.
The 30-and-over division was a round robin format. In the other 30-and-over match on Sunday, Joan Collar defeated Chris Elstro 7-6, 5-7 (10-8).
In the men’s back draw, Spencer Collins ousted Justin Haggard 6-0, 6-1. In the women’s back draw, Mackenzie Wills defeated Meghana Chanamolu 6-2, 6-0.