City singles finals filled with excitement

They say it is harder to stay on top than to get there.

All three defending singles champions in the Lima Area Tennis Association city singles championships were challenged by worthy adversaries to knock them off their top rung. But the returning champs successfully fended off their respective opponent’s best efforts to retain their titles in the men’s, women’s and 35-and-over finals at the University of Northwestern Ohio tennis courts Sunday.

Jeff Brown rallied to defeat John Kidd, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 to capture the men’s singles crown. Kaylee Davis netted a win over Mackenzie Wills, 6-1, 6-4, to secure the women’s singles championship for the second consecutive year and returning champion Mary Lou Roush outlasted Barbie Prince, 6-4, 2-6 (10-3) in the women’s 35-and-over division to add to her already large collection of hardware.

The men’s singles, featuring Brown and Kidd in the finals for the fourth straight year, proved to be the most entertaining of the three finals as the two battled in a sensational first set marathon that saw Brown getting down early and then making a late charge in the opening set that would be the key to the successful defense of his title.

Coming out as the aggressor, Kidd marched out to a 3-0 lead that had Brown fuming and frustrated with his own play.

But a quick toss of the racket at the fence and some self-motivating words to himself seemed to get him re-focused as he picked up the next two games to slice the lead to 3-2.

“Those first three games, John was pressing so hard. He has me scrambling all over the court and was keeping me back on the baseline and I couldn’t find my rhythm or my range. To be honest I was just trying to weather the storm,” Brown said. “I got a little frustrated there but that allows me to get some adrenaline going and I started pushing myself. I just told myself there is no reason to be tentative so just swing away and see what happens. It turned out to work out for me.”

Sensing the momentum shifting, Kidd made another attempt at changing up his game and stopped attacking the net. The strategy paid off initially as he picked up the next game, however, Kidd made the necessary adjustments and successfully countered Kidd’s stinging strokes to capture the next two games and go up, 5-4.

Holding serve, Kidd knotted the score at 5-5, but Brown, who had his serve working late, once again took the lead and when his ace handcuffed Kidd at 40-15, the defending champ held the one-game advantage 6-5.

Undeterred, Kidd held serve to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker it was all Brown who jumped all over Kidd and with another powerful serve on set point collected the victory after Kidd failed to handle one of Brown’s sizzling serves.

“I started the way I wanted and was serving to go up 4-0 but I wasted too much energy going up 3-0 and so I pretty much used all my energy and that ended up hurting me in the end,” Kidd said.

After winning the first set Brown set out to keep the momentum in his favor and did just that when he broke Kidd’s serve in the first game to go up 1-0 that jumped to 2-0 when Brown held serve.

By this point both players found themselves doubled over between points looking for that extra energy that could carry them to victory.

Kidd got a burst of energy and momentarily stopped Brown’s scoring surge by holding serve and winning the next game, but that proved to be Kidd’s last hurrah as Brown won the next three games to go up 5-1.

“I went up 2-1 and I told myself ‘I can’t extend this match any longer, I’ve got to get going,’” Brown said. “I know my legs started getting heavy and I felt they might cramp up and I know he looked exhausted as well, so at that point it was anyone’s match at the time.”

Brown said he dug deep and came up with the necessary strength to finish off Kidd.

Kidd secured one last game, before Brown won the next game and celebrated his second straight title.

“I was down 2-1 in the second set with Jeff serving and it was 15-all or 30-15 and I told myself I could get something going here and he hit two big serves to go 40-30 and then I had an unforced error so he went up 3-1 and that kind of put the momentum toward him,” Kidd said. “I know Jeff is a great player and he knows the game very well.”

With the win, Brown evened his mark with Kidd in finals 2-2.

“It is always fun to play John,” Brown said. “He brings his size, speed and reach. If he starts pressing forward, you really can’t beat him and fortunately he stopped moving forward in the first set and it allowed me to keep him at the baseline and that is really what helped me get through the first set.”

In the women’s singles Kaylee Davis admitted she wasn’t at her best, but held off Mackenzie Wills 6-1, 6-4 for her second second title.

Early on, Davis looked like it was going to be a cake walk in her finals tilt when she pounced on Wills, who said she had some early game jitters, to easily post the first set victory.

However, Wills, shaking off those nerves came out with a renewed vigor in the second set and took 3-2 lead.

“I was nervous the first set but I started playing with no hesitation the second set,” Wills said. “I felt like I had nothing to lose at that point.”

With Wills on the warpath, Davis buckled down and showed why she is champion by collecting the next three games to go up 5-3. Wills fought her way to another game but Davis was too much to handle and the Spencerville grad wrapped things up by winning the final game to garner game, set and match.

“It felt good to get through because I played terrible,” Davis said. “I couldn’t get a serve in. I was glad to get through it. It was not my day. She was more consistent in the second set and I just started missing just a lot more in the second. The first set was easy but then I started missing a lot in the second.”

Not to be overlooked was the 35-and-over division which saw its own fair share of excitement.

Roush, who has dominated this division, found herself in a tight struggle with Barbie Prince, before fending her off in the tiebreaker after the two split the first two sets.

Roush jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set but Prince showed she was not going to be a pushover and won the next two games to cut the lead to 4-3. They traded games in the next two games before Roush pushed past Prince to grab the one set lead.

In the second set it was all Prince as she opened up a 4-1 advantage and then cruised to a 6-2 win to force the 10-point tiebreaker. Roush regained the form that has made her so tough to beat in this division and easily won the tiebraeaker, 10-3.

“Barbie has brought her game to a different level and she is such a wonderful competitor,” Roush said. “It was pretty even the first set and I pulled it out at the end and then in the second set she took charge and then in the tie breaker I took charge.”

Roush said the win is good but added that doing your best is what counts. She said her father encouraged her to give it her best in what ever sport she competes in so she is doing what dad said.

“I’m sort of saying `hey dad I’m still running. I am still playing.’ Winning is nice but the main thing is the people.”

Prince called Roush a legend and praised her efforts. She added that the tiebreaker format at the end did not play to her style.

“I came back but the the tiebreaker was too much give and take for me,” Prince said. “If we would have done….I don’t know it is just is a quicker set so it hurt me but she played good. She is always the person to beat.”

Action resumes in the LATA city championships when doubles competition begins on Friday at the University of Northwestern Ohio courts on Friday at 5 p.m.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Kaylee Davis successfully defended her title as the top women’s single player in the Lima Area Tennis Association Tournament finals Sunday. Davis successfully defended her title as the top women’s single player in the Lima Area Tennis Association Tournament finals Sunday.

Jeff Brown rallied from a 3-0 deficit to John Kidd to capture his second consecutive title in the Lima Area Tennis Association men’s singles title. Brown rallied from a 3-0 deficit to John Kidd to capture his second consecutive title in the Lima Area Tennis Association men’s singles title.
Champions fend off opponents to retain singles crowns

By Jose Nogueras

[email protected]

Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1