LIMA – Last year, former Ada standout Mackenzie Wills finally notched her first ever Lima Area Tennis Association’s City Singles title, after making it to the championship match the previous two years.
This weekend, Wills will try to defend her City title.
However, this time around, it becomes personal.
In today’s women’s championship match, there will be two Wills battling for the title.
Mackenzie, a senior at Ohio Northern University, will take on her sister Miranda, a junior at Ada High School, for the City title. All title matches are set for 10 a.m. today at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
On Saturday, Mackenzie Wills defeated Van Wert freshman Grace Lott in a quarterfinal, 6-0, 6-0. Then in a semifinal, Wills beat Bath’s Esther Bolon 6-1, 6-2.
Miranda Wills defeated St. Charles’ eighth-grader Libby Simmons in a quarterfinal Saturday, 6-1, 6-1. Then in a semifinal, Miranda Wills defeated Bluffton’s Erin Hotmire 6-2, 6-4 to advance.
Despite being sisters and growing up in a tennis family, the two siblings have never faced each other in this type of tournament setting.
“I’ve played her like in a set during practice, like a couple weeks ago,” Mackenzie said. “But other than that, I don’t play against her. So, it will be exciting. She’s a competitor. It will be interesting, but it will be a little awkward.”
Mackenzie is coming off a stellar junior season at ONU, where she earned honorable mention All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors. Wills led ONU this season with 50 overall wins — 26 doubles victories and tied the team lead with 24 singles wins. She ranks seventh on ONU’s all-time wins list with 133 career victories.
Mackenzie makes the Lima City Singles Tennis Tournament an annual event.
“I’m not able to play a lot of tournaments since I’m in college,” she said. “So, it’s nice to find one that I can play in. It’s good to come out and get some competition. The only tournament I play in during the summer is this. So, other than practice, this is all I get in during the summer.”
Mackenzie will try to put aside the fact she will be playing her sister for the City title, and will try to focus on the task at hand.
“I’m going to go out there and try my hardest (to defend my title) and see what happens, I guess. There’s a little pressure, but not really too much. I’m just out here to play and to have fun.” she said with a smile.
Miranda said both of them realized, coming into the tournament, this scenario was a possibility.
“We kind of thought that if we see each other, we see each other. We knew we had to get there first. So, I just took one match at a time. I wasn’t going to expect to play her,” Miranda said with a smile.
Along with the Wills siblings competing this weekend, their father, Scott, went 1-1 Saturday. The longtime ONU women’s head tennis coach looks forward to this annual tournament.
“It (the City tournament) has a bigger context of family, because a lot of the folks that come out here, know each other,” Coach Wills said. “So, we can enjoy the competition and let the chips fall where they may and enjoy it. We’re just glad they (the two sisters) have a chance to play each other.”
On the men’s side, former Lima Central Catholic and University of Findlay standout John Kidd will attempt to make it four City titles today, when he takes on UNOH junior Diogo Lamy. Lamy, who hails from Portugal, has competed on the UNOH tennis team the past two years.
Kidd made easy work of his three opponents Saturday. In Kidd’s first match Saturday, he defeated Bluffton’s Drew Wilson 6-0, 6-0. Kidd won his quarterfinal match against Elida’s Tyler Christoff, 6-0, 6-1.
Then in his semifinal match, Kidd disposed of Justin Haggard 6-0, 6-0.
However, Kidd’s biggest challenge coming into this week, was how to balance playing in the City tennis tournament and the City golf tournament. The City golf tournament was going on during the week, while the tennis tournament started Friday.
Kidd was eliminated in the City golf tournament Thursday, which made it less complicated. Things played out the same way last year, when he competed in both tournaments.
“Unfortunately, both years did not go as well as planned with playing golf,” Kidd said with a smile. “But there are a ton of great golfers out there. So, it’s always fun to get out and compete, just like I did when I was in high school and college. Hopefully, next year I will make it a little bit further (in golf). We would have worked it out (playing golf and tennis Saturday), but it would have been a very long day. Hopefully, next year I can do that.”
For Lamy, playing in this tournament was a last second decision.
“I’m really excited,” Lamy said. “I didn’t expect to play in this tournament, but Jeff (Brown, the tournament director and three-time City singles champion) asked me, ‘Do you want to play?’ I said, ‘Why not.’ I’m just enjoying summer here. I’m doing some (tennis) lessons and taking some summer classes. So, I figured I might as well play in it.”
Lamy defeated Curtis Schaaf in his first match Saturday, 6-0, 6-0. Then in his quarterfinal, Lamy defeated Scott Wills 6-2, 6-1. In his semifinal, Lamy disposed of Brandon Amstutz 6-0, 6-0.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.