The way Hal Estis collects titles at the Record-Courier Portage County Open
tennis tournament, the Aurora resident should consider looking into the
rights to the word ``11-peat'' before next year's open.
This year marked the 10th year for the PC Open. And for the 10th consecutive
year Estis won a doubles championship in the tournament, teaming with Bob
Ware to win the Men's 80 Doubles title 6-1, 6-3 over Rich Ambrose and Pete
Flexer Sunday at Kent Roosevelt High School.
The title was the second straight for Estis and Ware, who also lives in
``I've had a lot of partners over the years. I guess after a few years,
they have a hard time tolerating me anymore,'' joked Estis. ``I like to
have fun playing tennis, and winning is a lot more fun than losing.''
Ware said Estis' intensity has played a big part in his success over the
``Hal is extremely competitive,'' said Ware. ``He always keeps me in the
game. That is a key in doubles, keeping your aggressiveness and staying
positive to your partner.''
Repeat seemed to be the theme for much of Sunday's PC Open.
Stow's Vilma Smith earned her third consecutive title, winning the Women's
A-C Singles title 6-4, 6-0 over Carlene Lundgren in a rematch of the 1995
``That was a really long match,'' said Smith. ``It was three sets, and it
was really close. So this year, I tried to figure out some strategy.'' That
strategy was to stay away from Lundgren's strong backhand.
``She has an awesome cross-court backhand, so I needed to hit the ball to
the middle (of the court),'' said Smith.
It took a little while for the strategy to take effect, as Lundgren jumped
out to a 3-1 lead in the first set.
``I came out strong,'' said Lundgren. ``But once I was up 3-1, Vilma wouldn't
let me hold the lead. I made too many mistakes and I tried to push it a
little with my backhand.''
Smith battled back with strong ground strokes and ``good footwork for a
``I hit the ball a lot with my husband Bob, which has helped me,'' she said.
``He is my trainer and biggest fan.''
While Smith won her third straight championship in the same division, Kent
Roosevelt junior Matt Kane clinched his fourth consecu" tive title
Sunday in his fourth different division.
Kane won the Men's A singles in a hard-fought match with Dave Fosnight,
6-4, 6-7, 6-2.
``I've had to move up every year,'' said Kane, the champion of last year's
Boys Senior A Singles division. ``Each year it has gotten a lot harder.''
Fosnight refused to make Sunday's match easy for the reigning Western Reserve
``He had four match points on me in the second set,'' said Fosnight. ``I
was down 5-2 and was able to hold off the match and send it to a tiebreaker
which I won 7-5. So it was really tight. Then in the third set, I was up
40-love in two different games and I couldn't put him away.''
Kane said he was impressed with the intensity of Fosnight, who claimed to
be nearly 25 years older than the Rough Rider star.
``He was really tough,'' said Kane. ``He never gave up. I think his mental
game is much better than mine. That's something I need to work on.''
Working on his tennis game is a big reason why Kane plays in the PC Open.
``This really helps my game stay together,'' said Kane. ``Usually I have
long lapses where I don't play and I fall apart.''
Like Kane, 1994 Ravenna High School graduates Kris Kading and Brian Triola
moved up a division to win their second straight PC Open championship.
After winning last year's Men's Collegiate//Boys Senior Doubles, Kading
and Triola took home the championship in the Men's B Doubles Sunday with
a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Blair Stockley and Tim Adkins.
``We just tried to play consistent tennis,'' said Triola. ``We were pretty
fortunate jumping out 5-2 in the beginning. I think they got a little tired
at the end.''
Apparently the match didn't tire Triola, who followed his B doubles title
by teaming with J.P. Seman to win the Men's A Doubles championship 7-6,
6-1 over Kane and Anil Bhargava.