Sunday, July 04, 1999

Champs to skip Met tennis

Tournament 'wide-open' for new winner

Enquirer contributor

        Injuries, surgery and burnout have taken a toll on the annual Thomas E. Price Metropolitan Tennis Tournament that begins Wednesday at Lunken Playfield.

        Ninety-five men are entered, compared with 123 in 1998. The number of women is up to 31, from 30 in 1998 and 1997.

        “There's nothing you can do about injuries and it doesn't concern me that many of the top players aren't entered,” Tom Price said. “It's still a darn good tournament that will be wide open.”

        Among the notables skipping this year's tournament are two-time defending and three-time men's champion Craig Boynton and five-time women's champion Heather Hairston.

        Jeff Wolf, a four-time champion (1989, '91, '93, '94), is seeded No. 1 in the men's tournament, ahead of Brett DeCurtins. Defending champion Kara Molony is the favorite in the women's tournament.

        Notables not entered in singles are Pam Whitehead, Kurt Josselyn (1998 runner up), Josh Osswald, Eric Matthews and Craig Lindner.

        Boynton, a teaching professional at Harpers Point who is undefeated en route to three Met titles, is unable to play because of recent shoulder surgery. Hairston decided to take a year off due to burnout.

        Two longevity streaks will remain intact with Kathy Graeter making a 42nd consecutive appearance while 66-year-old Bill Pendl will be participating for the 33rd consecutive year.

        “I've never won the Met but made it to the singles finals in 1967, the first year I played,” Pendl said.

        Pendl's first round match Wednesday is against long-time friend Dave Tanner, boys tennis coach at Sycamore High School and the husband of University of Cincinnati women's coach, Carol Tanner.

        “I've played Bill several times in doubles but never in singles,” Tanner said.

        The oldest player entered is Claudio Stemberger, a 71-year-old from Fairfield who relishes the opportunity to play against the better players in Cincinnati.

        “Winning isn't everything,” Stemberger said. “It's the idea of participating that's important.”

        The women's and men's doubles competition may steal the limelight with former touring professional Kelly Jones and two-time women's singles champion Teri Boynton entered.

        Jones, now a resident of Cincinnati who retired as an active professional player on the ATP tour following the 1998 season, will team with Dan Kronauge.

        Both players would like to earn an at-large berth in the ATP doubles competition that will be played at the ATP Tennis Center in Mason beginning August 7.

        Teri Boynton is undefeated in Met competition en route to singles titles in 1994 and 1996. She will team with Mary Beth Wolf, the wife of five-time men's singles champion, Marty.

        One minor change involves court assignments.

        Rather than wait until the players arrive, courts will be assigned the previous day. This will eliminate players arriving late to play on a hard court rather than clay during the first and second rounds.

        Other top men's seeds are Jason Yeager (3), Matt Poulos (4), Tracy Epperson (5), Rey Puentes (6), Doug Corn (7) and Matt Dektas.

        Besides Molony, the seeded woman's players are Amy Fritsch (2), Lyndsey Molony (3), Darcy Poulos (4), Mary Ann Srenco (5), Ashley Bothen (6), Chris Underwood (7) and Julianna Hite (8).

        Men's singles play begins on Wednesday with the women's singles and men's and women's double competition set to begin on Saturday and Sunday.

        Men's Singles Schedule

        Wednesday, July 7

        6 p.m.: Reichert vs. Tang; Moreland vs. Nguyen; Stemberger vs. Kohn; Pendl vs. Tanner; Keith vs. Cohen; Clark vs. Necaise; Gordon vs. Spreen; Abele vs. Kolenich; Peckskamp vs. Pipkins; Klein-Riffle vs. Cocagne; Tyler vs. Mouch; Wartmann vs. Haigh; Hemingway vs. Sutto; Wessel vs. Brandt; Errington vs. Kaplan; Giuggio vs. Scott.

        7 p.m.: Arey vs. Greene; Teufel vs. Feld; Ayres vs. Reid; Tieger vs. Gebhardt.

        7:30 p.m.: Solimine vs. Sunkara; Neganov vs. Canelas; Meyer vs. Davis; Feld vs. Jordan; Orlet vs. Reed; Busald vs. Stacey; Scacchetti vs. Peter.


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