Sunday, July 11, 2004

Met tennis: Wolf, Kronauge in usual form

Doubles champs among many seeds to advance

By Alex Blumer
Enquirer contributor

Of the 98 competitors in Saturday's first rounds of the 61st annual Thomas E. Price Cincinnati Metropolitan Championship at Lunken Playfield, Jeff Wolf was the only one wearing long sleeves, despite the muggy court conditions.

It's hard to question Wolf's judgment, though, considering he has won the Met doubles 14 times.

Jeff Wolf and Dan Kronauge breezed through their match Saturday.
(Tony Jones photo)
"(During warmups) I was sweating so bad I couldn't hold on to my racket. But it's not too hot; the wind blew the shirt cool," Wolf said.

Joking, he added: "Plus there's always that intimidation factor."

Wolf and partner Dan Kronauge didn't break much of a sweat Saturday as they began their quest for a sixth straight Met doubles title by dispatching Nicholas Herzog and Adam Moler 6-0, 6-1.

"I think that's a sign of maturity on our end," said Wolf. "We don't take anyone lightly."

"That was a great first round for us," said Kronauge. "Those guys were good players."

Wolf and Kronauge will meet former Turpin standouts Tim Geraci and J.R. Randall in today's round of 16.

UPSETS: Tenth-seeded Amine Benjelloun and Billy Hopkins were the only seeded team not to make it out of the second round, going down 6-4, 6-2 to Jonathan Khoury and Tony Lamy. They'll face eighth-seeded Leighton Jones and Warren Chamakoon today for a spot in the quarterfinals.

INDIAN HILL UPDATE: A number of former Indian Hill stars advanced Saturday.

Two-time state champ Brian Compton was victorious in his Met doubles debut, teaming with coach Brett DeCurtins to ease past Darren Giuggio and Mark Matthews 6-0, 6-2.

"It's cool to play with him," Compton said of DeCurtins, a pro at Beechmont Racquet Club. "We wouldn't have any opportunity to otherwise."

The fourth-seeded pairing of brothers Ryan and Mike McCarthy, who both played for the Braves, also prevailed, 6-2, 6-3, over Eric Maclin and Artie Peller.

CLOSE CALLS: Mike and Matt Dektas, the fifth seed, got a bit of a scare from Aaron McDowell and Andrew MacDonald before prevailing 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-0.

"We're sloppy. Sometimes it looks like we can win the whole tournament, sometimes it looks like we can't win a match," Matt Dektas said.

Next for the Dektas brothers will be 11th-seeded Todd Rich and Jay Woffington, who dropped just three games total in their two victorious matches.

Eric Thomas, the 2003 high school Division I state singles champ and the second-seed in the singles draw, also got a good workout in his first match. He and Jeff Lindstrom, who came in as the ninth seed, ousted Andy Bartish and Chris Kippley 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

"Doubles I look at more as a way to improve my singles. The more you play, the more practice you get," Thomas said.

Thomas and Lindstrom will take on sixth-seeded Matt Poulos and Ryan Floth, who beat Doug Matthews and Robert Horne 6-3, 6-4.

OTHER SEEDS: Seventh-seeded Wil Lofgren and James Tyler knocked off Ryan Hamning and Kevin Seibel 6-2, 6-2.

That sets up a meeting with John Gould and Matt Kuhlman, the 12th seed. Gould and Kuhlman blasted Jon Antony and Ken Prost 6-0, 6-2.

TODAY'S MATCHES: The round of 16 in men's singles begins at 10 a.m. at Lunken.

The rest of the men's doubles round of 16 will follow singles play.

Cedric Kauffmann and Brian Nester were the only seeded team not to play Saturday. The second seeds play their second-round match at 11 a.m. today against Kyle Bates and Kevin Trapp.

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