Saturday, July 17, 2004

Wolf-Kronauge repeat; Molonys get revenge



By Alex Blumer
Enquirer contributor

With both teams facing elimination at 5-2 in the second set of Friday's Thomas E. Price Cincinnati Metropolitan doubles championships, Angela (Farley) Wilson and Keri Preng jokingly bet Cedric Kauffmann and Brian Nester, playing a court over, about who could stay alive the longest.

That was about all the two teams could do in the face of the outstanding play of their opponents.

Dan Kronauge set a record for consecutive Met doubles titles with his seventh straight, as he and Jeff Wolf overpowered second-seeded Kauffmann and Nester 6-4, 6-2.

It was the fifth title in a row and sixth overall for the duo; Kronauge won in 1999 with Kelly Jones.

"It's the only record of Jeff's that I could beat, and I had to use him to help me. I appreciate it," said the 33-year-old Kronauge.

"I thought for sure they played better than us tonight," said Kauffmann, the 2003 singles champ. "They're a very good team and they deserved it."

Playing in their eighth straight Met final together, sisters Kara Molony-Hussey and Lyndsey Molony won their fifth title with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over the top-seeded Preng and Wilson.

Preng and Wilson had topped the Molonys in a thrilling three-set final a year ago.

"I think we had a better game plan this time, we had a better focus this year and we were ready to play," Lyndsey said.

In the men's final, Wolf and Kronauge picked up a pivotal break of serve at 4-all in the first set, thanks to a behind-the-back shot from Wolf to keep the ball alive on break point.

"That was from my basketball days," said the 38-year-old Wolf.

Wolf and Kronauge then cruised to an insurmountable 4-0 lead in the second.

"The momentum really swung when they finished us off in the first, we weren't playing bad, but they just started returning unbelievably well," Nester said.

"I think it was the perfect ending, making a run like this," the 42-year-old Nester said of his final Met appearance.

The Molony sisters came into this year's edition of the women's final with something to prove.

"They didn't miss much and they looked like they had practiced exactly what they needed to beat us," Preng said. "It was their day, no doubt about it."

The former UC standouts came out firing, grabbing an early 4-1 edge. Wilson and Preng got one of the breaks back at 4-2, but the Molonys would win the last two games of the set.

The Met singles semifinals begin at 11 a.m. today, with Wolf taking on Matt Dektas and Molony-Hussey playing Wilson. The second semifinals will begin around 12:30 p.m. Tania Luzhanska goes up against Lyndsey Molony, and Eric Thomas meets Mike McCarthy, a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1 winner over Artie Peller in Thursday's late quarterfinal.

Tennis

THOMAS E. PRICE CINCINNATI

METROPOLITAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Friday

Doubles Championships

(Seedings in parentheses)

Men's: Wolf/Kronauge (1) d. Kauffmann/Nester (2) 6-4, 6-2

Women's: Molony-Hussey/Molony (2) d. Wilson/Preng (1) 6-2, 6-2.

Thursday's Men's Singles Quarterfinal: M. McCarthy (4) d. Peller 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1.




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