Sunday, July 18, 2004

Annual favorites will try to extend dominance today

Met tennis

By Alex Blumer
Enquirer contributor

Intriguing subplots abound at today's singles title matches of the Thomas E. Price Cincinnati Metropolitan championships at Lunken Playfield.

On the men's side, top-seeded Jeff Wolf, 38, will try to extend his record for Met singles titles to seven.

Across the net will be Brown University sophomore Eric Thomas, who's trying to join John D. Peckskamp (1971) as the only men to win the Met singles before the age of 20.

Kara Molony-Hussey is the women's top seed.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
Today's women's final is a rematch of last year's championship, with Tania Luzhanska looking for revenge against top seed Kara Molony-Hussey, a winner in three sets when they played a year ago.

Luzhanska, who was born in the Ukraine but trains at the International Tennis Academy in Florida, defeated Molony-Hussey for the championship in 2001.

"I'm sure it's going to be a good match, because I'm probably going to have to win it - she won't give it away," said the 19-year-old Luzhanska.

Thomas reached the final by pulling out a 7-5, 6-0 victory over No. 4 seed Mike McCarthy.

In the first set, Thomas took a 3-0 lead with a couple of service breaks.

But McCarthy, who will be a freshman at Indiana University, tied the match at 4-all.

McCarthy had a couple of set points at 5-4, but Thomas was able to fend them off.

Thomas then broke the former Indian Hill standout on a double fault to go up 6-5.

"Each set point I was able to come up with some big shots," Thomas said.

"He was putting the ball deep, making me move, and all I could really think about was making him move back, and it ended up being a grindfest from the baseline."

Fresh off winning his 15th Met doubles title, another record, with Dan Kronauge on Friday night, Wolf defeated Matt Dektas 6-2, 6-1 Saturday morning.

"Today I didn't serve particularly well, but I served the big points well," Wolf said. "My concentration comes and goes, but I'm able to pull it back in. I think that's my biggest strength."

Having reached his first Met semifinal, Dektas decided this would be his final singles appearance.

"I'm a teacher, not a player," said the 28-year-old Dektas, a teaching pro at Five Seasons.

Molony-Hussey advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Angela (Farley) Wilson.

Wilson was able to keep Molony-Hussey off balance for much of the match with a steady return game.

"I knew she'd get everything back and wouldn't give me much pace to work with," Molony-Hussey said. "I actually don't get to play my game; I have to go to plan B against someone like that."

Luzhanska defeated Kara's younger sister, Lyndsey, 6-2, 6-1. It was the second consecutive year Molony lost to Luzhanska.

Luzhanska and Molony-Hussey will take the court at noon today at Lunken Playfield.

The Wolf-Thomas match will follow.

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