A double dip for Schleining
Rick Kovacevich found himself on the same court as Evan Schleining twice on Sunday.
Both times, though, he was on the wrong side of the net, and consequently the short side of the score.
On the last day of the 34th annual Big Al's tennis tournament, Schleining swept through the men's open singles and doubles finals, pairing with former Ashland High teammate Ari Zaslow for the latter.
Schleining defeated Kovacevich 6-1, 6-4 in the open singles final to start the day before he and Zaslow outlasted Kovacevich and Steven Walters of Seattle, Wash., 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 in the matinee.
"I think every title is important, even if I've won it before," said Schleining, who was defeated in last year's singles final but topped Zaslow's squad in the doubles championship. "But it's especially satisfying because I think we definitely played well enough to win."
Schleining didn't drop a set in singles or doubles all weekend, but came close when he and Zaslow were forced into a tiebreaker in the first set of the doubles final.
The Ashland-duo served for the set twice, up 5-4 and 6-5, but Kovacevich and Walters broke both times, prompting the usually mild-mannered Schleining to toss his racquet in disgust.
They went on to cruise from there, though, as a Schleining ace and a Zaslow backhand-winner gave the pair a quick 4-0 lead on their way to the set win.
"We knew we had to come out strong, and both of us were pretty fired up," Schleining said.
The momentum carried to the second set, and the not-so-youthful Kovacevich and Walters appeared worn down as the afternoon heat turned up.
"I'm not in great shape, at least not to the point where I can withstand 100-degree heat and continue to play quality matches," said Kovacevich, who, like Schleining, played five matches since 8 a.m. Saturday.
"That being said, those guys are pretty good " Kovacevich added, " They beat us; no excuses."
Schleining and Zaslow, on the other hand, appeared sharper as the weekend went on. They took the last four games in the second set, and Schleining capped the match with two aces that went untouched.
The explosive left-handed serve also proved to be the difference in the singles final when the top-seeded Schleining tallied 17 aces. After a one-sided first set, Kovacevich held leads of 3-2 and 4-3 in the second set but failed to break each time.
Tied 4-4, Kovacevich dug himself into a love-40 hole before his forehand return peppered the net to end the game. Serving for the match and up 30-0 in the ensuing game, Schleining delivered consecutive aces to end the final.
"He's got a big game, and you've got to get a serve back," Kovacevich said. "He was on the offensive the entire match; you have to make him run and force some shots, but it never happened."
FINALS — (1) Evan Schleining d. (2) Rick Kovacevich, 6-1, 6-4.
FINALS — Doug Huecker d. Shanon Kasiah, 6-4, 6-3.
FINALS — (1) John Sager d. Bryan Cohee, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
FINALS — (1) Skyler Boles d. Larry Grella, 6-3, 6-3.
FINALS — (2) Schleining/Zaslow d. (1) Kovacevich/Walters, 7-6, 6-1.
(1) Drager/Thacker d. Lewis/Rumore, 6-3, 6-3.
FINALS — (1) Ball/Zipf d. Heliker/Ramsey, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
SEMIFINALS — Heliker/Ramsey d. (2) Davies/Hutton, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3; (1) Ball/Zipf d. Cleveland/Sotos, 6-7, 6-1, 6-2.
FINALS — Boles/Montz d. (3) Hamilton/Sacks, 6-4, 6-2
FINALS — Hodges/Hodges d/ (1) Fleming/Williams, 6-2, 6-1.
FINALS — Dana Baker d. Shelly Stocking, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
FINALS — Carrie Hernandez d. Denise Wolfe, 7-6, 6-4.
FINALS — Brenda Rubin d. Nancy Jensen, 6-3, 6-2.
FINALS — Bodine/Heliker d. Jacquat/Pischel, 6-1, 6-1.
SEMIFINALS — Jacquat/Pischel d. Holstein/Stiers, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Bodine/Heliker/Wittkop, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
FINALS — (2) Dean/White d. McCann/Medway, 6-2, 7-5.
SEMIFINALS — (2) Dean/White d. Griffiths/Sturges, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; McCann/Medway d. (1) Kennedy/Wayles, 6-0, 6-4.
FINALS — Anderson/Wolff d. (1) Bazylewicz/Sacks, 7-6, 6-3.
ROUND ROBIN — (2) Snow/Wilson d. Bowen-Jones/Getzendanner, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
FINALS — Del Rio/Yearsley d. Hatch/Johnson, 6-3, 6-1.
FINALS — Ogden/Zizic d. Legarra/Wolff, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.
SEMIFINALS — Legarra/Wolff d. (2) Sacks/Sacks, 6-2, 7-6; Ogden/Zizic d. Kelly/Longmire, 6-1, 6-4.
FINALS — Hardin/Zipf d. Anderson/Collins, 6-0, 6-2.
FINALS — Wolfe/Wolfe d. Wilson/Wilson, 6-3, 6-2.