Being 12 years old and seeded first in three 18-and-under flights could put a lot of pressure on someone.
St. Clair’s Gabe Brown didn’t seem to be bothered by it.
Brown was one of several players to win a pair of titles Sunday at the Francis J. Robinson Memorial International Tennis Tournament, claiming the boys 18-and-under singles championships, and joining Luke Ingles to win the boys 18-and-under doubles title.
“It’s kind of weird because everybody is so much taller than me,” Brown said with a laugh. “But everybody’s friends here, so there’s not really targets.”
The tournament wrapped up Sunday evening after five days of play at Sanborn Park and the Port Huron Tennis House. A total of 38 champions were crowned in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. For the first time in a long time – nobody could come up with an actual year – there were no triple crown winners in the tournament.
Allie Sweeney returns a hit Sunday, Aug 9, during the final day of the Francis J. Robinson Memorial tennis tournament.
Brown came close, as did a few others. He defeated John Betrus 6-1, 6-1 to win his singles title, while he and Ingles defeated Dane Wirtz and Paul Brettschneider 6-0, 6-0 to win the doubles title.
“In mixed and doubles, I played really well,” Brown said. “In singles I played really well, as well. So overall I played well.”
In the 18-and-under mixed final, Brown and teammate Breana Knust lost a 6-3, 7-5 match against Claire Brooks and Nishaan Makim.
Brooks was a two-time winner in the tournament herself, joining Isabella Murray to win the 18-and-under girls doubles title 6-7, 6-2, 10-7 against Brooks’ St. Clair High School teammates Ally Kennedy and Ally Winkler.
The women’s open singles final was a matchup of the last two Times Herald Girls Players of the Year, as Allie Sweeney defeated Brooks 6-3, 6-2. Sweeney is entering her sophomore year at Grand Valley State, while Brooks is entering her junior year at St. Clair. It’s the second straight women’s open title for Sweeney.
She joined her sister, Taylor, to win the women’s open doubles title in a hard-fought three-set match against Annie Moore and Tiffany Odlum. The Sweeneys won the first set 7-5 and led the second 3-0 before losing it 5-7. They bounced back to win the tiebreaker set 12-10. It’s the second straight women’s open title for the Sweeneys.
“They slowed it down, regrouped, and played smarter tennis,” Taylor Sweeney said of the second set.
Allie Sweeney added: “I think we just focused on what we needed to do (in the tiebreaker), like we did in the first set. When we’d get the short ball, stepping up and taking advantage of it, making our first serves.”
Sweeney also played in the mixed doubles final, but she and teammate Aaron Paajanen lost a hard-fought match against Mark Walker and Moore. Walker and Moore won 6-4, 1-6, 11-9. It’s the third straight year they’ve won the mixed open title.
In the open singles final, Steve Pillon defeated Franklin Brozovich for the second straight year. Pillon won 6-2, 6-4 against the three-time reigning Times Herald Boys Tennis Player of the Year. Starting Wednesday, their relationship will change from opponents to player-coach as Pillon will join Char Sweeney and Tiffany Odlum as coaches of the Port Huron Northern boys tennis team.
“I played good,” Brozovich said. “He’s just really tough. He’s really good. He’s stayed so good throughout the years. I thought I played well.”
Pillon joined Pjotr Necajevs to win the open doubles title. They defeated Jason Go and Justin Sabourin 6-1, 6-4 in a well-played final.
Ryan Davies took home the boys 10-and-under title, defeating Dylan Distelrath 4-0, 4-0. Derek Distelrath won the boys 12-and-under title, defeating Michael Mascarani 6-3, 6-1. Neehal Tumma won the boys 14-and-under title, defeating John Mason 6-4, 7-6. Seth Pinnoo won the 16-and-under title, defeating Andrew Davies 6-3, 7-5.
In the girls junior singles, Ashlyn Kinney defeated Anna Kerhoulas in the 10-and-under final, 4-2, 2-4, 7-4. Anusha Tekemulla defeated her twin sister Annika, 6-4, 6-2. Casey Smith defeated Isabella Murray 6-3, 7-6 in the 14-and-under final. Margaret Smith defeated Jillian Brooks 6-3, 6-2 in the 16-and-under final. Breana Knust defeated Ally Kennedy 7-6, 4-6, 10-1 in a battle of First-Team All-Blue Water Area players in the 18-and-under final.
Scott Comment won the men’s 35-and-over title, defeating Carl Preston 7-6, 3-6, 10-8. Brian Slonac won the 45-and-over title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Marian Polakovic. Tino Dibattista defeated Erwin Gampp 6-1, 7-6 in the 55-and-over title match.
On the women’s side, Connie Kleeves defeated Betty Latosinsky 6-3, 6-4 for the women’s 35-and-over title. They teamed up in the women’s 35-and-over doubles and took second, losing 6-1, 6-4 against Barb Lynch and Laura Wickens.
Livvy Heitoff and Will Beauchamp defeated Amara Makim and Sutton Majeske 4-1, 5-4 for the 10-and-under mixed doubles title. Ian Pinnoo and Jamy Brooks won the 14-and-under title, defeating Casey Smith and Derek Distelrath 7-5, 2-6, 10-5. Abhishek Tekemulla and Grace Whitney defeated Eli Pinnoo and Isabella Murray 6-1, 6-2 for the 16-and-under title.
The 35-and-over mixed final required three sets, as Jason Go and Kristy Kinney defeated Mike Cansfield and Tracy Carleton 4-6, 6-4, 13-11. Dan Johnson and Lynch won the 45-and-over title with a 6-2, 6-2 win against Mike Kleeves and Connie Kleeves. Lezlynn Moore and John Johnson won the 55-and-over title with a 6-0, 6-4 victory against Erwin Gampp and Gloria Odlum.
Elliot Whitney and Dylan Distelrath won the boys 10-and-under doubles title with a 4-0, 4-0 win against Miles Mitchell and Preston Lee. Derek Distelrath and Ian Pinnoo won the 14-and-under title, defeating Evan Duggal and Michael Mascarin 7-5, 6-4 in the final. John Betrus and Seth Pinnoo defeated Andrew Davies and Eli Pinnoo 7-5, 6-1 in the 16-and-under final.
Lily VanHowe and Livvy Heitoff won the 10-and-under doubles final 4-0, 4-1 against Ashlyn Kinney and Lexie Hepting. Carly and Casey Smith defeated the Tekemulla twins 1-6, 7-5, 12-10 in the 14-and-under final. Jillian Brooks and Sydney Sepsey won the 16-and-under final 6-7, 6-3, 10-8 against Jamy Brooks and Isabella Leon-Flann.
Jamie Hepting and Scott Comment defeated Jordan Harris and Justin Peshke 6-0, 6-1 in the men’s 35-and-over final, while Jeff Blackman and John Anderson defeated Glenn Johnson and Tim Lozen 7-6, 6-4 in the 55-and-over final.
Carrie Smith and Julie Rock won the women’s 45-and-over final 6-1, 6-4 against Gloria Odlum and Mary Bruce.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.