Top tennis tourney returns to Tahoe |

Top tennis tourney returns to Tahoe

Considered one of the best tournaments in Nevada and Northern California, the 24th annual Tahoe Classic will be held Friday through Sunday at the Zephyr Cove Tennis Complex.

Matches begin each day at 7:45 a.m., with the finals of each of the seven divisions scheduled for Sunday. Admission is free and there will be a concession stand courtesy of the Tahoe Gymnastics Booster Club.

As always, the men’s ‘A’ division is shaping up to be the most competitive, with defending champions Kurt Ricter and Kim Farran entering as the No. 1 seed. The second-seeded team is made up of Reno’s Bob Deller and Sacramento’s Mike Smith.

The third-seeded team is Glen Grissilo and John Powers, who combined to win the event three years ago, and the fourth-seeded team is 2004 champions Mark Peterson and Randy Houston. Although Grissilo has won matches in both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, tournament director Hersh Herschman had good things to say about the top two teams.

“Kurt is lightning quick around the court and Kim has a thunderous serve,” Hersh Herschman said. “Bob is arguably the best doubles player in the Reno-Northern California area. It is a pleasure to watch him carve up opponents with his precise serving skills.”

The ladies division will have 16 teams, with another five teams on the waiting list should any of the 16 teams cancel. The top-seeded team is South Lake Tahoe’s Linda Hixenbaugh and Vanessa Smaine. Hixenbaugh is coming off a first-place finish at the USTA Mother-Daughter Invitational in Vancouver, Wash.

Defending champions Becky Smiser and Colleen Witterschein are the No. 2 seed, while Tahoe’s Jenny Bentley and Joyce Youngs are the third-seeded team and Gayle Hensley and Mary Weaver are the fourth-seeded team. Hixenbaugh has won this tournament with different partners on four occasions.

“We’ve played them (the defending champs) and beat them in straight sets,” said Hixenbaugh, alluding to the tournament three years ago when her and Smaine won the title. “I think there are some other women that are pretty good. We don’t really worry about who we are playing. We just play the best we can.”

In the mixed ‘A’ division, South Shore’s Ryan Johnston and Smaine are the top seed and South Tahoe High School boys’ tennis coach Kyle Horvath and Jenny Bentley enter as the No. 2 seed. San Diego’s Dave and Libby Jaehnig are the No. 3 seed.

“Kyle is stylish player with a wicked backhand and the lefty Bentley has the fighting spirit and stubbornness of any female at the lake,” Herschman said. “Ryan, though, puts fear into all of our hearts with his monstrous top-spin groundies.”

In the mixed ‘B’ division, North Shore’s Ken Hotchkiss and South Shore’s Youngs will be the No. 1 seed. The North Shore’s husband-wife team of Greg and Sue Beaumont is the No. 2 seed and South Shore’s Lane Hazum and Karla Johnston are the No. 3 seed.

Twenty teams will compete in the men’s ‘B’ division, which is highlighted by top-seeded duo made up of South Shore’s Bob Buetenmiller and James Tenbroek. Former champions Rick Beberg and Dave Nelson are the No. 2 seed and Ray Fugitt and Hazum are the No. 3 seed. Mill Valley’s Glen Hubbard, whose serve has been clocked at 124 mph according to Herschman, and John Nelson are the fourth seed.

Mark Peterson and Randy Houston, which made it to the men’s ‘A’ division semifinals in 2005, are the two-time defending century division champions and this year’s top seed. Andy Webb, which made it to the men’s ‘A’ division finals last year, is teaming up with Scott Borowiak and enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed. San Diego’s Mike LaCaze and Toby McFarlane are the No. 3 seed.

“The players in the century division and the men’s ‘A’ division intermix, and it’s hard to distinguish the difference,” Herschman said. “Mark and Randy will be hard-pressed by Andy Webb and new partner Scott Borowiak.”

Defending super century division champion Herschman and partner Butch Stillman enter this year’s tournament as the No. 2 seed. The top seed belongs to Ken Robinson and David Lee. Brothers Andy and George Shackleford are the No. 3 seed and Beberg and Nelson are the No. 4 seed.

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