Women’s team does it again in Classic form
Trailing 4-1 in the first set, Vonia Apodoca and Linda Hixenbaugh made two breaks in the first set and four in the second to defend their Women’s A doubles title Sunday in the 20th annual Tahoe Classic Tennis Tournament at Zephyr Cove Park.
Apodoca, 21, from Reno, also made history by becoming the first woman to compete in the Men’s A Doubles Division.
After she claimed the Mixed A Division title in 2001 with former tennis professional Glen Grissillo — in addition to the Women’s A-division title — tournament director Hersh Herschman allowed the junior tennis star at the University of Nevada to choose between competing in the mixed or the men’s division in 2002.
She chose the men’s division, and played with Grissillo until their second-round loss (4-6, 6-3, 5-7) to K.C. Jackson and Rick Taylor.
Apodoca and Hixenbaugh defeated South Lake Tahoe resident Kim Schlagel and Dianna Henderson of Sacramento 6-4, 6-1 to take the women’s title. Both Schlagel and Henderson recently finished playing tennis at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and Cal State-Bakersfield, respectively.
“Playing against all these college players I had to adjust the pace,” said Hixenbaugh, a former Carson High tennis coach and South Shore resident.
Apodoca, who has an athletic scholarship to play tennis for UNR, said she and Hixenbaugh made errors in the beginning, trying to step up the level of play. Overaggressiveness cost them a few games, until gaining a comfortable pace trailing 4-2.
From there, the two mounted a comeback charge that never ceased. They lost only three more games, and only one break point in the second set. Apodoca made all her serves and frequently connected with baseline lobs after volleying at the net for points.
“We didn’t play very well. We missed important vollies,” Henderson said. “On a different day it could have been a different story.”
But, she conceded, Apodoca is playing the level of tennis they saw when at school, but not since.
In the men’s A division, the Reno team of Dan Ott and Rob Medeiros uprooted last year’s champion Cal Waite, of South Lake Tahoe, who played this year with first-time partner Scott Borowiak of Stockton.
Ott and Medeiros, who won Lakeridge last year and the Reno/Tahoe Open in 2000, defeated the hometown favorites 6-4, 6-4 to take their first Men’s A Tahoe Classic title.
Ott and Medeiros, who have been playing together since 1999, won breaks in each set. Many came from serves and returns, which is where Borowiak said he felt he could have improved.
“I missed a couple of serves and didn’t serve that well,” he said.
Waite said their opponents were clearly more comfortable with each other than he and Borowiak, and that the field had better players this year than last.
South Lake Tahoe residents Ryan Johnston and Vanessa Smaine upset Reno players Grissillo and Allison Kittching 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win the Mixed A Division.
Phil Youngs and his wife, Joyce, defeated fellow South Lake Tahoe residents Andy Veris and Barbara Cooper 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 for the Mixed B title.
And Indian Wells’ Jim Berry and Ron Liss of San Rafael, Calif.,, defeated Reno’s Buzz Harris and Tim Lyons of Palm Desert, Calif., 6-3, 6-2 for the Men’s B title.
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