Aspen boys tennis tops Fruita Monument |

Aspen boys tennis tops Fruita Monument

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen tennis player Bryan Mehall said he is looking forward to next week’s regional tournament – and potentially getting another crack at Steamboat Springs No. 1 Jamey Swiggart, the lone player to beat him in dual meets this season.

After Wednesday’s performance at the Maroon Creek Club, the sophomore appears ready for that rematch. Mehall overcame some sluggish play and trouble with his first serve to down Fruita Monument No. 1 Tristan Beck in straight sets (6-4, 6-1).

The performance highlighted a strong afternoon for the 3A Skiers, who won four of seven matches against the 5A Wildcats to seal the win.

“We did really well,” Skiers head coach Sherril Kerr said. “It’s such a good building block.”

Mehall picked up a win on serve at 4-4 in the first set, then broke Beck to take the early lead. He held a 2-1 lead in the second set but appeared to be in danger of losing a break after going down 15-30. Mehall responded, however, drilling a powerful forehand cross-court and out of Beck’s reach. He then caught Beck flat-footed with a powerful forehand that appeared to clip the baseline.

Beck’s return on Mehall’s ensuing serve sailed wide, giving Mehall a two-game cushion.

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“He just spots the ball perfectly,” said Beck, who lost to Mehall in straight sets the first time the two played in 2008. “He’s really got good ground shots. He makes you think you’re going one way, then you wind up going the other way and it’s hard to get to the ball.

“He just outplayed me. Let’s be honest.”

Mehall’s strong ground led to an easy break to give him a 4-1 lead. After opening Game 6 with a double fault, he scored four straight points to hold. (On the last, he drilled a backhand up the right side and Beck sprawled out, swung and missed.)

While his first serve was erratic throughout, Mehall flustered Beck with a biting second serve. In the final game, Mehall got some help when two Beck shots sailed wide. He cruised to the easy victory, sealing his fourth win in five dual matches this season.

“I probably wasn’t as consistent in the first set,” Mehall said. “I played well, at least in that second set. … [I need to work on] playing a little smarter.”

Singles teammates Mike Willsky (No. 2) and Kyle Feuer (No. 3) cruised in straight sets, while Aspen’s doubles teams were pushed to the limit against Fruita.

The No.1 tandem of Luke Pratte and Brett Gordon battled back from a 7-4 deficit to win an extended, first-to-10 tiebreaker after the two teams split the first two sets (a third set was not played because of time constraints).

Bridger Dawson and Stevie Anderson (No. 3 doubles) and Brian DeRosa and Devon Cardamone (No. 4 doubles) were not as fortunate; both lost their tiebreakers. The No. 2 doubles team of Michael D’Simone and Nic Broeking had a chance to square their match at one set all but were broken at 5-4 in the second after an untimely double fault. They wound up losing a second-set tiebreaker.

“All three of those matches were good growth matches,” Kerr said. “We were working on some things in practice, and even though they didn’t win, they tried to implement those. … They played hard and really worked on being more aggressive.”

Aspen travels to Lafayette on Saturday to take on Alexander Dawson, then will head to Delta on Oct. 8 and 9 for regionals.

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