3 in a row: Tipton Lakes instructor rolls to another crown

BY JAMES PENCE | For The Republic

Tipton Lakes Athletic Club tennis teaching instructor Michael Blevins took complete control in the men’s open singles city tournament finals against Columbus North graduate Anthony Sanders on Wednesday night.

It only took an hour for Blevins to put away the match 6-1, 6-1 to win his third consecutive city title.

“It’s been pretty fun doing this and to win three years in a row,” Blevins said. “I know the competition that it is, and we’ll see if I can come back and do it again next year.”

In the women’s open doubles finals, Susan Barker and Dana Scott captured the first set 6-2. Bev China and Karen Day, however, stormed back to claim the second set 6-4. Barker and Scott pulled through in the third set 6-4 to claim the championship.

Another three set match happened in the mixed doubles championship match. Yijiang and Joey Zhao won the first set 7-5. The father-daughter duo of Jody and Paige Littrell came back to capture the second set 6-3. The Zhaos took control from there to win the third set 6-1.

Michael and Alex Pegram won the men’s B doubles championship against Clarence Hamilton and Pete Khensouri 6-2, 6-2.

Prem Jha won the championship in men’s B singles against Benjamin Meyers 6-2, 6-0.

Hugh Cunningham was crowned the men’s C singles champion by downing Lou Jorgensen 6-0, 6-2.

The most competitive match in at the men’s open doubles championship match. Columbus East graduate Matt Furnish teamed with Blevins, and Sanders was partnered with his former teammate at North in Rahul Jha.

Furnish and Blevins took the first set 7-5, but Sanders and Jha fought back to get the second set 6-3. It was deadlocked for most of the third set, but Furnish and Blevins broke through to win 7-5.

Furnish said this was the first time he and Blevins have been paired together in a tournament.

“It’s been fun playing with (Blevins),” Furnish said. “We talked about doing it after he won last year. We have been wanting to play with each other, and it ended up happening, which was a lot of fun.”

Furnish added that he was in for a tough match against Sanders and Jha, who Furnish was familiar with during their time as rivals in high school.

“My service game was a little shaky, and with Michael being at the net, all I had to do was get it in,” Furnish said. “It helped, and I knew I just had to keep the ball in the whole time.”