Age advantage

Lockwood wins 6th Taco Bell men's title

Kristyn Wykert won the Taco Bell Western Slope Open women’s open singles finals Saturday over Sarah Fleming 6-4, 7-5.

Jerry Lockwood won the Taco Bell Western Slope Open men’s open singles finals 6-4, 6-0 over Dan MacDonald Saturday afternoon at the Elliott Tennis Center.

The old guys beat the young guys and the younger old guy beat the oldest guy.

That’s how the men’s open singles finals at the Taco Bell Western Slope Open tennis tournament finished up on Saturday.

Jerry Lockwood powered to a 6-4, 6-0 win over Dan MacDonald at the Elliott Tennis Center to claim his sixth title.

Lockwood, at 47, and MacDonald, at 49, had to battle their way through some talented youngsters to earn well-deserved spots in the finals.

“It was a little tough but I’ve been playing all these young guys up to this point so, as good as Dan is, I have to admit, it was good to see somebody my own age on the other side to he court,” Lockwood said.

The men’s open title for Lockwood was his first since 2008 and 24 years after his first one.

His sixth title, the most in tournament history, was in jeopardy back in an ultra-tough quarterfinal match against 18-year-old Mark Marini on Friday.

Lockwood survived three match points to finally subdue Marini 4-6, 7-5, 10-6.

“He was really tough, maybe he toughened me up for the finals,” Lockwood said.

Lockwood’s veteran experience again paid off in his 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) win in the semifinals against 23-year-old Andres Hernandez.

“Everyone says I’m supposed to have all this wisdom and experience,” Lockwood said with a laugh.

The tournament’s format changed slightly this year and the open singles semifinals were played just before the finals on Saturday morning.

With not a lot of rest between matches, it might have taken a toll on MacDonald, who is the Colorado Mesa University tennis coach.

“I got a little tired but he totally deserved to win,” MacDonald said. “I could feel myself laboring a little bit in the semifinal match. But I thought I came out with some pretty good energy in the first set of the finals. I knew the first set was going to be the key. But I struggled a little bit with my serve and he returned well and I couldn’t get in on his serve and couldn’t find a rhythm.”

Lockwood said the key was to keep his opponent from getting to the net.

“I felt like I felt better physically than him,” he said. “I kind of sensed he was a step slow and I jumped on it. I wanted to beat him to the net because he’s so good at the net.”

Using a strong serve and brisk passing shots, Lockwood methodically dominated the second set.

“I tried to keep competing but my legs just seemed to start getting heavy,” MacDonald said. “I just got a little bit tired. I had a good tournament and I got to the finals. I just wish I would have competed a little better.”

Lockwood said he’s battled injuries over the past few years so it was nice to come into the Western Slope Open healthy.

“I’ve had a really good year staying uninjured,” he said.

With a pesky sciatica nerve tormenting his back, Lockwood said it was difficult to compete, but he couldn’t just stop playing tennis.

“I also bowl, and when I went to the doctor, he said the three things you don’t want to do for a bad back is tennis, bowling and golf. So I promised him I wouldn’t golf,” he said grinning.

After beating Lockwood the past few years during the Western Slope Open, MacDonald thought he might be in trouble this time.

“I think he was due to get me, I could tell he was ready to go today,” he said.

MacDonald, who has been in the finals three straight years, now has four second-place finishes. He said it gets a little irritating settling for second but he did win the title in 2012.

“I got one, so that’s good,” he said smiling.

Both MacDonald and Lockwood admitted that it’s pretty satisfying to beat the young guys.

MacDonald beat Fruita Monument senior Matt Harris in the semifinals 6-3, 6-2.

Now that he has six singles titles, Lockwood plans to be back next year to defend his title.

There will undoubtedly be some next generation guys looking to knock off the old guys.

But for 2014, the old guys were better than the young guys.

Wykert wins women’s singles

CMU senior Kristyn Wykert used her experience and a solid all-around game to claim women’s open singles title.

Playing 14-year-old Sarah Fleming, who will be a freshman at Fruita Monument in the fall, Wykert won 6-4, 7-5.

Wykert rallied from 5-4 down in the second set to take the next three games to secure the match.

“I just tried to stay consistent and keep the ball in play,” Wykert said,

In the first set, the CMU player came to the net to score some major points off volleys after Fleming had taken an early lead.

“Sarah is such a phenomenal player and what I was doing wasn’t working, so I thought I might as well come in for some volleys,” she said.

After a series of unforced errors, Fleming settled down to take the 5-4 lead in the second set.

“I just told myself to relax and go for it,” she said.

But Wykert grabbed the momentum back and claimed the match.

She admitted there was some added pressure facing such a young player in a match most thought she should win.

“There’s always that mental aspect of playing a high school player but I have a lot of respect for Sarah, she’s going to go far,” Wykert said.


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