Long overdue, Dan MacDonald gets his Taco Bell title
He’s always been one of the favorites to win the Taco Bell Western Slope Open men’s open singles title, but he hasn’t.
Dan MacDonald has played in the annual tennis tournament since 1990 and won the men’s open singles title for the first time Sunday at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University.
MacDonald, 47, of Grand Junction defeated long-time local rival Jerry Lockwood 6-3, 6-2.
“I think this is my 20th Taco Bell and third finals so I was due,” MacDonald said. “I’ve been playing well all week.
“I told him you won enough of these already. He owed me one. It’s good to win one of these after all these years.”
Lockwood, 45, has won five men’s open singles titles in the same 20-year span. He defeated MacDonald in the 2008 final.
“He simply outplayed me,” said Lockwood of Sunday’s final. “I’m not all that together upset because he’s been a huge asset for tennis around here for years. He deserves one of these.”
MacDonald has given thousands of lessons to juniors and adults through the years and is the Colorado Mesa University tennis coach.
MacDonald admitted that helps keep him sharp.
“He’s normally known for good volleys, but he had his passing shots working today,” Lockwood said. “He’s around the game a lot more than I am. He’s stayed in pretty good shape to his credit.”
Lockwood broke MacDonald’s serve to open the match, but MacDonald’s game picked up as the match progressed.
MacDonald got the match back on serve then took a 5-3 lead in the first set with a second break of Lockwood’s serve. MacDonald had three passing shots for winners in the game then held serve to close out the first set.
“I know he loves to come in, so I wasn’t over hitting my returns,” he said. “I was trying two-pass tennis where you hit the first ball low and pass on the second shot. I chipped low, trying to get him to volley up so I could pass him.
“I knew he was going to try to attack my backhand. I’ve been working on that all week and stay down through the ball on my passing shot.”
MacDonald jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and never looked back. MacDonald and Brason Hollabaugh, 21, won the men’s open doubles title. They defeated Brandon Gregg and David Smith 4-6, 6-3, (10-7).
Women’s Open: Aimee Basinski won her first women’s open singles title, defeating Wendy Littge 6-3, 6-1.
“It’s different playing women because there’s more strategy and they stay calm easier,” Basinski said. “I had to focus more on my game instead of breaking down their game.”
Basinski, 17, of Grand Junction won the girls 18-under singles title on Thursday.
“I had to be more patient with myself,” Basinski said. “I had to make sure I was getting my balls in, hitting more spin to make me more consistent.”
“It was definitely the most competition I’ve had in a while,” Basinski said. “It felt good to play tougher matches. It was fun.”
Basinski is excited for her senior season at Central High School, but will have to wait until the spring. Until then, she will play in three more tournaments this summer before school starts. Littge, 46, is from Simi Valley, Calif. She came to Grand Junction to visit her boyfriend’s parents.
Worth the wait: Sam Meyer had three matches scheduled for the final day. He lost the first two in the third-set 10-point tiebreaker then had to sit and wait through a rain delay.
His third match, the men’s 4.0 doubles final was scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m., but didn’t start until 2. It went to a third set, 10-point tiebreaker. This time, Meyer and his doubles partner, Bart Dixon, won 3-6, 7-5, (10-8) over Dave Proietti and Dylan Proietti.
Sportsmanship Award: The tournament committee gave out a sportsmanship award to Nancy Burford.
Burford had entered one event, but happily agreed to play in two other events.
Burford played in the 4.5 women’s doubles, 4.5 mixed doubles and the open singles divisions.