GJ’s Ness can’t match Antonsen in state semis

Daniel Ness, of Grand Junction, plays in a #2 singles match on Friday at Gates Tennis Center in Denver.  For more photos of tennis, go to http://www.dailycamera.com. Cliff Grassmick / October 11, 2013

DENVER — It simply was not Daniel Ness’s day.

The No. 2 singles player on the Grand Junction boys tennis team was thwarted in his attempt Friday to reach the championship match in his flight at the Class 5A state tennis championships.

More accurately, he ran into a buzz saw.

Mountain Vista’s Ben Antonsen was methodical in his 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Ness in Friday’s semifinal.

“I didn’t feel like I played bad,” Ness said. “He was playing really well.”

That’s an accurate description as Antonsen consistently hit hard returns against the Tiger senior’s strong serve and hit winners inside the sidelines and the baseline.

The two had met earlier this season in the Western Slope Open in Grand Junction, with Antonsen winning 6-4, 6-3.

“He’s really a solid baseliner, and he’s also got a really big serve,” Antonsen said of what he expected against Ness.

Ness delivered, but it wasn’t enough against Antonsen, who seems to be hitting his peak at just the right point in the season.

Both players attacked from the outset.

“I usually try to play that way,” Antonsen said of his match strategy.

“(With) a player as good as Ben, you can’t sit back and let him dictate,” Ness said.

It seemed like no matter what Ness tried to counter, Antonsen was in control.

“Ben today, he didn’t miss,” Ness said.

Ness bounced back in the afternoon playback round to defeat Dave Rosencrans of Legacy 6-2, 7-6 (7-6) and advance to this morning’s third-place match at the Gates Tennis Center.

State tennis is often the luck of the draw. Unfortunately for Western Slope participants, only two were lucky enough to earn a spot in the playback rounds.

Fruita Monument’s No. 3 doubles team of Colton Reimer and Sam Graf won one match Friday, defeating Legacy’s Austin Cole and Sam Karlson 6-1, 6-3 in the opening playback round.

The Wildcats then lost to Fairview’s Roger Nichols and Devin Harper 6-1, 6-4 and were eliminated from medal contention.


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