Lima returns to GJ, captures Taco Bell title

Pedro Lima played tennis at Fruita Monument in 2007-08, and Saturday, the foreign exchange student from Brazil won the 4.0 singles title at the Taco Bell Western Slope Open.



By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH
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Pedro Lima lived in the Grand Valley for only one year, but he was excited to be back.

The former foreign exchange student from Brazil came back to visit his host family this summer and played in his first Taco Bell Western Slope Open this week.

“My dad and I talked about coming to visit,” Lima said. “He thought it would be a good idea to keep in contact and keep my English fluent.”

The 18-year-old hasn’t played much tennis since his junior year (2007-08) when he was Fruita Monument High School’s No. 1 singles player, but he found enough of his game to win the men’s 4.0 singles title Saturday. Lima defeated last year’s champion Jeff Weinberg of Grand Junction when Weinberg had to retire because of an injury in the midst of a third-set rally. Lima won 4-6, 7-5, 5-4 at Canyon View Park.

“It was a hard match,” Lima said. “He would change his shots. We had some long points.

Both of us were tired by the end.”

The tournament was a little nerve-racking for Lima since he didn’t know any of his opponents.

“I didn’t know who was playing or how hard it would be,” Lima said. “I had to figure out my opponents as I went along.”

Lima, who turns 19 next week, was invited to visit for the summer by his host family. He is currently on semester break from Campinas College in Campinas, Brazil, about one hour from Sao Paulo.

Lima arrived a couple weeks ago and leaves for home next week.

When he arrived, one of the first things he did was register for the tournament.

“I heard about the Taco Bell tournament when I played at Fruita,” Lima said. “I talked to my coaches, Randy Majors and Clint Davis, and asked them if I could play in it.

“I went to Taco Bell and asked for an entry form.”

Lima has spent time visiting friends he made at Fruita Monument and a weekend at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.

“It was good,” he said. “The year I was here, I got involved. I’m excited to see friends again.”

The men’s open singles final is set with a long-time champion meeting a first-time open singles player at 9:15 a.m. today at Canyon View Park.

Jerry Lockwood, a five-time open champion, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over long-time friend and rival Tim Wright in one semifinal.

The 42-year-old Lockwood, from Grand Junction, faces Kevin Harris of Chico, Calif., who is playing in his first Western Slope Open in more than 12 years. Harris first played in the tournament when his family came out to visit family and he decided to play in the
tournament.

Harris, 29, defeated Mesa State College coach Dan MacDonald 6-2, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

“My cousin (Anton Muller) and I wanted to do a road trip so we decided to come out and visit our cousins (the Hughes family) here,” Harris said. “It just so happened we came out the same time as the tournament.

“I’m happy to be in the finals. I haven’t played much this summer. Dan was tough. He hit so many aces. I was lucky to get a few breaks here and there.”

In other men’s singles events, Eric Pye of Vernal won the men’s 4.5 singles title, Evan Wilson won the men’s 3.5 singles title and Larry Lamette won the men’s 3.0 singles title in his first tournament.


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