Passing the test
Williams rallies to advance to girls 14-under singles final at Taco Bell tourney
Mary Williams was challenged and she answered.
The 13-year-old from Aspen rallied to defeat Isabel Manzanares 4-6, 6-2, (10-7) on Tuesday in the girls 14-under singles draw of the 56th annual Taco Bell Western Slope Open at the Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University.
“I get really nervous before my matches,” Williams said. “I started to dink it to her.”
Williams missed a lot of shots long in the first set, but she adjusted and started hitting the ball short. It paid off.
Williams won five consecutive points in the tiebreaker to take a 7-2 lead and held on for the victory.
She will have an opportunity to defend the 14-under singles title she won last year.
Her family has traveled to Grand Junction for the tournament for four consecutive years.
Williams reached the finals of the 12-under last year, but lost to the same player she beat for the 14-under title. Williams also won the mixed doubles 12-under title last year with her brother, Charles.
Mary Williams plays Julianna Campos for the 14-under title today.
Although Manzanares lost, she proved she improved enormously on the tennis court in the past year.
Williams defeated Manzanares 6-0, 6-0 last year at Taco Bell.
“I love sports,” Manzanares said. “I stopped doing soccer. I needed something else to do, so I tried tennis and I really like it.”
The 14-year-old will be a freshman this fall at Grand Junction High School.
“I’m looking forward to high school tennis,” Manzanares said. “There are a lot more girls to play.”
She is taking lessons this summer at the Bookcliff Country Club, but is the only girl in her age group.
Olivia Tarmina won the girls 10-under singles title with an 8-1 pro-set victory over Anya Ritchie.
In the boys 10-under singles division, Chase Kelly and Charles Williams advanced to the championship final with wins in Tuesday’s semifinals.
The pickleball 3.0 mixed doubles division played Tuesday. A total of 15 doubles teams competed. Cory Elliott and Cindy Marino won a rematch with top seed Larry Gallagher and Nikki Schmalz to win the title. The 2.5 doubles division played Monday and the 3.5 division plays today.
This is the first year pickleball was part of the Taco Bell Western Slope Open.