Playing in two age divisions at Taco Bell Open keeps Ryan Hautzinger busy
By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH
It was only the first day and Ryan Hautzinger already had a match conflict.
The Grand Junction 15-year-old finished a three-set marathon in the Taco Bell Western Slope Open tennis tournament and had another match scheduled to begin before the three-setter finished.
By the end of the day, he had played four matches in two age divisions.
Today could be worse with a third event getting under way in the annual tennis tournament.
“It’s real fun, but I’ve only done two matches today and I’ve got two more and tomorrow I’ve got doubles as well,” Hautzinger said. “It’s going to be rough. I’m playing four straight days of tennis.
If I win, it will be five.”
He won his first two matches in the boys 16-under singles draw to advance to today’s quarterfinal round. Both of those wins came in straight sets.
He wasn’t as fortunate in the 18-under singles draw, losing a three-set match in the first round to Tyler Betz of Montrose, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“I thought I’ll probably get more energized with this 10-minute break (after the second set), but it didn’t happen,” Hautzinger said.
Tournament directors are giving players the option of playing a 10-point tiebreak instead of a third set, in part, because of the heat. The boys opted for the full tiebreaker.
Hautzinger may rethink that strategy for the rest of the tournament. He could have as many as five matches today, but he wanted to play more tennis after narrowly missing a spot on the Fruita Monument High School varsity team last year.
Practice for the high school season begins in mid-August, and Hautzinger wants to be ready.
“It will be fun,” the junior-to-be said. “That’s been my whole sports goal. I’d like to make it to state, too.”
In addition to playing in the boys 16 singles and 18 singles divisions, he is playing in the 16 doubles and the father/son doubles with his dad, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger.
“That will be interesting,” the younger Hautzinger said. “He’s basically crippled. He’s had lot of knee surgeries.
“I played with my mom last year. That was OK, but we lost, so I thought we’ve got to do better.
He said, ‘OK, as long as I can stay in one spot and you go get the rest.’
“I don’t know about it now. It sounded good at the beginning.”