The women’s open singles final of the Western Slope Open didn’t feature too large of an age gap, but it did present a gap in tennis experience for both players.
Alexandra Leatu, originally from Littleton, played college tennis at Vanderbilt University before transferring to Baylor University to finish her career. She then embarked on her coaching journey, which has led her to Atlanta, where she leads the women’s tennis program at Georgia State University.
Her opponent, Sarah Fleming, a former Fruita Monument High School star, plays for Occidental College in Los Angeles.
It’s been a while since Leatu played in a competitive match against someone younger than her, but she used Sunday morning’s final to get back into the rhythm she had in college from 2010-2013.
The match went to tiebreakers, but Leatu’s experience helped win the day in a 6-2, 4-6, 10-8 victory at Elliott Tennis Center at Colorado Mesa University. The back-and-forth affair lasted more than an hour and a half.
“It was really competitive,” Leatu said. “It was fun to play a match against a successful college player. It was nice to compete with someone that age. It’s been so long since I’ve played in a match like that.”
Despite originally being from the Centennial State, this year was Leatu’s first-ever appearance in the Western Slope Open.
She was encouraged to participate by the Shields family, which has been competing in the event since the late 1980s because of the family’s connections to the Elliotts.
“The Shields family said, ‘Hey, come out and play,’ ” Leatu said. She did just that, and she’ll be taking the top prize in women’s solo competitions home with her to Georgia.
She was impressed by the quality of the tournament, so much so that she may end up competing again in coming years.
“I think it was fantastic,” Leatu said. “This is a really well-run tournament. The environment’s really fun and everyone’s friendly. The tennis is great, too.”
The men’s single’s open title went to Steven Howe, a junior on Colorado Mesa’s tennis team He defeated former Maverick teammate Alain De La Bastide in tiebreakers by a score of 6-3, 4-6, 10-5.
Julianna and Carolena Campos, soon to be teammates for Colorado Mesa, took home the women’s open doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Fleming and Isabel Manzanares. The men’s open doubles went to Daniel MacDonald and one of the Shields who invited Leatu, Luke Shields, the head coach for the men’s program at Fresno State University. They won 6-1, 6-4 over Lucas Martin and De La Bastide.
In women’s 6.0 doubles, Ramona McKenzie and Laura Mourning took first place, followed by Hannah Bou-Matar and Maggie Coleman. The 7.0 doubles went to Kathy Den and Jennifer Watson, who defeated Susan and Sarah Erb 6-1, 6-3. In 8.5 doubles, Denise and Julie Faber defeated Kathy Elliott and Debbie Pruess 6-3, 6-3.
On the men’s side, the 7.0 doubles were won by John Hanna and Mike Mahoney, who beat Shane Chatfield and Paul Knipping 6-3, 7-5. The 8.0 doubles went to Evan Wilson and Brian Wright after they defeated Jim Aragon and Andrew Limbach 6-3, 7-6.
Some youth finals were played at Canyon View park Sunday morning, as well.
In the boys 18-16 Australian singles final, Matthew Silzell won 6-3, 6-4 over August Pomrenke. The girls’ competition went to Abby Deeths after a 6-3, 6-2 win over Sarah O’Day.
The boys 14-12 U.S. singles title went to Nikolas Miller, who defeated Elijah Wright 6-1, 6-2. The girls title went to Abby Kearl, who won 6-2, 6-4 over Sami MacDonald.
The boys 18-16 Wimbledon singles title was win by Christian Tuttle. Tuttle defeated Bailey Rubinstein 6-2, 6-7, 10-8.