Gophers tennis players got the chance to play in a US Open qualifying event this past weekend at the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Baseline Tennis Center, and Baseline Director John Pratt was satisfied with the outcome.
âÄúIt turned out to be just a fantastic tournament,âÄù Pratt said. âÄúFive of the eight finalists on Sunday were Gophers or had Minnesota connections so it turned out to be a great showing for us and I think a great showing for the University.âÄù
Two of those finalists will be moving on in the qualifying tournament. Former Gophers tennis player Erik Donley and current womenâÄôs volunteer assistant coach Imke Reimers were victorious in the mixed doubles draw, and will move on to the US Open National Playoffs in August at Yale University.
Donley and Reimers defeated the tandem of former Gophers Tobias Wernet and Dana Young, the wife of current menâÄôs head coach Geoff Young in the final, 6-2, 7-5.
Other athletes with Gopher ties competed in the tournament as well.
Incoming freshman Aria Lambert fell short in the finals of the womenâÄôs draw, losing to former LSU All-American Megan Falcon 6-4, 6-0.
Lambert moved past first round opponent Ty Ana Williams to set up a quarterfinal match with future Gopher Julia Courter.
Lambert defeated her future teammate in a three-set battle in which Courter retired in the third set due to injury.
Her win set up a semifinal showdown with Minnesota assistant coach Daria Panova, which Lambert won easily 6-1, 6-1 to secure a spot in the final against Falcon.
The 25-year-old Falcon, a former Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 1 ranked player, had little trouble with the 18-year-old Lambert, winning 6-4, 6-0 to claim the championship.
The menâÄôs draw featured Wernet and current Minnesota player Phillip Arndt.
Both players advanced to the quarterfinals but lost once there.
Wernet matched up against Tony Larson, a native of Alexandria Minn., and was defeated 6-4, 6-3. Arndt squared off against current Ohio State menâÄôs player Nelson Vick, and was also defeated 7-5, 6-2.
Larson went on to play Vick in the finals, claiming the championship with a straight set victory 6-2, 6-4.
âÄúWe had a nice turnout for all three days of the tournament,âÄù Pratt added. âÄúNot only did we have fans and people interested, but we had players from the other age divisions watching the event.âÄù
Pratt said he hopes Baseline will continue to host similar events in the future.
âÄúI think that weâÄôre going to continue to [host events]. As long as theyâÄôre willing to have us âÄ¦ I think theyâÄôll be back.âÄù