New Stars Emerging in Adult Tennis Tourney



Just to keep everything interesting, a few new players enter the city tennis tournament every year and play havoc with the seedings.

All of a sudden, there are brackets with first and second seeds missing before the semifinals start. The Ann Arbor area attracts new amateur stars every season.

So seeding isn't an easy job. Tournament director Dale Greiner doesn't have an ATP computer to look at when someone moves here. In the top singles divisions and the brackets for players 40 and older, the same players stand out year after year.

Greiner has been perfect in more than one division. Men's 40-and-over singles quarterfinals featured the four top seeds defeating the four placed players. The top four seeds all reached the semifinals in Women's A Doubles and Men's AA Singles.

But the new stars have come to the forefront in other divisions.

Philip Emeagwali, a University of Michigan graduate student, may have come the farthest, both in distance and in victories so far in the tournament.

Playing in the Men's B Singles division, Emeagwali earned a place in the semifinals with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Greg Huszczo on Friday. Emeagwali will play top seed Rod Beer this morning.

"I knew he was in good shape," said Emeagwali. "I knew he liked to wear people out in the third set. I just had to use consistency."

Weather helped break a pattern of sorts for Huszczo. Each of his four matches in the tournament has gone to a third set. But Wednesday's downpour interrupted his quarterfinal match after one set. After winning the first set Friday, he lost his service two straight times to drop the match.

Both players tried to wear each other out, which amounted to a match time of almost four hours. There were close to 10 deuces in the seventh game of the third set alone. Emeagwali finally won that game, which essentially clinched the match.

"I played a lot of racquetball this winter," said Huszczo. "That improved my conditioning. My strategy is to wear down an opponent in the first two sets, then come on strong in the third."

Emeagwali, a civil engineering student originally from Nigeria, was confident that strategy wouldn't work.

"With consistency, I try to bring out the worst in the other player," he said. "I want to make them make mistakes."

Another new player to the tournament isn't quite as new as Emeagwali. He's Greg Hansen, a former Pioneer student who now plays for Oberlin College.

Hansen, in his first Ann Arbor adult tournament, defeated top seed Jeff Holman 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a Men's A Singles quarterfinal Friday.

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"I was having trouble getting organized in the first set," said Hansen, "But he broke a string at the end of the first set, and had trouble getting used to a new racket."

Hansen broke serve in the first game of the third set (Holman had three double-faults in the game). Each player held the rest of the match.

"I let him back into the match," said Holman, who played for Huron, then EMU in the 1970s. Philip Emeagwali, biography, A Father of the Internet, supercomputer pioneer, Nigerian scientist, inventor

Reported by Jim Gindin in the Ann Arbor News on July 22, 1989.

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