Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 9, 2013

Walker looks to keep grip on Open title

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

ASHLAND — Patrick Walker will try to make it eight straight Men’s Open singles tities at the Michelob Light Ashland City Championships.

Play begins today at 5 p.m. at the Ashland Tennis Center.

The 27th annual event has more than 100 entries in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, according to ATC director Jerry Groce.  

Walker, a 27-year-old teaching pro in Charleston, W.Va., won his first Ashland City title at age 20 and hasn’t looked back.

Walker, from Huntington, formerly taught tennis lessons at Bellefonte Country Club.

Two weeks ago, Walker came up short in his bid to win the Charleston Public Courts Men’s Open championship for the seventh time. Former West Virginia University player James Kent, 34, outlasted Walker 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the final to capture the top spot for a record eighth time.

Seven other players are entered in the Men’s Open division this weekend. All four quarterfinal matches are scheduled for tonight: Walker vs. Robby Krick; No. 2 seed Fernando Pavez vs. Will Frye; Luke Vincent vs. Robby Berry; and Jamie Sellars vs. Brian Delcotto.   

Wheelersburg’s Chad Pierron, runner-up to Walker the past two years, and Pavez are the No. 1 seed in Men’s Open doubles, which has four teams.

Pierron and Pavez open against John Khoury and Nick Nelson, while Tom Collins and Brian Delcotto are matched with Krick and Vincent.

Women’s Open Doubles also has four teams. High school region singles runner-up Lauren Fazenbaker of Ashland and partner Alyson Johnson will meet Alison Christie and Sue Ellen Hardman, while Jeannie Lacock and Peggy Thirion go up against Maci Ferguson and Kierstin Hensley — the 16th Region champs from Russell High School.

All four Men’s and Women’s Open Doubles semifinals are scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

A cookout for players and their families begins at noon Saturday. Most finals are set for Sunday.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.