Hammers battles, Western falls

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Hammers battles, Western falls

Joshnua Gleason courier staff

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Chris Kane called Sunday’s contest against Missouri-Kansas City a “big match.”

The match was the Western Illinois men’s tennis team’s final meet of the season and the deciding factor of whether or not they would enter the Summit League Championships.      While the Leathernecks ultimately fell 7-0, Western No. 1 singles player Patrick Hammers and UMKC’s Grant Fleming delivered a back and forth affair.

On a chilly, windy day for tennis, UMKC’s No. 1 singles player, junior Grant Fleming improved to 5-0 in conference play, defeating junior Patrick Hammers 1-6, 6-4 and 10-1.

The Leathernecks now end the season 4-15 overall and 1-4 in Summit League play.

Hammers, who dropped to 3-2 in conference, led early. Hammers picked up three break points in the first set and appeared to have Fleming frustrated.

Fleming didn’t hide his early anger, constantly voicing his displeasure. During the fourth game in the first set, Fleming whiffed on a Hammers return and yelled “these are awful,” in reference to the lines on the court.

Hammers described the conditions as “tough” afterwards with the wind blowing and said that Fleming “was overall frustrated” early in the match.

Hammers was in cruise control early, even whistling on his way to his seat after taking a 4-1 lead in the first set.

The beginning of the second set was a turning point in the match, as Fleming broke Hammers for the first, and was the only match with a tiebreaker. Fleming picked up some momentum with that victory, winning the second game decisively.

Hammers was in control of the service game in the first set but Fleming “figured it out,” according to Hammers. Fleming dominated the service game for the rest of the match.

After Fleming escaped the second set with the 6-4 victory, his confidence was peaking. Fleming went on to dominate in the 10-point tiebreaker, 10-1.

This was an evenly matched tilt, but the shift in control of the service game proved vital. Hammers, who at one time picked up the point on 10 of 13 second serves, finished 11 of 22. Fleming struggled early with his first serve, but wound up picking up the point on 30 of 44 first serves that were in play. Hammers had the lone double fault of the match.

Hammers was noticeably upset after dropping a match against Fleming.

“(Fleming’s) a good player,” Hammers said. “Best No. 1 in our conference.”

Hammers, who will return next year for the Leathernecks, can build on this positive performance for next season.

While this match was going on, the other singles matches were not as close. Ben Yue, sophomore, lost in the No. 2 singles spot 6-1, 6-1 to Tomas Patino, and Jim Capalbo, No. 3, lost to Abdulrahman Alawadhi, 6-2, 6-1.

Neither Hammers nor Yue were done with their day, as they had to play doubles against  Fleming and Cameron Schoenhofer. With the overall match already decided, the No. 1 doubles team of Hammers and Yue were defeated 8-3 by Fleming and Schoenhofer.

At No. 4 singles Andrew Yopp was defeated by Nino Hasandedic 6-1, 6-0.

Daniel Sweeny was defeated by Gustavo Guerin at No. 5 singles 6-0, 6-1.

UMKC’s Cameron Schoenhofer defeated Western’s Jesus Roman 6-0, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.

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