For Jeff Fraser, it was nearly two decades. For John McGrew, it was less than a year. But the two beat old tennis rivals at the Lawrence Open Saturday.
Fraser advanced to the men's 35 finals with a victory over high school rival Charles Smith. The Lawrence resident won, 6-2, 6-4, Saturday morning at the Lawrence Tennis Center.
"I haven't seen him in 20 years when he played at Paola and I was at Gardner," Fraser said. "We used to play every week and it was always long and hot. It was the same today."
Fraser was unaware that Smith was in the tournament until Saturday.
"I hadn't heard from him in a long time and I saw his name on the sheet," Fraser said. "I saw him yesterday across the courts and thought, 'That guy looks familiar,' and it was him."
Fraser was reunited in the doubles with another old buddy, Baker tennis coach Gary Irick. The two played together in college and teamed for a 7-6, 6-3 victory over Don Carter and Dick Wedel in the men's 35 doubles.
"It's kind of a reunion here," Fraser said. "(LTA director) Bill Ketcham asked me to play doubles. Gary usually plays with his brother, but he couldn't play this year, so I ended up playing with Gary."
A showdown between Irick and Fraser was spoiled when Bob Dickerson downed Irick, 6-3, 6-4, in the other singles semifinal.
Meanwhile, McGrew advanced to the men's 55 finals with a 6-2, 7-6 win over Larry Tice. Tice, the Shawnee Mission East tennis coach, and McGrew have been battling each other in recent years.
"We started meeting in tournaments five or six years ago," McGrew said. "We get the chance to play once or twice a year. He was a little nervous the first set and missed some shots he normally makes. The second set could have gone either way, so I guess it was my turn to win today."
McGrew defeated Tice in the Lawrence Open finals two years ago.
"I won in a three-hour, three-set match in 1993," McGrew said. "Last year, he beat me, so it was my turn in the odd year. I'm a retriever and I get the ball back in play. If it's a hot and windy day, it'll wear down the big servers. Larry's got a good serve and if he's indoors, he's very lethal. But we were outside and I did a good job of keeping the ball in play."
McGrew, who didn't start playing tennis until the age of 35, will play Ed Hosking at 8:30 a.m. today. Hosking was a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 winner over Don Shoulberg.
The men's open final four is a mini-tourney for Kansas University players. KU's No. 1 man, Enrique Abaroa, will face teammate Scott Marshall in one semifinal, while Tariq Butt and Victor Fimbres play in the other semi.