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Archive for Friday, June 14, 1996

TENNIS OPEN FIELD LOOKS STRONG

June 14, 1996

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If bigger is better, this weekend's Lawrence Open should be quite a tennis tournament.

"Our numbers are up, and the strength of our draws has increased," tournament director Matt Knoll reported.

The Open, which will run tonight through Sunday at the Lawrence Tennis Center, has attracted approximately 125 players. That's up from about 100 last year.

"We're excited," Knoll said. "The men's open draw is very deep. We have pros from Alvamar. We have a pro from Topeka. We're looking at 12 to 15 guys who have college tennis experience. Hopefully this is something we're going to build on in the future."

Men's open and 4.0 singles will begin at 6 tonight, with two rounds slated. Nine other brackets will begin on Saturday, with play scheduled to start at 8 a.m.

Singles finals will be played at 11 a.m. Sunday, and doubles finals are scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.

Enrique Abaroa, the No. 1 player on Kansas University's men's tennis team, is the No. 1 seed in the men's open division. KU teammates Victor Fimbres, Luis Uribe and Fernando Sierra are seeded second, third and fourth, respectively.

And KU's Kylie Hunt, singles runner-up in this year's NCAA women's tournament, is the top seed in the women's open. Teammate Maria Abatjoglou is seeded second.

"I'd like to see this tournament in a couple years get to a point where the very best players in the Midwest are driving here," said Knoll, director of the Jayhawk Tennis Assn., formerly the Lawrence Tennis Assn. "Instead of 10 or 15 quality players, we'd like to have 35 or 40 quality players. With the Mainline tournament leaving, there is a little bit of a void in Lawrence that this tournament could fill."

The Lawrence Tennis Assn. became the Jayhawk Tennis Assn. about two months ago.

"We renamed it to bring in people from the surrounding area," said Knoll, who is also an assistant tennis coach at KU.

With 22 players, men's open singles features the Lawrence Open's largest draw. Men's 4.0 singles has 21 entries.

Among the men's open doubles entries is the team of Paul Smith, coach of the Kansas City Explorers of WorldTeam Tennis, and Deon Botha, a former player at Oklahoma State.

"We've tried to promote the tournament at little bit more this year," Knoll said.

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