Former Kansas University tennis player Rodrigo Echagaray had seen plenty of former KU coach, Ross Nwachukwu, in practice last season but the two had never played head-to-head in a competitive match.
That is until Sunday when the two met in the men's open singles finals of the Lawrence Open at the Lawrence Tennis Center.
The younger Echagaray had the best of his teacher in the first set winning 6-1 - but Nwachukwu didn't fold - instead working Echagaray all over the court before finally falling in the second set, 7-5.
"Rodrigo played well," said Nwachukwu, a former professional player on the ATP tour. "He played better than me. I'm just not in the shape that these guys are in.
"I just wanted to come out here and play some good tennis, shed a little fat and just have some fun."
Lawrence resident Gabrielle Giertz won the women's open singles title in her first ever city tournament, defeating Ann Broxterman in three sets, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
Echagaray said the match wasn't easy and he knew that Nwachukwu wouldn't give up after being down in the first set.
"He's still a very good player," said Echagaray, who will transfer to Texas at the end of June. "We played several times in practice but never competitively like this, so it was kind of fun."
The meeting of the former Jayhawks in the final had a bitter-sweet feel to it as neither will probably ever play competitively again in Lawrence.
"It's strange," said Nwachukwu, of playing against his former players since the KU tennis program was cut from the athletics program earlier in the spring . "When we finished our season in Athens, Ga., there was a very weird feeling.
"I couldn't tell our guys hey we'll be back next year. Instead I had to wish them luck in their respective paths in the future, so it was definitely strange."
Echagaray said he's going to keep working out with a couple of former KU players and finish up some summer classes before heading to Austin, Texas at the end of the month.
Nwachukwu will be traveling to Buffalo, N.Y. where he says he'll consider his choices for the future. "There are a lot of opportunities out there for me," Nwachukwu said.
Giertz said she hadn't played in a tournament since she was in high school in Champaign, Ill., but said it was fun to get back out and play competitively. "It's totally exciting," she said. "It was a marathon of a match, but it was a great time. There were some great players and great tennis being played here this weekend."
Saturday-Sunday at LTC
Rodrigo Echagaray def. Junior Brown, 6-5, 6-1; Ross Nwachukwu def. Alex Barragan, 6-2, 6-3; Echagaray def. Nwachukwu, 6-1, 7-5 (final).
Jorge Valverde def. Brendan Gore, 6-4, 6-4 (final).
Paul Schwerdtseger def. Neal Farnsworth, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 (final).
Bond Marrs def. Ozzie Sanchez, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Greg Gore def. Dan Rau, 6-2, 6-5; Don Carter def. Kitcha Jothi, 7-6, 6-2; John Loken def. John Orlich, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2; Tom Alderson def. Mark Reagan, 6-3, 6-2; Carter def. Gore, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4; Alderson def. Loken, 4-6, 1-0 (ret.); Alderson def. Carter, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 (final).
Men's 55 singles
George Morton def. Ed Hosking, 6-4, 6-4; Van Grant def. Sam Elliot by default; Morton def. Grant, 6-1, 6-1 (final).
Rob Kennedy-George Morton def. Mark Reagan-Rick Salas, 6-1, 6-5; Kitcha Jothi-Avi Seaver def. David Bird-Dan Hohenberger, 6-0, 6-2; Chris Cox-Tim Haynes def. Kevin Allmon-Steve Vogel, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Brendan Gore-Gregg Gore def. Van Grant-Ed Hosking, 6-3, 6-3; Kenny-Morton def. Jothi-Seaver, 6-1, 6-4; Cox-Haynes def. Gore-Gore, 6-4, 6-0; Kennedy-Morton def. Cox-Haynes, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 (final).
Alex Barragan-Rodrigo Echagaray def. Kevin Braun-Reed Eddington, withdrew; Don Carter-William Zung def. Michael Clemmons-Jim Stoner, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3; Octovio Martinez-Mike Strand def. Dean Jones-John Orlich, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; John Loken-Todd Loken def. Tim Dunville-Michael Schmidt, 6-5, 6-0; Barragan-Echagaray def. Carter-Zung, 6-2, 6-1; Loken-Loken def. Martinez-Strand, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2; Barragan-Echagaray def. Loken-Loken, 6-4, 6-2 (final).
Beth Klemz def. Janci Mullen, 6-4, 6-3; Gabrielle Giertz def. Lisa Thompson, 6-2, 6-0; Janet Hierl def. Janet Peard, 6-1, 6-3; Ann Broxterman def. Ann Long, 6-0, 6-3; Giertz def. Klemz, 6-0, 6-2; Broxterman def. Hierl, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; Giertz def. Broxterman, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 (final).
Shelly Griffith def. Tammy Sabol, 6-3, 6-4; Pam Staab def. Anita Lundy, 6-0, 6-0; Kathleen Warman def. Grace Vogel, 6-2, 6-3; Griffith def. Christina Campbell-Cline, 6-1, 6-4; Warman def. Staab by default; Warman def. Griffith, 6-3, 6-1 (final).
4.0 and under
Bond Marrs-Diana Marrs def. Carrie Grinter-Todd Trembley, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2; Giertz-Beth Velazquez def. Marrs-Marrs, 6-0, 6-2; Ed Pettit-Kay Pettit def. Tammy Sabol-Dan Hohenberger, 6-0, 6-2; Pettit-Pettit def. Giertz-Velazquez, 6-0, 7-5 (final).
Lisa Thompson-William Zung def. Ann Long-Avi Seaver, 6-2, 6-5; Tom Alderson-Beth Klemz def. Kalissa Kaufman-Todd Loken, withdraw; Ross Nwachukwu-Nicole Kenneally def. Zung-Thompson, 6-0, 6-0; Nwachukwu-Kenneally def. Alderson-Klemz, 6-0, 6-0 (final).
Shari Hockenbery-Pam Kopplin def. Janet Bailey-Pam Staab, 6-0, 6-1; Kay Pettit-Lisa Thompson def. Anita Lundy-Stephanie Dautenhahn, 6-1, 6-1; Ann Long-Janci Mullen def. Kay Pettit-Lisa Thompson, 7-5, 6-1; Hockenbery-Kopplin def. Long-Mullen 6-0, 6-0.