Lawrence Open rolls on

Branden Joost returns a shot during the Lawrence Adult Open tennis tournament. He advanced Saturday at the Lawrence Tennis Center to today's semifinals.

The signs of lengthy morning showers were everywhere Saturday afternoon at the Lawrence Tennis Center: a large black squeegee here, a group of serpentine puddles there.

Yet, after a long delay, ideal conditions prevailed in the second day of the Lawrence Adult Open tennis tournament.

“Statistically, we got started 41â2 hours late, and everything went better than we could have hoped for, actually,” tournament director Bud Pettit said.

Pettit’s original goal of starting the day at 8 a.m. with the second-round pairings of the men’s open division went down a street drain when rain pounded the courts until around 11 a.m. With the help of several players and their families, though, the tournament was up and running by 12:30 p.m, lasting until 9:45 p.m.

When play started in full force in the early afternoon, the pristine conditions that some of the players enjoyed Friday night had returned. By the end of the day, a field of nearly 60 players in 10 divisions had been trimmed down considerably with few surprises – at least in the upper echelon in the men’s open division.

Only four players were given rankings in the entire tournament, and those men showed why with two impressive showings apiece to make it to today’s semifinals.

Top-seeded Jim Stoner, a 36-year-old elementary teacher and coach from Higginsville, Mo., soundly defeated Joey Rustemeyer, 6-0, 6-0, earning a rematch with recent Baldwin High product, Chris Irick.

After Irick beat Nathan Soule, 6-3, 6-2, in the second round, he told Pettit he needed only a 15-minute breather before facing Stoner, a player whom he previously had lost to in a third-set tiebreaker.

“I was young,” Irick said about last year’s meeting. “I’m looking forward to getting some revenge.”

Unfortunately for the future Emporia State tennis player, Stoner, a former player of the now defunct Central Missouri State University squad, took him down rather easily, 6-2, 6-2.

Stoner will play No. 4 Sean McManus, a former two-time state champion at Topeka Hayden, at 9:30 this morning.

The other 9:30 a.m. semifinal will feature a teacher-versus-pupil scenario as Branden Joost, a former Shawnee Heights standout, will battle his coach, Andrew Marchetti, who has given instruction to Joost at Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City, Mo., since July.

“We’re just going to go out there,” Marchetti said. “Whoever wins, wins. No hard feelings either way.”

Former Lawrence High standout Sydney Lartigue will face Melanie Perry later today for the title of the women’s 4.0 player rating division, the only women’s division due to a lack of female participants. Lartigue has been in town for about a month after finishing up her freshman year with the Southern University tennis team.

She has been playing in a women’s league on Wednesdays nights at the tennis center and is curious why only seven women had entered the event.

“I’m pretty sure if they wanted to be out here, they would be,” Lartigue said. “I don’t think they’d try to avoid it.”

Anne Broxterman of Topeka was one of the seven participants. She thought that most women were not willing to make that big of a commitment to a weekend tournament.

The tournament will end today with the playing of three semifinals and six finals, starting at 9:30 a.m.