Peterson paces field at M.E.T.A.

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com


   JOHNSON CITY-- Eric Peterson was the underdog on Sunday afternoon, but he barked the loudest in his match against one of the area's top players.
   Peterson upset No. 1 seeded Jim Flannagan 6-0, 6-4 to take the Men's Open singles title during championship play at the Mountain Empire Tennis Association (M.E.T.A.) members tournament, which was held at the Liberty Bell Tennis Center.
   "I just tried to play more aggressive today, so I wouldn't be out there for a real long match," Peterson said.
   Peterson had no trouble in the first frame, and he gave Flannagan a rare 6-0 defeat in a set.
   But there was no giving up in Flannagan's game. He raised his level of play to take a 4-1 lead in the second set.
   Peterson then stepped to the fore to win the final five games of the match.
   Peterson thought he had to earn this victory.
   "It wasn't easy," Peterson said. "The first set he got way behind, and he kind of just gave that to me. But the second set was tough. He was up 4-1, so it wasn't easy."
   Peterson was glad to get the win against an opponent who has dominated local tennis for years.
   "It feels good," Peterson said. "He's beaten me the last several times we've played. I beat him once several years ago, but he's beaten me several times since then. It feels good to finally get one back."
   The men's 4.0 singles championship was a rematch of last week's Bristol Racquet Club final between Rex Lewis and Scott Witherspoon. Lewis took that one in three close sets, but this time Witherspoon breezed in an easy 6-1, 6-3 win.
   Lewis was under the weather a little bit, and Witherspoon thought it showed.
   "I don't think he was feeling too well," Witherspoon said. "He wasn't the same player today."
   The Lewis family did have something to smile about in the Mixed Open Doubles championship. Lewis' daughter, Leigh Ann Lewis, teamed up with Greg Duvall for a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jeff Keller and Kathy Carter.
   Lewis, Sullivan East High School's top girls player, believes playing in these tournaments will only make her better.
   "When you're playing better players, you can only improve," Lewis said.
   Lewis was very complimentary of Duvall's play.
   "He hurt his ankle, and he still played," Lewis said.
   The women's 4.0 doubles final saw some high quality tennis, with Jane Farmer and Janet Mitchell coming out on top.
   The tandem defeated Sandy Cox and Lynn Franklin, 6-3, 6-4.
   "We had a good match," Farmer said. "It was good and close."
   Said Mitchell: "It was a good close match. We did well."
   Cox thought her team's opponents made the shots when they had to.
   "They just had some better shots," Cox said.
   All of these ladies are good friends, which makes it difficult for them to play each other.
   "We're all really good friends," Franklin said. "We're on the same 4.0 (M.E.T.A.) team. It's hard to play against them."