Fletcher, Blevins emerge victorious in 5.0 doubles

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   KINGSPORT -- The final match of the evening at the Kingsport Open Tennis Tournament on Monday was like an Stephen King novel. It was an action-packed thriller.
   And just after 10 p.m., Steve Fletcher and Bobby Blevins closed the book on a great match.
   Fletcher and Blevins knocked off former local prep standouts David Poole and Andy Tate 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to take the title in the men's 5.0 doubles division at Borden park.
   "Bobby and I play social tennis," Fletcher said. "We play a few tournaments a year. It's just fun."
   It was definitely a lot of fun for the spectators at the event to watch, as it could have gone either way.
   Poole and Tate were down 5-2 in the first set before rallying to tie the frame at 5-all.
   The tandem did lose the first set, but that set the stage for a second set that saw Poole and Tate hit some great shots to bring the match to a third and final set.
   The key moment in the third set came when Fletcher and Blevins broke to go up 5-3. The team then served it out to win the match.
   "I have to give credit to my partner," Fletcher said about Blevins. "He came on with big serves."
   Poole, a former three-time District 1-AAA champion at Dobyns-Bennett, was just happy to be out there.
   "It's just for fun," Poole said. "If you take this game too seriously, you get frustrated. Tennis is a lot of fun. It's a great game.
   Poole was happy to be playing with Tate, who was a state quarterfinalist this year for Sullivan Central, and won the District and Region 1-A/AA singles titles en route to Chattanooga.
   Poole enjoys being a mentor to the younger players.
   "I have fun playing with the younger guys," Poole said. "Growing up, a lot of the adults were kind enough to play with me. You learn a lot playing with these young guys. It's good experience for the young guys."
   Tate will be headed to UVA-Wise to play football and tennis for the Cavaliers this fall. But on this night, Poole was very complimentary of Tate's performance.
   "I think Andy played great," Poole said.
   There were other finals being played on Monday night. One of which saw Michael Manis and Nancy Davidson defeat David and Melinda Tate 6-3, 7-6 (11-9) to win the Mixed 4.0 Doubles championship.
   Manis thought it was a good win for the team.
   "We played pretty well," Manis said. "To beat a quality doubles team, you have to play well. I feel really fortunate to win.
   This was only the second tournament that Manis and Davidson have played together, and Davidson thinks the team is getting better.
   "The more matches we play together, the better we work as a team." Davidson said.
   There were three other finals played on Monday night. Andy Pullen, Gary Grau and Jerrie Doss all took home titles.
   Pullen knocked off Knox Wincher 6-2, 6-2 to win the boys 14's championship, Grau defeated Shannon Tate 6-1, 6-2 in the men's 3.25 final, and Doss knocked off Sarah Young 6-1, 6-0 to take the trophy in women's 3.5 singles.
   Despite Monday night being the first evening of the tournament, finals were being played due to the lack of entries in the some of the divisions.
   Mike Broyles, an early-round winner Monday in men's 3.5 singles, was disappointed with the lack of participants.
   "It's great to play tennis, but I wish there had been a bigger turnout for the tournament," Broyles said.