Hard-fought battle worth the reward

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— A physically exhausted Patty Kreutz was nursing her sunburn as she returned back to work Monday morning.

Her physical condition was the result of playing more than eight hours of tennis Sunday, in the blistering heat of the sun, at the finals of the Intermountain Senior Sectional Championship.

However, for Kreutz, the day of hard labor away from work paid off with a singles title in the women's 45 division and a second-place finish in the women's 40 doubles.

Both results came on the last of four days of top-level tennis, which was played at the Steamboat Springs Tennis Center Sunday.

"I'm tired today," Kreutz said. "My singles match was close to three hours, which is pretty long for two sets. I don't think that we could have played another set."

Kreutz won the first set of the match 7-5, and then beat her long-time friend Joyce Grant of Denver in the tie -breaker of the second set by a score of 7-6 (4) .

"We've known each other for a long time and we meet in the finals of just about every tournament we play in," Kreutz said.

It was the second-straight year that the local player has won the title at the senior sectional in the women's 45 division. Before that she also topped the women's 40 division.

"This is a big one for me," Kreutz said of the Steamboat event..

Kreutz says she plays in a couple of national-level tournaments each year as well as the Denver Open and the Colorado State Championships.

Outside of those events, she considers the Sectional in Steamboat to be one of her biggest events of the season.

"It's great for me to compete here in Steamboat," Kreutz said. "I just wish there were more players in the draw but it's still great."

This year's tournament drew 154 of the state's top players ranging in age from 35 to 70. The tournament began on Thursday and wrapped up on Sunday afternoon with the awards.

"This was the deepest, strongest field we've ever had," said Jim Swiggart, tournament director. The quality of tennis out here last weekend was as good as any you would see when you switched on the television."

Kreutz was the only local player to win her division. She also placed second in the 40 doubles along with partner Janice Simpson.

Swiggart was second in the men's 50 singles after falling in a three set match to Colorado Springs Mark Bishop. Bishop was the top seed in the draw. He was also second in the men's 50 doubles along with partner James Martin.

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