Jim Simon squares up a ball Sunday during the Steamboat City Championship tennis tournament. He joined Mike Ramsey to win the men's 3.5 doubles bracket.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Jim Simon squares up a ball Sunday during the Steamboat City Championship tennis tournament. He joined Mike Ramsey to win the men's 3.5 doubles bracket.

Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs crowns city champions

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— The Steamboat City Championship tennis tournament truly was a melding of the city’s tennis scene, young and old, experienced and otherwise matching up for two days of action at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

Louis Nijsten emerged atop one such clash to again stand out as the city’s best. Nijsten beat Grice Hooker to claim, for the third consecutive year, the city’s tennis championship at the highest skill division.

Nijsten and Hooker aren’t so much different in age or skill, but they are in style.

“He’s very crafty, coming up to the net a lot. He likes to keep points short, and I like to keep them long,” Nijsten said.

He came away with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

“It’s always close when we play. We’re good friends,” Nijsten said. “That first set was really close, then I got on a roll a little bit.

“We know exactly how to play each other. We play a lot of tennis and though we’re getting older, we’re both still improving our game, so that’s fun.”

The event this year included 78 players, a 25 percent increase of 2012 participation. In the field were 11 players who’d never competed in a tournament before, and for the first time recently, a women’s 2.5-3.0 skill level division, attesting to the swollen numbers.

“It was a really good event,” tournament director Jim Swiggart said.

He came away with a win of his own, playing competitively for the first time in a year. He injured his shoulder immediately after last year's city championships and finally took the court again this weekend. There, he joined with Hooker to win the top men’s doubles bracket, defeating Louis Nijsten and Steph Nijsten in a grueling finals match, 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-7.

“It was an easy win,” Swiggart said with a wry smile and a laugh.

There was no shortage of champions on the day. Ross McLaren defeated Karl Bunker, 7-5, 6-4, to win the men’s 3.5 singles division. Mike Ramsey and James Simon, meanwhile, teamed up to win the 3.5 doubles contest.

Geoff Leaver won the men’s 4.0 singles division while Steve DeLine and Bo Stempel won the men’s 4.0 doubles.

Cyndi Knox and Bettina Neset won the women’s 2.5-3.0 women’s division, Teresa Long won the women’s 3.0 singles category, and Karen DeLine and Susan Stempel the women’s 3.5 doubles division. Patricia O’Brien won the women’s 3.5 singles; Kira Lorenzen won the women’s 4.0 singles and Laurie Buelow won the women’s 4.5 singles. Karen O’Connor and Dana Stein won the women’s 4.0 doubles while Buelow and Patrice Lorenzen emerged atop the women’s 4.5 doubles.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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