Matrka conquers Masters division | SteamboatToday.com

Matrka conquers Masters division

— Marie Matrka knocked off two Swiggarts this weekend to win the centerpiece match of the Steamboat City Singles and Doubles Championships.

After beating Jim Swiggart on Saturday night, Matrka squared off against his son, Jamey, in Sunday’s championship match. She won the championship in three sets, 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-0.

Matrka opted to play in the tournament’s men’s Masters division, and by Sunday afternoon she had proven herself more than a match for the men of Steamboat Springs.

“It was great. There was a competitive atmosphere, but we are all friends out having a good time,” she said. “It’s fun beating those guys. It’s nice to win in your hometown, and more than anything, have people you know and see every day come out.”

At her best, she simply overpowered Jamey Swiggart, blasting net-buzzing returns into all corners. Swiggart certainly dealt blows of his own, and his crafty work with the racket had Matrka seemingly scrambling all over the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

It made for three sets of white-knuckle tennis.

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Matrka took a 5-2 lead in the first set but narrowly hung on in an 8-6 tiebreaker. Swiggart, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, dominated the second set, taking six of seven games.

“He has an aggressive game where it’s more than him just not making errors. He steps in on balls that land short in the court and moves it around really well,” Matrka said about Jamey Swiggart. “When he’s on top of his game, I just had to keep the ball in play and hope he dropped a level.”

Those skills could do little to slow Matrka in the final set. She added some crafty shots of her own, repeatedly hammering the ball one direction as Swiggart hustled another. After winning three tight games to start the set, she blew past him to finish off her championship run.

“She has a solid ground stroke and a good serve,” Jamey Swiggart said after the match. “I tried to rally and be patient, take the open shots I had, but she’s good at everything.”

The back-and-forth championship match made a fitting finale to the largest city tournament the center has hosted.

Registration topped out at 94 players, 12 better than last year’s field.

“There was extraordinary tennis at every level,” said Jim Swiggart, the tournament director. “We had a high level of participation from juniors and adults. We introduced programs this summer to bring the game back to those who hadn’t played in awhile and to beginners. That helped boost the turnout.”

Fabiola Katthain defeated Steamboat Springs High School tennis standout Shelby Reed for the women’s Masters championship. Reed took the first set but couldn’t hang with the nimble Katthain for the duration, falling, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.

Other individual champions included: Keegan Burger, men’s 4.5; Mirko Erspamer, men’s 4.0; and Elyse Tanner, women’s 4.0.

Doubles champions were: Jamey and Jim Swiggart, men’s 5.0; David Schaller and Jesse Speare-Schaller, men’s 4.5; C.J. Burger and Keegan Burger, men’s 4.0; Hal Chase and Paul Zaleski, men’s 3.5; Laurie Buelow and Patricia Kreutz, women’s 4.5; Valerie Lezin and Shelby Reed, women’s 4.0; Barbara Hoovler and Karen O’Connor, women’s 3.5 doubles; and Julia Cooper and Ali Diehl, women’s 3.0

The women’s 3.5 championship match between Darby Dale-Burger and Valerie Lezin will be played Tuesday.