ANDERSON — With the highest combination of heat and humidity of the Anderson Tennis Classic bearing down on the players, some survived as much as advanced Tuesday.
Matt Tran, seeded No. 4 in men’s A singles, worked his way past Mike Esposito 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the third round.
“It felt like an oven out there,” said Tran after the win.
When asked if his youth had anything to do with the outcome he said, “It sure didn’t feel like it. But I am about half his age, so it probably did.” Thankfully for both players, the final few games were played under overcast skies.
Tran started slowly. “I was missing in the beginning a lot,” he said. “I wanted to keep the points going so I could get my rhythm going. I had played (Esposito) before. He’s a great counter puncher.”
Tran will face Jack Hiatt today in the men’s A singles semifinals. Hiatt upset perennial division championship finalist Chris Zellinga 6-2, 6-3 Sunday night. “He’s a really steady player,” said Tran of Hiatt. “I am looking forward to playing him.”
In the men’s A doubles, the team of Lucas Bolt and Shawn Huck defeated Matthew and Joseph Conrad 6-2, 6-7 (2), 10-4.
“The heat was pretty bad,” said Bolt. “We got fired up there at the end.”
The Bolt/Huck team had a chance to close out the match in the second set, serving at 5-4, but failed to hold. In fact, down the stretch it was difficult for either team to hold serve. “I think people were getting tired,” said Bolt.
“Matthew played strong at the net,” said Huck. “Joseph, I think, is only in eighth grade, but I think he’s the tallest player in the tournament.”
Huck, who teaches at the Anderson Tennis Center, gave credit for the win in the final set tie-breaker to Bolt. “His nerves calmed down a bit. I always like getting to play with one of my students. I don’t like to ask any one of them to play because it might look like I have favorites. But I love it when one of them asks me.”
When the sun went behind the clouds late in the match it was a relief to Huck. “I could take my (sun) glasses off,” he said. “Then I could see the ball.”
Neither Bolt nor Huck is predicting a title in the division, but neither rules it out completely. “We’re not a seeded team,” said Huck. “But we’re going to go out and play our best and see what happens.”
Bolt will team up again on Thursday against the No. 4 seeded team of David Ellis and Grant Esposito.