Sunday, July 20, 2003

Familiar foes in Met tennis final


Molony-Hussey, Luzhanska to meet

By Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Less than 24 hours after Kara Molony-Hussey watched Angela Wilson and Keri Preng steal away her eighth Met tennis title, she faced Wilson for a chance at another Met title at Lunken Playfield. This time, she was focused.

Molony-Hussey beat Wilson 6-2, 6-1 in the women's semifinals of the Thomas E. Price Cincinnati Metropolitan Tennis Tournament Saturday afternoon. She will face Tania Luzhanska in today's final at 12 p.m.

Molony-Hussey and her sister, Lyndsey, had lost 6-3, 2-6, 6-7 to Wilson and Preng in the doubles championship Friday night.

"I was just out of the (doubles) match the whole night. It made me re-focus, because you take things for granted," Molony-Hussey said. "It made me open my eyes and say, 'Hey, wait a minute. Tomorrow, you'd better go into the match with your head on straight.' "

She did, throwing Wilson off-balance with a variety of shots.

"She likes to hit that same ball every time - to drive it - and she wants me to hit the same kind of ball to her," Molony-Hussey said. "So I tried to mix it up and give her a lot of junk in there - just try to do a little of everything, try not to wear myself out too much."

This will be Molony-Hussey's sixth-consecutive singles finals. She won the singles title in 1998, '99 and '02.

Luzhanska prevented the first all-Molony final this year. She overpowered Lyndsey Molony to win 6-3, 6-0 in her semifinal match.

Lyndsey's loss sets up a rematch of the 2001 Met final, when Luzhanska beat Molony-Hussey 6-2, 6-1 for her first title. Luzhanska remembers the championship match of her first Met well.

"I think it will be a good match because Kara is very consistent. She doesn't miss much, and she moves pretty well," Luzhanska said.

Molony-Hussey, a 23-year-old UC graduate and Luzhanska, an 18-year-old born in Ukraine, raised in Israel and trained in Florida, both have experience on the pro circuit.

YARRELL TO FACE KAUFFMANN: No. 4 seed Isaac Yarrell felt like he finally proved himself Saturday.

In the men's semifinals, he ousted No.2 Jason Zimmermann 6-1, 7-5 to advance to his first Met final in five tries. It was Yarrell's first time facing Zimmermann.

"My strategy was to just to keep it going as long as possible and try to outlast him," Yarrell said. "They always seeded him higher than me, and I never understood why. I thought it was good that I finally got a chance to play him, so I could establish myself as one of the best in Cincinnati."

Yarrell will play No. 1 Cedric Kauffmann in the finals at 1 p.m. today. Kauffmann, a 35-year-old, three-time All-American originally from France, easily handed Rob Bakker a 6-2, 6-1 defeat in his semifinal match. Kauffmann, a former professional, is playing in his first Met.

"(Kauffmann is) the talk of the tournament. I feel like I'm the underdog, and that's always great," Yarrell said. "There's nothing to lose - just go out there swinging."

E-mail ckane@enquirer.com.




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