Sunday, July 27, 2003

Familiarity present at tourney finals

Hoevelers looking for fourth trophy

By Andy Hemmer
Enquirer Contributor

The top-seeded Hoeveler team from California survived a challenge from the Guerrys of Tennessee to earn a berth in today's championship match of the 54th National Father & Son Clay Court Tournament at the Cincinnati Tennis Club.

Charles Hoeveler, the 58-year-old father, and son Charlie, 27, rallied from a game behind twice in the second set to win their semifinal 7-6, 6-4. Their comeback set the stage for a battle of former champions today at 2:30 p.m. in East Walnut Hills.

The Hoevelers will face off against Jerry and Brett Morse-Karzen of Chicago, a team they've played, and beaten, twice before. The Morse-Karzens stopped Bob and Bart Scott in their semifinal match 6-2, 7-5.

"The last time we beat them, Brett was two years younger and at least a foot shorter," Charles Hoeveler said. "Things are different now. He's a big, strong guy now, but I think we're ready for them."

The Hoevelers won in 1994, 1998, and 1999.

The Morse-Karzens look like basketball players with racquets. The 50-year-old father, Jerry, stands 6-feet-4; his 20-year-old son Brett, a college player at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, towers over the court at 6-feet-8.

Jerry Morse-Karzen favors a return to either 2001, when he won the tournament with Brett, or 1982, when he and his father, Dick Karzen, finished first.

The tandem knocked off the second-seeded VanLingens, the defending champs, in Saturday's quarterfinal match preceding their victory over the Scotts.

"We returned the serve well and we volleyed well, but I've seen them play sharper," Jerry Morse-Karzen said of the VanLingens. "Nobody has played this tournament as well as they have."

One of the big differences between the early rounds and the semifinals, besides the skill level of the players, is uncanny resemblance between fathers and sons. For most of the 32-team field, identifying fathers from sons is child's play. In the semis, some of the father-son teams, particularly the Guerrys, could pass as brothers.

The tourney carries with it a lot of history.

Facing the VanLingens was deja-vu for Jerry Morse-Karzen, who played against the pair with his dad in the 1970s. Morse-Karzen recalls an early victory when Van VanLingen, the son, was in his early teens.

"After that, Van got pretty good pretty quick, and we didn't beat them for a while," he said.

The VanLingens are the all-time leaders in clay court tourney titles with seven.

Zan Guerry, knocked out of the semis by the Hoevelers, was seeking to etch his name on the championship trophy for the third time.

He's already listed there as the winner of the 1966 and 1971 tournaments, when he played with his father, Alex. His partner today is his son Jeff.

Brett Morse-Karzen said his goal in today's final against the Hoevelers is to play "without regrets."

"When it's all said and done, we want to do everything we can to give ourselves the very best possible chance to win. We've never beaten them," he said.

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