Koontz Earns Three-Peat in Men’s Final

By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer

Koontz Earns Three-Peat in Men’s Final

RICHMOND– Hunter Koontz rolled to his third consecutive men’s singles title in the Mercedes-Benz Greater Richmond Tennis Championships on Sunday with a 6-2, 7-5 decision over second-seeded Kyle Parker.

Parker, 26, was the runner-up to Koontz in 2016 but managed only two games in that match.

“He’s got a good grip on the city tournament right now,” said Parker, a teaching pro at Raintree Swim and Racquet Club.

The event was held at Raintree for the third straight year after moving from its long-time site at Byrd Park.

Parker said he likes his progress in the tournament.

“I’m getting a little better each year towards him,” said Parker. “Maybe next year, I’ll win a set and maybe in 2019, I’ll win it.”

Koontz never trailed in the match. His only hiccup came at 5-4 in the second set when he was serving for the title and was broken.

The former Virginia Tech standout quickly regained his stroke and claimed the final two games to clinch.

Koontz said he enjoyed the match.

“It was really high-quality tennis in the second set from both of us,” said Koontz, a former star for Deep Run High School.

Parker, who played for College of Charleston, needed a medical timeout at 1-4 in the opening set because of a sore left elbow.

Parker said he wanted to keep going.

“I tried to fight through it,” said Parker. “I didn’t want to retire. I wanted to at least fight for the crowd and myself.”

Parker added that Koontz deserved to win.

“I hit some really good shots, he hit some really good shots,” said Parker, a former Mills Godwin High standout. “He just hit a couple more than I did. That’s how tennis goes.”

Koontz faced Chase Bernstine in the semifinals. Bernstine plays for Virginia Tech.

Koontz said he will cherish this win.

“I don’t know how many more years I can go before someone like Chase is going to go off to Virginia Tech and get a ton better and come back and be able to beat me pretty handily,” said Koontz.

Koontz, an assistant pro at the Country Club of Virginia, said the Mercedes-Benz Greater Richmond Tennis Championships is one of his favorite tournaments to play.

In addition to receiving the top prize of $500, Koontz had his name engraved once more on the Lou Einwick Trophy, emblematic of the men’s champion.

The three-peat by Koontz marked the first time someone has won three straight titles since Sean Steinour took four in a row from 2002-05

In the men’s doubles final, Parker teamed with Ille van Engelen to outlast the duo of Koontz and Tomas Gonzalez 1- 6, 6-1, 7-5.

Van Engelen is a former Ohio State standout who now works in Richmond.

In the men’s 40 singles final, Chris Wallace beat David Magner 6-0, 6-2.