Radke Playing Smarter, Reaches Men's Final Again
By John Packett
RTA Contributing Writer
Ryan Radke has been teaching the game to members at Hermitage Country Club for about a year, and he applied some of the lessons that he has taught others in the men’s singles semifinals of the Davenport City Tennis Championships.
The No. 2 seed and runner-up in last year’s tournament continued his strong play by rolling past fourth-seeded David Genter 6-1, 6-0 Saturday afternoon at Byrd Park. Radke won the last 10 games after Genter had closed to 2-1.
“I feel like my game is better this year,” said Radke, a former standout for Bridgewater College and Midlothian High School.
“I think I’m staying smarter. Knowing when to play the right shots. I’ve been teaching a lot at Hermitage. I learned about more of the angles and when to use my shots. I’ve still been hitting [practicing] a decent amount but I feel like I’m definitely a lot smarter in my strategic game.”
Radke will try to continue making the right moves when he meets top-seeded Eric Shulman in Sunday’s final at 12:30 p.m. Shulman defeated Radke in straight sets a year ago for his first city championship.
Shulman advanced to the final when unseeded Mark Scordo retired trailing 5-3 in the first set.
Scordo aggravated a right elbow injury in a 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over third-seeded Chris Wallace earlier Saturday. After their match was interrupted by rain at 5-3, Scordo told tournament director Rob Johnston that he couldn’t continue.
That gives Shulman the chance to become the first man to win back-to-back singles titles since Sean Steinour won four straight from 2002-05.
The women’s final between defending champion Gloria Guntinas and runner-up Ginny Wortham is set for 10 a.m. They were the only two entries in the women’s field.
In between the men’s and women’s finals, the 2013 class of the Richmond Tennis Hall of Fame will be introduced.
Genter had trouble keeping the ball in play against Radke’s strong ground strokes and invariably lost the point when his shots sailed wide or long. Despite a swirling wind, Radke was able to keep the majority of his shots within the lines.
“I definitely found my range today,” said Radke. “I was using a little more spin and that seemed to keep the balls in. He kept missing his forehand a lot. He kept trying to hit to the corners and framed his shots, and that gave me some opportunities.
“When he started missing, I was getting more confident. Since he was missing, he tried to take something off of his shots and left them short a little bit. That gave me the advantage to step in and try to do something more with it.”
Genter boiled his loss down to a more simple equation, saying, “Ryan’s a more seasoned player. I tried to bring him in a little bit and he didn’t miss his approach shots. He kept hitting them deep and hard, so that’s a good combination.
“I was struggling a little bit out there, but it was mostly him doing it to me.”
Shulman, an assistant men’s coach for his alma mater, Christopher Newport University, had attended the graduation of his sister, Allie, from Longwood University Saturday morning and was a little sluggish at the beginning.
“He told me at the start of the match that he hurt his elbow against Chris,” said Shulman, “and he wasn’t sure how far along he could go. I knew he had had a pretty grueling match with Chris, and that was a great win for him.
“It looked like he was going for a lot of winners, trying to keep the points short. He got off to a quick start because I wasn’t able to prepare myself like I normally would due to the time constraints, rushing back to play the match.
“It was unfortunate that he couldn’t continue the match because he was playing pretty well under the circumstances.”
Men’s singles – Quarterfinals: Mark Scordo d. Chris Wallace 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. Semifinals: Ryan Radke d. David Genter 6-1, 6-0; Eric Shulman d. Scordo 5-3, retired (injury).
Mixed doubles – Semifinals: Gloria Guntinas-Jason Kinder d. Lindsey and David Genter 5-7, 6-4, 6-2; Ginny Wortham-Matt Foote d. Mason Davis-Matt Magner 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Final at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Men’s doubles – Quarterfinals: Ed Butterworth-John Snead d. Rodgers Lawson-Todd Williams 6-4, 6-4; Kinder-Bryce DePew d. Conner Moncure-Taylor Napier 6-4, 6-1; Radke-James Smyth d. Ben Brody-Chris Ray 6-0, 6-1. Semifinals: Butterworth-Snead d. Radke-Smyth 7-5, 6-1; Foote-Magner d. Kinder-DePew 6-3, 6-2. Final at 10 a.m. Sunday.