Wallace Adds City Title to His 35-over Resume
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
It should have come as no surprise when Chris Wallace captured his third men’s 35-and-over singles title Sunday in the Davenport City Tennis Championships at Willow Oaks Country Club.
A former Collegiate High School star and All-American at Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Wallace has remained competitive since his junior days and still holds his own on the court with most anyone.
“It’s kind of been a lifestyle choice for me,” said Wallace. “Just trying to stay healthy and stay active. Just something I like to do. I just try to find the time to stay fit and play a few tournaments and stay competitive.”
Wallace, seeded No. 1 in the small field of eight, needed to be on top of his game for his three matches in the city tournament. The luck of the draw put the 39-year-old on the toughest side but he battled his way into the final.
First up was newcomer Sameer Kumar, with Wallace winning 6-2, 6-3.
“Very good player,” said Wallace. “Strong ground strokes on both sides. We had a pretty long, physical match. It was closer than the score indicated.”
In the semifinals, Wallace disposed of ex-junior standout Cary Broocks 6-0, 7-5.
“He was a little off in the first set,” Wallace said, “but really came on strong. The quality of tennis in the second set was pretty high. I was probably fortunate to win it.”
That set up the final with another former junior standout, Bobby Fauntleroy, the No. 2 seed, who had coasted through his half. The match was moved indoors because of rain, which changed the surface from clay to hard.
“We played on a faster surface and Bobby likes to play aggressive,” said Wallace. “Likes to keep the ball low and come in. He’s not much for trading ground strokes. He’s also got a very good serve, so we were pretty consistently holding serve.”
One service break decided the opening set, and Wallace served for the match at 5-4 but was broken.
“He hit some really good returns that game and broke me,” Wallace said. “So we ended up going to the tiebreaker.”
Wallace pulled it out and won the match 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). Had it gone to a third set, a 10-point tiebreaker would have been played instead of a full set.
“All of a sudden, I had won the first set and was up a break in the second and feeling like I’m in control of the match,” said Wallace. “Then when he breaks me, it’s 5-all and comes down to two more games and potentially two more tiebreakers.
“Once you get to that point, anybody could win.”
Wallace, a partner with the Keiter accounting firm, keeps his game sharp by practicing with some of the area’s best juniors, such as Justin Cerny and Tate Steinour, at Salisbury Country Club, where he is a member.
Wallace also played in the open division of the Davenport tournament, where he reached the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Michal Ciszek. He is scheduled to play in the National Grass Courts at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in August.
In other senior division finals, Robert Musick defeated Neal Thompson 8-0 in the men’s 65 singles title match, and Mathias Schon captured the men’s 70 singles crown with a pair of round-robin victories.
In the only other category up for grabs, Musick and Tom Robertson claimed the men’s 65 doubles title with two round-robin wins.