Parker, Sorkin Capture City Singles Crowns

By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer

Parker, Sorkin Capture City Singles Crowns

RICHMOND– Kyle Parker claimed his first Mercedes Benz Greater Richmond City Championship this past weekend at acac-Midlothian.

Parker was the runner-up to Hunter Koontz in 2017 and 2016. Koontz skipped this year’s event because of an out-of-town commitment.

On a hot and humid afternoon on Aug. 5, the top-seeded Parker pulled out a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over unseeded Patrick Whaling in a match that lasted over two hours.

“Growing up in Richmond my whole life, and finally being able to get one, feels really good,” said Parker, 27, a teaching pro at Raintree Swim and Racquet Club. Parker was one of the area’s top young stars when he played for Mills Godwin High School.

“I’m just glad Hunter wasn’t in the draw this year,” said Parker, who received the Lou Einwick Trophy and a check for $500.

Whaling, who upset two-time champion and No. 2 seed Eric Shulman in the quarterfinals and No. 3 seed Chase Bernstine in the semifinals, received $250 for expenses.

Whaling, a rising senior at Division III Gustavus Adolphus College (St Peter, Minn.), picked up his game after trailing 1-3 in the second set.

“I knew at that point if I didn’t start trusting my shots, he was going to roll the set on me,” said Whaling, who played basketball and tennis at Victory Christian School before going to Gustavus Adolphus, where he played No. 3 last season.

Following a 10-minute break, Parker came out and broke Whaling’s serve to open the third set.

“I didn’t want to go three sets but I think that 10-minute break actually helped me out a little bit because I was starting to get a little exhausted,” said Parker. “I got to sit in the AC for a bit, put some ice on my neck, just kind of regrouped.”

“I didn’t want to switch my game up,” said Parker, who played at College of Charleston for two years. “It was more my movement.”

In the women’s draw, top-seeded Nina Sorkin swept to her second city title in five years with a 6-0, 6-0 decision over Anna Collins that took 70 minutes.

Sorkin, 19, claimed her first championship since 2014. She was runner-up in 2015 and last year.

Sorkin, a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech, didn’t lose a game in her two matches. Collins, who upset second-seeded Brooke Connatser in the semifinals, was able to keep Sorkin on the defensive with a strong serve.

“She had a huge serve,” said Sorkin, a former star for Deep Run High School. “I had a hard time returning it. She aced me a lot.”

Collins, a rising junior at the University of Louisville where she is a walk-on for the Cardinals, had several game points but couldn’t convert any of them.

“I had a lot of chances that I didn’t take advantage of,” said Collins, whose parents moved to Richmond two years ago. “A lot of ads, a lot of 40-loves, 40-15s that I didn‘t capitalize on. She’s just a very consistent player.”

Sorkin took home the Lindsay Wortham Cup, along with expenses for $500. Collins received $250.

Janet Fleishman, the winner of the past three women’s titles, was unable to play because of a wrist injury.

The tournament moved from Raintree’s hard courts to the slower clay surface at acac this year.

In the men’s doubles final, Parker and Bernstine teamed to beat Whaling and Grant Sarver 6-2, 6-2.

In the women’s doubles final, Sorkin and Connatser edged the duo of Susan Hanson and Laura Lafors 1-6, 6-1, (10-8).

“We were up against some doubles specialists and struggled the first set, but came back and figured out what we needed to do,” said Sorkin.

Connatser added that they had to work hard in the tiebreaker.

“We really had to focus on each and every point and we did everything we could do in order to pull it out,” said Connatser.

The U.S. Open raffle was claimed by Pontus Hiort, who is the tennis coach at St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s Schools. The winner received two tickets for two days at the Open early next month in New York, guest credentials to the U.S. Open Club and $2,500 cash allowance.