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R.I. collegian takes crowns at NH Open

Union Leader Correspondent

July 15. 2018 9:26PM
Matt Kuhar, left, shakes hands with Drew Van Oderlain on Sunday after defeating him 6-3, 6-4 to win the men’s singles title at the 2018 New Hampshire Open at the Waterville Valley Tennis Center. (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)

WATERVILLE VALLEY — Matt Kuhar, of Smithfield, R.I., was the big winner at the 37th New Hampshire Open on Sunday at the Waterville Valley Tennis Center, teaming up to win the doubles crown in the morning and then taking the singles title in the afternoon.

Kuhar, the 2014 singles champ in the tourney, paired with Andrew Imrie of Andover, Mass., to defeat Dana Parziale, of Pinehurst, N.C., and Zack Morris of Garden City, N.Y. 6-2, 6-1 for his first title of the day.

Several hours later, he returned alone to the red clay of the Rod Laver Arena and outlasted Drew Van Oderlain of Easthampton, Mass., 6-3, 6-4 in a baseline slugfest.

“It was a lot hotter than yesterday and we were both grinding,” said Kuhar, who has one more year of eligibility at Bryant University. Both he and Van Oderlain compete on the Futures Circuit.

Kuhar said he and Van Oderlain, thrive on rhythm and pace, which is why there were several extended rallies full of deep, topspin shots to both wings.

Van Oderlain, who in Saturday’s quarterfinals defeated Parziale, the tournament’s top seed and defending champ, had several opportunities to break Kuhar, but each time, Kuhar held.

Kuhar broke to go ahead 3-1 in the first set, and held to go up 4-1 before Van Oderlain, thanks to an unforced error from Kuhar, was able to get the score to 4-2.

Errors put Kuhar in a 15-40 hole before climbing out with an ace wide right and a Van Oderlain overhit. Two more Van Oderlain mistakes made it 5-2 Kuhar.

Van Oderlain held at 3-5 but at the pivotal point in the set, he hit a backhand into the net that made the score 40-30 and set Kuhar up for what was a big service winner to Van Oderlain’s backhand.

The second set between Van Oderlain and Kuhar was tied at 3-3 when Kuhar boomed a service return back to make it ad out and followed it with an overhead winner.

Serving 4-3, Kuhar again fell into a 15-40 hole, before again extricating himself, using a forehand winner, an ace down the middle, a big forehand that Van Oderlain netted, and, for good measure, an ace wide in the ad court.

At 3-5, Van Oderlain strung a pair of winners together with a pair of Kuhar errors to force his opponent to serve the match out, and Kuhar did so, but not before facing a final break point, which he fended, off at 30-40.

Both Kuhar and Van Oderlain said they will be back for the tournament next year.

“It’s one of the most beautiful places to play,” said Van Oderlain.

Aaron Diamond, a former standout at Moultonborough Academy, and currently ranked the No. 8 men’s singles player in New England, was the top finisher from New Hampshire, getting to the quarte finals of both the singles and doubles.

Tennis Waterville Valley