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Negaunee tennis players reach finals at Escanaba’s Michigan-Wisconsin Open tourney

Luke Skewis of Negaunee hits a return shot in a men’s B semifinal match during the Michigan-Wisconsin Tennis Open on Sunday at Royce Park in Escanaba. Skewis and his father, Dan Skewis, defeated Denny Kreuser and Earl Lepisto to advance to the championship round. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Austin Hemmingson)

ESCANABA — Led by a number of players named Skewis, a quartet of Negaunee tennis players were runners-up in several divisions at the 73rd annual Michigan-Wisconsin Open over the weekend.

But that could be considered a victory, since earlier this year the COVID-19 virus shed much doubt about whether the Michigan-Wisconsin Open could even be held.

It was business as usual, however, as the event drew 42 players.

“People are coming here to get in some matches,” said Dennis Lueneburg, who shares the directing duties with Tom Penegor, Brock Bougie and Escanaba Recreation Department director Kim Peterson. “They’re just happy to be playing, and I’m glad we kept the tournament going. We got a lot of high school girls’ players, and it looks like they’re going to get to play this fall.”

Jenna Nolde of Menominee captured the women’s B/girls’ singles title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over defending champion Jillian Skewis of Negaunee on a warm Saturday.

Dan Skewis of Negaunee hits a return shot in a men's B semifinal match during the 73rd annual Michigan-Wisconsin Tennis Open on Sunday at Royce Park in Escanaba. Skewis and his son, Luke Skewis, defeated Denny Kreuser and Earl Lepisto 7-5, 7-5 to advance to the championship round. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Austin Hemmingson)

Livea Mazurek and Katarina Serbentas of Iron River then outlasted Skewis and Morgan Carlson, also of Negaunee, for the doubles’ championship, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7) and 10-7, the final set a super tiebreaker, on a cloudy, windy and unseasonably cool Sunday at Royce Park.

“It was a big adjustment playing doubles,” said Mazurek, who will play No. 1 singles in her senior season at West Iron County High School this fall. “I need to get some work in on my swing.”

Dave Young of Gladstone and Darrin Young of Escanaba were crowned veteran men’s champions after winning both of their matches. Glenn Pearson of Gladstone and Al O’Dell of Esky were runners-up.

“We had a ball, although the weather surprised us big time,” said Dave. “You had to adjust the way you hit the ball because the wind just carried it. You really had to watch yourself, even when serving.”

Holden Ross and Rich Junak of Iron River copped the doubles combined title in a 6-4, 6-2 conquest of Dan and Luke Skewis of Negaunee.

The Negaunee duo reached the finals with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 semifinal triumph over 71-year-old Dennis Kreuser of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and 72-year-old Earl Lepisto of Menominee.

“What keeps us going is the trifecta,” Kreuser laughed. “We have wine at noon, beer with our supper and brandy and popcorn before we turn in at night. That’s what gives us reason to get up in the morning.”

Kreuser copped singles with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over his partner Saturday.

Ruth Smith and Pat Blewett of downstate Alden, an area between Traverse City and Petoskey, rallied past Michelle Mayville and Jim Bruce of Esky 2-6, 6-2, 11-9 for the women’s and mixed B title.

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