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Rachael Lewis hits a return as she plays with her sister, Becca, in the Greater Danville Area Open 12-and-under girls doubles championship match. The Lewis sisters defeated Amy Shah and Pooja Patel, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

A dynamic sister duo, one of the tournaments youngest competitors and a player with the unique ability to play with either hand highlighted day three action at the Commercial-News/Jocko’s/Pepsi Greater Danville Area Open.

Capturing the first final of the week were Becca and Rachael Lewis, who turned back a stiff challenge from Amy Shah and Pooja Patel to win the 12-and-under girls doubles title with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 victory.

“After the first set, I was a little worried,” said Rachael Lewis. “After the second set, I thought it would be easier, then when we were tied 4-4 in the third, I knew it was going to be hard to win.’’

Though young, both sisters had a lot of experience to draw on.

“We have been playing tennis since we were 3 or 4, and doubles since we were 7 or 8,’’ said Becca Lewis.

“We also play together all the time unless one of us is sick,” added Rachael. Both also expressed a love of the sport. Tennis is something you can play with friends that isn’t a rough sport, the girls said.

Both sisters said it was by far their favorite sport.

That positive attitude about the game itself epitomizes one of Cathy Simpson’s goals for the Open.

“It’s not just about winning and losing, which is why we will be giving sportsmanship awards as well,” said Simpson, the tournament director. “Tennis is a unique sport in that you can play it all your life if you like and it teaches you a lot about life. We have a motto I try to share: Be prepared, give 100 percent and be a good sport.

“I have not only been pleased with the competition so far. but also with the level of sportsmanship I’ve seen from the players.’’

Continuing a good week in both areas was 9-year-old Madu Eneli.

Eneli advanced earlier in the week to the finals of the 10-and-under boys singles with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Colin Wind.

“The first set was very close, back and fourth action,” Simpson said. “The second set, Madu was able to pull ahead. They have played each other a lot in friendly competition and I knew this would be a good match.’’

Eneli also advanced Wednesday in the 12-and-under draw with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Jackson Mallady.

“I was very happy with how I played, but I didn’t have as much time to prepare as I did for the first match,’’ Eneli said. “It encouraged me to continue to try and play


Also continuing to play well was multiple division competitor Andy Bott.

Bott overcame a serious challenge from Kevin Pfeiffer 7-6 (3), 6-4 to advance in the boys 18-and-under boys draw. He has the unique ability to play with either hand.

“I serve left-handed but my forehand I hit is right-handed,’’ he said. “This was a really good match and I was able to battle it out for a win.’’

The chance to compete in multiple divisions is a key part of the tournament for Bott, who is in the 14-and-under, 16-and-under and 18-and-under draws.

“Because, I was looking to face new competition and I have been able to play good matches,’’ he said. “Playing earlier in the week made me more prepared for this match.’’

In other results, Kayla Evans defeated Kim Douglas 6-1, 6-0 in the girls 16-and-under consolation draw and Love Shah defeated Craig Campbell 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the boys 14-and-under consolation draw.

Play in the junior divisions will conclude Friday.

Because of increased interest this year, play in 10 adult divisions will begin Friday evening instead of Saturday.

“I’m very happy with the members in the adult divisions,’’ Simpson said. “Open mixed doubles, century mixed doubles, and men’s open singles look to be especially competitive.’’

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