Playing singles is the only tennis that Miranda Synesael has played until this summer.
The Seeger sophomore-to-be adjusted quite well as she paired with Seeger assistant tennis coach Ryan White to win the mixed doubles championship at the Greater Danville Area Open sponsored by the Commercial-News, Jocko’s and Pepsi.
“It was a big surprise, especially playing against older players than me,’’ Synesael said. “I didn’t expect to win, but I thought we could go pretty far.’’
Synesael and White defeated the team of Jill Haas and Nathan Burkowski, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the championship match on Sunday at the Danville Tennis Center.
But, this weekend was only the second time that Synesael had played doubles, let alone mixed doubles.
“It’s a lot different and it’s a big switch from playing singles,’’ she said. “You have to learn how to play as a team and adjust to your partner.’’
Even White, who had won a several mixed doubles titles with his sister Ashley White, was surprised that they were able to win the championship.
“This was our second tournament and we have gotten progressively further in each tournament,’’ said White, who paired with Synesael at the McTagertt Memorial Tennis Tournament in June. They lost in the semifinals. “Doubles is all about teamwork and how long you have played together.
“My sister and I would normally play together, but I had a find a new partner for this summer.’’
White acknowledged he went with a player he knew pretty well from coaching her this past spring.
“Her power game — the fact that she has pace on her serves when she is serving well is a main reason,’’ he said. “Outside of the Haas girls (Jill and Lori), there are not a whole lot of female players around here that can do that.
“If you have someone like Miranda, who is equal to the male counterpart, that is a big help.’’
And White, who only plays doubles because of a bad shoulder, believes that doubles is a great learning tool for a singles’ player.
“At Seeger, she was strictly a singles player,’’ he said. “I think, more than anything, doubles helps your singles game.
“You learn a lot from it. And I think it’s good to get that experience.’’
In the men’s open singles championship, Steve Dively won his very first Greater Danville Area Open title with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Dylan Helton.
“Well, I’ve been playing since I was 14, so some might say that I was due,’’ Dively said. “I’ve played in this tournament 10-15 times and this is my first championship.’’
But, Dively quickly admitted that there were no “Simpsons or Bushes” in the tournament this year, and there was another difference this year.
“We played a little different tennis because of the heat this week,’’ he said. “It certainly had a huge impact on the tournament.
“I started drinking mass amounts of water on Thursday and I don’t think I’ve ever had so much water.’’
In the women’s open singles championship, Lori Haas earned her third straight title with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Effie Wind.
“I’m happy with the way that I played my singles match,’’ said Haas, who only needed to beat one opponent to earn her title. “It would be nice if more people signed up for it.’’
Haas, who also claimed the 18-and-under singles title, said she played better on Sunday.
“I wasn’t very happy with the way I played in the 18s,’’ she said. “Today, I served a lot better.
“Playing matches always helps and it’s different than just hitting. You have to deal with nerves, tightness and an opponent.’’
In other action on Sunday, Duane Drollinger and Rob Grider each picked up a pair of titles.
Drollinger and Grider combined to beat Bill Ice and Matt Groppin in the men’s 45 doubles title match, 6-3, 6-3.
In the men’s 45 singles, Drollinger defeated Bob White, 6-0, 6-0.
While the men’s open doubles championship, Grider combined with Matthew Kidwell to beat Addison Newell and Dylan Helton, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in the title match.