The Pacific Northwest Open tennis tournament got off to a strong start Monday at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club, with more than 40 competitors in the men’s bracket, featuring plenty of local talent.
Men from ages 16 to 40 competed, including players from Olympia, Lacey, Bellevue and Tacoma. Competitors also traveled from Oregon, California, Montana, Colorado, Hawaii and Wisconsin.
Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club professional Nick Moxley said this year’s tournament has a larger draw than previous years. Normally, qualifying rounds begin at 10 a.m. but because of the large field, they are starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
“Last year we had only 23 girls sign up,” Moxley said. “But this year we have 36.”
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There were six courts in use and a crowd of about 50 watched as 12 players competed on the court throughout the day.
It was a full day of tennis and Moxley was impressed by what he saw.
“There were a lot of real close and equal matches out there,” Moxley said. “They are all fighting to get into the main draw.”
The main draw, which begins Thursday, features 16 players. Eight of whom are seeded and will face the lower seeds from Monday and Tuesday’s qualifying matches.
“We’ll definitely see a bunch of close matches with a lot on the line,” Moxley said. “A bunch of seasoned vets versus solid rookies.”
One of the solid rookies is 16-year old Jackson Suh from Bellevue. Moxley said Suh is one of the better amateurs in the country.
“We want to give everyone a chance to compete here,” Moxley said. “If an average Joe from the local tennis club can get far that is always a great story.”
The women’s tournament start’s Wednesday and features No. 1 seed Petra Rampre, a Slovenian who reached 151st in the singles rankings in 2012, against Sammamish’s Michelle Wang.
There will also be a doubles tournament for the men starting Thursday and the women on Friday.