Kirkland’s Lehmicke overcomes tired legs to reach finals

The last thing Kirkland’s Maggy Lehmicke needed Saturday was a three-set match in her women’s singles semifinal.

The University of Nebraska junior had already played — and lost in straight sets — a women’s doubles match Saturday, and had also participated in the mixed doubles draw earlier in the week.

So when she lost the first set of her singles match against top-seeded Julija Lukac, she was forced to dig deep.

“By the end of the first set, I was already playing better,” Lehmicke said. “I just think I came into the match a little tighter than usual and I’ve been really loose.”

Lehmicke took advantage of a wrist injury to Lukac, and much stronger play to earn a 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory in the 123rd annual Pacific Northwest Open at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club. She will face second-seeded Riko Shimizu, who defeated Haley Gay, 6-3, 6-2, at 11 a.m. Sunday in the championship.

“I would say I woke up this morning and I didn’t feel like I slept much,” Lehmicke said. “Everything is a little sore, nothing feels quite on, but I think that’s kind of how everybody is feeling. I got to cut myself some slack and keep fighting. You kind of forget about fatigue once you get into the match.”

Lehmicke, who will be a junior at Nebraska, captained the No. 1 singles and doubles teams for the Cornhuskers and compiled a 21-13 overall record in her sophomore season. She’ll face a fellow Division I athlete in Shimizu, who plays for the University of Washington.

Because she can’t take home the $2,000 first place prize if she wins — accepting money is against NCAA rules — Lehmicke has other goals to accomplish in the match.

“Keeping that fight and not letting my head get in the way,” Lehmicke said. “Just working on the things I’ve been working on all summer and hitting heavy balls, not getting too impatient, those kind of things. Those are more important than winning. If I came out — whatever the result — doing those things, then I’m not going to be disappointed.”

Men’s final features Pac-12 rematch

Former University of California standout Ben McLachlan has an idea of what Kyle McMorrow, who is a University of Washington alum, will throw — or more accurately, hit — at him in the men’s final.

The pair squared off throughout their college careers, with both getting the upper hand.

“Just go out and do the same thing,” McLachlan said. “I’m going to try and get as many back in play as I can. I’m just going to try and get a read on it early on and see what happens.”

McLachlan swept Joel Kielbowicz in the semifinals, 7-5, 6-3. McMorrow, an Olympia native, cruised past Garrett Brasseaux, 6-3, 6-1.

Now the pair — who compete on the International Tennis Federation circuit — will face off in a bit of a rematch.

“I want to try and be aggressive — he’s got a big serve so I’m not going to get that many chances in return games so I have to take my opportunities when I get them,” McMorrow said. “Most likely the break chances are going to be few and far between.”