published Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Bartlett faces Newman for TVOC championship

In all their years of playing junior tennis, Catherine Newman of Greensboro, N.C., and Claire Bartlett of Chattanooga crossed paths only once.

Today they will meet for a second time -- this time for the women's open singles title in the Tennessee Valley Open Championships at Manker Patten Tennis Club.

The top-seeded Newman advanced to the final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory Saturday against T.J. Welford, while second-seeded Bartlett had a slightly easier time, defeating Courtney Collins 6-3, 6-3. The championship match is set for 9 this morning.

"This weekend has been great for me," said Newman, a recent Vanderbilt graduate. "I think I've played pretty well and pretty solid."

Newman finished her Commodores career with a 106-51 singles record and was voted All-Southeastern Conference for the fourth consecutive season. Bartlett just completed her sophomore campaign for NCAA runner-up Florida.

"She's from here, so I expected to see her (in the final)," Newman said. "I'm going to try to sleep well and come out ready to play tomorrow."

In the men's open division, two accomplished pros will take the court when Brian Baker of Nashville faces Sweden's Marcus Sarstrand in the 10:30 a.m. final.

Baker defeated second-seeded and 2008 TVOC champion Robbye Poole 6-1, 6-2 in a semifinal, while Sarstrand dismantled top-seeded Scoville Jenkins of Atlanta 6-1, 6-1.

Baker's career includes a 2005 U.S. Open victory over ninth-seeded Gastin Gaudio and juniors wins against current high-ranked pros Andy Murray and Novad Djokovic.

Sarstrand was strategic in earning a victory over Jenkins, making nearly every shot possible against the power player. The Swede has had a successful pro career as well, including a defeat of Grand Slam record-holder Roger Federer.

The men's and women's doubles championship matches are scheduled for noon today. The mixed doubles final is set for 2 p.m.

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