The legend of Brian Hawkes’ domination of outdoor racquetball grew a little bigger Sunday. But other than that, the story was pretty much the same.
Hawkes defeated Dan Southern, 21-7, 10-21, 11-4, to win the men’s pro singles division of the National Outdoor Racquetball Championships held at Orange Coast College in front of 450. Hawkes has won the title two straight years and six of the last seven.
Hawkes won $300 for first place and Southern earned $150.
This was the fifth time they had met in the final and the fifth time Hawkes, of Fountain Valley, had defeated Southern, of Huntington Beach. Hawkes won the title from 1981-84, and also 1986-87. The only year he didn’t play Southern was 1983.
In keeping with the spirit of repeats, Martha McDonald of Florida defeated Lynn Adams of Costa Mesa, 21-7, 10-21, 11-8, in the women’s final. It was the seventh consecutive time they had played in the final and the third consecutive time McDonald, who won $300, had defeated Adams, who won $150, in a tiebreaker. Adams won the first four meetings.
Hawkes had seven service aces in the first game, including three straight as he opened an 11-3 lead on the way to a 21-7 victory. In the second game, Hawkes struggled with his serve and Southern started to hit his consistent winners to tie the match.
“In the second game I just couldn’t find my serve,” Hawkes said. “I was missing a lot of first serves, and all my second serves were right to him (Southern), and he was just rolling them out for points.”
The loss snapped Hawkes’ 19-game tournament winning streak over the last two years. Hawkes was upset in the quarterfinals by Mike Bohne in 1985, then won five consecutive matches last year to win the title. He won four matches and a game this year before Southern defeated him.
Hawkes had three aces in the tiebreaker and opened with an 8-1 lead before winning, 11-4.
“I told myself to come out and start hitting the serve hard in the tiebreaker,” Hawkes said.
Southern had three service aces in the tiebreaker but struggled with Hawkes’ serve.
“It just went the way it went in the tiebreaker,” Southern said. “I hit some good shots that were really close but were called out. When the game is to 11 points, a few breaks can really turn it.”
There seems to be no end to Hawkes’ reign as a singles champion. At 23, he’s one of the youngest players in the men’s pro division. Southern is 33, and Mark Harding, whom Hawkes defeated in the semifinals, is 27. Hawkes also defeated Harding to win the state singles title in March and the national warmup title at OCC two weeks ago.
“I plan to keep on defending my title for as long as I can come out here and play,” Hawkes said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
After the singles victory, Hawkes and Harding teammed to defeat Southern and Ed Andrews, 21-11, 21-12, to win the men’s pro doubles championship and $150 each. Southern and Andrews each won $75.
In the women’s singles final, McDonald defeated Adams in the first game, 21-7, and at the end of the game, Adams, who is the No. 1 ranked indoor player, said in jest to the crowd: “Boy, do I need an outdoor lesson.”
In the second game; Adams turned a 5-4 lead into an 18-4 lead in two quick bursts. Adams scored five consecutive points to lead, 10-4. McDonald broke serve, but Adams broke it back and scored eight consecutive points to take a 14-point lead.
McDonald opened an 8-1 lead in the tiebreaker, only to have Adams pull within one, at 9-8. But McDonald broke Adams’ serve and scored the final two points for the championship.
Adams and Marci Drexler, the No. 3 ranked women’s indoor player, defeated Dee Dee Catcherman and Sherri Knecht, 21-15, 19-21, 11-7, to win the women’s open doubles title.