Ashland duo enjoys reunion

Three years after teaming up to win Big Al's Tennis Tournament, Evan Schleining and Ari Zaslow picked up right where they left off.

The former Ashland High standouts coasted in the opening round of the men's open doubles bracket, downing Medford's Michael and David Tribble, 6-1, 6-1, Friday to advance to the semifinals today.

The second-seeded Schleining and Zaslow, back together for the first time since their 2006 win, dismissed the Tribbles in less than 45 minutes.

"It's been a while, but I thought we were really strong," said Schleining, who recently completed his junior year as a member of the University of Portland tennis team. "It felt good."

Zaslow, who starred at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, is playing in his first tournament since he suffered a broken left arm and cracked ribs as the result of a motorcycle accident a few months ago. He partnered with Schleining in 2003, when the pair made it to the semifinals of the Class 4A doubles tournament.

"Our returns and volleys were pretty good, I thought," Zaslow said. "We just wanted to put balls in play and keep the pressure on them, and we executed that very well.

"It also doesn't hurt to have (Schleining) on my side," Zaslow joked. "He pretty much takes the pressure off me."

Schleining's big left-handed serve stole the show, both handcuffing and tailing from the Tribble duo.

He notched eight aces in only three games of service. Up 2-0 in the third game, Schleining double-faulted twice before finishing the game with consecutive aces.

Schleining again double-faulted twice to begin the second, set but recovered with three consecutive aces to seal the first game, and then hit three-straight aces to end the fourth game.

"I had to just slow down and keep my posture up," Schleining said. "Once I got in a rhythm, it was just a matter of hitting the ball."

Schleining and Zaslow next face Stewart and David Hutton, who advanced with a 6-4, 7-6 (14) win over David Stollberg and Max Littlejohn. The match is slated for noon at Hunter Park.

David Tribble, who will begin his senior year at North Medford in the fall, downed Ashland High junior-to-be Quincy Briscoe in the first round of the men's open singles, 6-1, 6-1 later in the afternoon.

Briscoe, who played No. 1 singles for the Grizzlies in the spring, failed to find a rhythm against Tribble, converting on only one point in the final three games.

"It just seemed like my feet were stuck in cement all afternoon; I just couldn't get them moving," Briscoe said. "I think if I could have got them moving I would have been able to hit the ball a little better, but I just couldn't find the sweet spot."

Schleining is the No. 1 seed in the singles bracket and received a bye in the first round. He will face Michael Tribble at 8 a.m. today, while David Tribble will tangle with Jeff Stollberg.

The event, in its 34th year, runs through Sunday at Hunter Park and the Southern Oregon University tennis courts.

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