OTTUMWA – When things got tough on Friday in the 18-and-under championship game against his twin brother, Quintin Hull had only a say.
The Spanish term for “let’s go” or “let’s do it” helped Hull win five matches in three days at the fourth annual Dan Staggs tennis tournament. Finally, after more than two hours in 90 degree heat and humidity, Quintin Hull simply fell to his knees in the middle of Jon Kneen Courts after Trey Hull was unable to return his brother’s serve on match point winning a 6-2, 6-7(4), brothers 6-3 battle for the 18-and-under division title. to fight a tough two-plus-hour battle with Trey Hull, winning the 18-and-under division title in a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3 battle of brothers on Friday afternoon.
“I have an Argentinian friend who is going to play tennis at Central College with Trey and me,” Quintin Hull said. “He’s really good and he used to say it in the worst moments of a game, like after a double fault. I just started copying him. I don’t know if he said vamos or vamanos, but I started to say vamanos and that keeps me going in every game.”
The same goes for the strategy of playing someone as familiar as a twin brother. Quintin Hull finally knew how to put the pressure on Trey, who was playing his sixth game in three days, by exploiting his brother’s weaknesses in the deciding third set.
“He has a crushed foot. He doesn’t have the same stamina as me,” said Quintin Hull. “I knew I had to outlive him longer to win.”
It looked like Quintin Hull was going to put away a dominant sweep in the league game, winning 11 of the first 14 games, before Trey Hull responded by resuming his aggression and attacking the net with more confidence. As a result, Trey Hull caught his brother at 5-5 and eventually forced a tiebreaker in the second set, winning 7-4 to put his brother back on his heels while sending the final to a third and final set.
“It’s some of the best tennis I’ve played in my life,” Trey Hull said of the second set. “I figured I’m too tired to keep moving, so I’m going to try to put the ball away every chance I get. I hit the ball as hard as I could and I used my forehand as effectively as ever.”
Trey Hull was unable to edge his brother in the deciding third set, however. Quintin Hull won the last three games of the match, throwing his hands in the air after winning a tough seventh game to open a 5-2 lead before initially falling to the pitch in exhaustion before getting up to split and a handshake and a hug with his brother after getting match point.
“I tried to target his backhand, hit him deep and if he was caught, hit a bunt to get him running,” Quintin Hull said of his winning game plan. “I knew if I could get him to the net, I knew I could finish him off. Trey can’t hit that monster forehand if he never gets the ball. We’ve faced each other a million times. I wouldn’t have wanted to play someone else.
“I just couldn’t continue in the third set,” added Trey Hull. “Quintin played very well. He played very defensively, had good volleys and served the ball pretty well.”
As the brothers battled for the Dan Staggs Under 18 Tennis Tournament title, Marcus Storto followed in his brother’s footsteps on Friday. Two years after Logan Storto defeated Fernando Guerrero for the 14-and-under title, younger brother Marcus had to fight to the bitter end to claim the same championship, eventually completing a 6-2, 7-6 sweep of Carter Mason winning a 7-2 tiebreaker.
“It’s really tough when you have to play in a tiebreaker. I thought we might end up going to a third set,” Marcus Storto said. “I have a lot of respect for Carter. He played really, really well. I was starting to get tired. Carter was doing a great job getting his serves and making big shots. He played amazing.”
Facing the prospect of being forced into a deciding third set in a match after nearly two hours in the heat of the moment, Storto returned to a simple strategy to clinch his first tennis title. Storto just kept the ball between the lines, focusing on his serves and returns to eventually lead to pocket aces in the championship-clinching tiebreaker.
“It’s the first tournament I’ve been to, so it’s really great to come out of here winning a championship,” Storto said. “It makes me more confident to go out there and try to win the next tournament I play.”