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CEDAR RAPIDS — Brady Anderson and Haley Resnick are both highly-successful Coe College tennis players with high school state championships on their respective resumes.
Sunday at the Baird Iowa Open tennis tournament, the duo took the court as mixed doubles partners for the first time and displayed immediately-potent chemistry on the court.
Anderson and Resnick made the most of their mixed doubles debut and claimed the open division championship with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Calvin Song and Eve Small at Veterans Memorial Tennis Center.
“We both served pretty well, so that made life easy,” Anderson said. “If I missed a shot, the very next point she’d pick me up.”
Anderson won the Class 2A singles state championship for Linn-Mar in 2013, while Resnick was a two-time singles state champion in Class 1A (2013-14) for Davenport Assumption.
Their success as a tennis tandem is rooted in a meaningful bond away from competition. The pair have been dating for a couple of months and have fine-tuned their respective games by not only hitting with each other on the tennis court, but engaging in offshoot games like ping pong, beach tennis and racquetball.
“Just give us some time, maybe we’ll be world champs in a few months,” Anderson said with a laugh.
After an uneven victory in Friday’s quarterfinal, the couple announced their arrival as tournament contenders Saturday with an impressive 6-4, 6-2 victory over four-time mixed doubles national champions B.J. Fleming and Heather Fleming of Robins, the country’s top-ranked husband/wife mixed doubles team and pre-tournament practice partners of Anderson and Resnick.
“On Friday we made a lot of double faults,” Resnick said. “Luckily, I tried to limit those and then Brady being so tall and aggressive at the net, that obviously helps out.”
Anderson was a double-winner Sunday after closing the tournament with a men’s open doubles crown with 2016 Cedar Rapids Washington graduate Jackson Hoyt, 7-6, 6-2, over Thomas Wolle and Thies Kolln.
“We have games that complement each other pretty well,” Anderson said of Hoyt, who played doubles together throughout their youth. “We’re both pretty aggressive, we’re both pretty good doubles players.”
Anderson and Resnick both plan on competing separately in next week’s Iowa Intercollegiate Tennis Association Tournament at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Their next opportunity to play together as a mixed doubles team will be at the Midlands tournament in mid-August, also at the University of Iowa.
In the fall, both players will return to Coe for their junior campaigns, hoping to build on last season’s successes. The Coe men and women have each qualified for the NCAA tournament for five-straight seasons, and Anderson also qualified as an individual for the first time as a sophomore.
Both Anderson and Resnick are the defending Iowa Conference players of the year.
“I’m hoping I can build on that for next year and keep improving, hopefully get back there and see what happens,” Anderson said.
Heather Fleming, 39, rebounded from the mixed doubles defeat to Anderson and Resnick and claimed the women’s open singles and doubles titles Sunday, which included a 6-3, 4-6, 10-6 win over Small, a 2015 high school state champion from Iowa City High and current Northern Iowa player.
“I lost to her here three or four years ago,” Fleming said. “That was redemption, too. I wanted to beat her this time. It was a really, really close match. She is a very nice player.”
Fleming claimed the doubles crown with 2015 Cedar Rapids Washington graduate Lilly Hartman, 6-1, 6-1, over Resnick and Coe teammate Sarah Lasecki.
Grinnell College player Charlie Wilhelm claimed the men’s open singles title, 6-2, 6-0, over Alexander Punj of Fairfield.
Two players from recent high school team state champions — Cole Schneider of Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Vale Caro — both won 18-and-under singles titles earlier in the week.
Schneider — a doubles state tournament runner-up with Jack Wenzel in May — also won the 18-and-under doubles title with Wenzel.
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