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White not too old to take Muny title

While the string of three straight titles is exciting enough for Ken White, there's another record that goes along with it that makes him even prouder -- oldest male winner.

White set the mark back in 2005 when he won his first Buffalo Muny Men's Open title at age 43.

Now at 45, he extended the mark, taking his third title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over David Pourin in the finals Sunday afternoon in Delaware Park.

"I'm in my 40s now against these kids and I'm outlegged, I'm outconditioned but I'm not outsmarted," White said. "Twenty years ago, winning this tournament would have meant nothing to me. Who's in the Munys, a couple of good Buffalo players? I was playing the national amateurs up and down the East Coast. Who would bother playing this? But now that I'm older, I'm realizing that it's tougher to continually play at that level."

White survived a windy day on the courts when gusts would suddenly change direction of the ball. But the former Division III All-American at the University at Buffalo is used to the diversions of Western New York municipal tennis.

"Wind was definitely a factor for both of us, but I grew up at UB, so some of my best wins were on windy days," said White, who played at UB from 1983-87. "Indoor players aren't used to this: sun, wind, balls rolling over from other courts, cars driving by. It's a different game out here. You've got to be an outdoor player to play here. You've got to be a Buffalo player to play here. . . . I've played everywhere in the country. Nowhere do you play tennis like you play it here."

To win his third title in these conditions White needed two things -- a consistent serve and a steady net game.

Both came through for him.

In the first set, White broke Pourin for a 4-2 lead, then served out the set for the 6-3 win.

In the second set, he broke for a 3-2 lead. Up, 5-3, he broke Pourin in the third deuce game to win the set and match, 6-3.

Pourin, an 18-year-old from Cognac, France, is staying in North Buffalo with the Genco family as part of a private student exchange program. He played well at times, making several difficult and beautiful shots, but missing the easy ones.

"[Pourin] was very deceiving today," White said. "The better the shot that I hit the better the shot that came out of him. I'm pushing the corners and he's flipping it by me. I hit up the middle and he blows it into the fence.

"So my thought was just to hold serve. I was determined not to let him break me and I was serving well enough and he wasn't returning that well. Even when he was [returning] I would get some decent volleys. He was going to have to really pass me time and time again to beat me and I didn't think he could do that."

White recently played in the national 45-and-over hard court tournament in California where he won his first three matches before falling to the No. 6 seed. He is planning on playing in the National Senior Men's Grass Court Tournament in Philadelphia Aug. 26-Sept 1.

This year's Muny tournament featured 505 entrants competing in 29 different events.


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