Ray Reed played Richard Rivera, both of Haverhill, for a third round spot. Reed returns a serve of Rivera. Reed moved onto the next round with a score of 6-0 and 6-0.

Seeded first in the 14-player field, favorite Ray Reed lived up to his top billing by capturing the men's singles crown at the annual Haverhill City Tennis Tournament at the John J. Lynch courts at Winnekenni Park.

Reed, who won three previous singles titles and was runner-up four times, defeated third-seeded Todd Proia of Haverhill in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, for his fourth singles championship and first since 2003.

Reed's victory capped off two terrific days of tennis at the Winnekenni courts, which are named after John J. Lynch, the former Haverhill High tennis coach and longtime tennis booster in the city, whose son, Peter Lynch, is tourney director.

With 14 singles entries, the tournament, which started in the 1930s and is one of the oldest in the state, had its largest field since 2001, according to Peter Lynch.

Reed made a methodical march to the finals by defeating former Central Catholic basher Matt Sansoucie in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-0. Sansoucie plays tennis for Bentley College now. In the quarterfinals, Reed beat Richard Rivera, 6-0, 6-0.

Proia's road to the title tilt was more arduous.

After serving and volleying past Bill Williamson, 6-1, 7-6, in the first round and Jack San Antonio, 6-2, 6-0, in the quarterfinals, Proia faced second-seed Howie Smyth in a slamming semifinal that was perhaps the match of the weekend.

Proia dispatched Smyth, a former Haverhill High and Bridgewater State tennis standout, in the first set, 6-3. But Smyth roared back to win the second set, 6-1. Trailing Smyth 3-5 in the decisive third set, Proia reeled off three straight wins to seal the win and earn his first-ever appearance in the finals.

Just hours later in the finals, Proia appeared drained from his match with Smyth, said Lynch, and was facing a buzz saw in Reed, who prevailed 6-0, 6-2.

"It was evident his (Proia's) semifinal marathon had taken its toll," said Lynch, noting it was a "successful tournament" for Proia, who, after four previous semifinal losses, advanced to his first final after having competed in the tournament for more than 10 years.

The doubles portion of the tournament is this weekend at the John J. Lynch courts. Action begins Saturday, June 23, with entries accepted until Thursday, June 21. For information or to register, contact Lynch at 978-373-3083.

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