Palmetto Cup tennis

Carter sets all-time record

Special to The StateMay 27, 2013 

— Hayley Carter of Columbia became the winningest player in the history of the Palmetto Championships on Monday.

Collecting singles and doubles titles in the girls’ 18s, she ended her run in the Palmetto with 16 championships dating to 2004.

“If I were to say one Palmetto was special, I’d say this one because of the record-breaker,” Carter said.

“I’ve been working pretty hard. I had an ankle injury last year that was pretty bad. So it’s great getting back to where I was and better than I was before the injury,’’ she said.

The home-schooled UNC recruit, who trains on Hilton Head Island, beat her doubles partner, Ansley Speaks of Simpsonville, 6-0, 6-0.

“This is her eighth watch,” joked tournament director Rex Maynard, referring to Carter’s eight singles championships and one of the prizes awarded to singles title-holders.

“She played phenomenally. There’s not much you can do,’’ said Speaks, a Furman tennis signee. Last fall she won her fourth state 4A-3A title while helping Mauldin to a state championship.

Speaks said she never has beaten Carter.

Later Monday, Speaks helped Carter to the overall record and to Carter’s eighth Palmetto doubles title. The win made Speaks a four-time Palmetto champ (two singles and two doubles).

“It’s a blast playing with such a great player. She’s such a humble person,” Speaks said of their relatively recent doubles partnership.

The 57th Palmetto Championships will conclude Tuesday.

Among the singles finalists:

Furman recruit Adam Steryous of Taylors will try to win his first Palmetto title. He is the top seed in the boys’ 18s.

In the boys’ 14s, Spencer Brown of Spartanburg will go for his sixth straight singles title, which would break the Palmetto record for consecutive titles.

No. 1 seed Brown beat No. 4 seed Chambers Easterling of Spartanburg, 6-1, 7-5, to advance to the final. Brown will face No. 2 seed Paul Hendrix of Murrells Inlet.

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