The fire long smoldering in Christiana Raymond appears to be back. Raymond, a Columbus Academy graduate and freshman at DePaul this fall, won the women's open championship at the ITA Summer Circuit tournament July 17-19 at Ohio State.

The fire long smoldering in Christiana Raymond appears to be back. Raymond, a Columbus Academy graduate and freshman at DePaul this fall, won the women's open championship at the ITA Summer Circuit tournament July 17-19 at Ohio State.

Raymond defeated Niki Flower, a senior at Upper Arlington High School, 6-4, 6-4 in a Columbus-dominated women's final July 19.

"(Winning this tournament) means a lot to me," said Raymond, who won the 2006 Division II singles championship for Worthington Christian and the 2008 doubles title with Val Micek for Columbus Academy. "For the first time in a while, I have that fighting mentality back."

Ohio State athletes and former state champions dominated the tournament. Ohio State's Nelson Vick defeated teammate Wyatt Lippert 6-3, 6-2 for the men's championship. Ohio State's Peter Kobelt is a 2009 New Albany graduate who won the Division I singles title his senior year and the 2007 Division II doubles title with Skyler Engel. Kobelt and Vick defeated Ohio Northern's Joey Frank and Kenyon's Austin Griffin 8-5 to win the men's doubles title. Purdue's Jennifer Rabot and Gisella Pere won the women's doubles title after the Buckeyes' Kelsey Haviland and Cami Hubbs retired after holding a 4-3 lead.

Defeating Flower was a perfect sendoff for Raymond before joining DePaul's squad. Raymond, who never lost a high school match, skipped her sophomore season because of a back injury and her senior year to concentrate on her college search and to play USTA tournaments.

"I tried to be aggressive and come in at the net, but she's so fast and she puts you in some uncomfortable positions," Flower said. "She's a tough player because she scraps so much."

Flower won the Division I singles title last fall and was second at state in doubles in 2008 with Stacey Cox. Flower was one of two Ohioans named a National High School Tennis Foundation All-American and was the first high school student to reach the ITA final in the past decade.

"It's good to see my own progress in the last few months," Flower said. "Obviously I wanted to win this one, but I defeated some players that three or four months ago I wouldn't have beaten."

•Winning the men's singles title showed that Vick has fully recovered from a wrist injury.

"I played Wyatt in the fall and I think he beat me by the same score," Vick said. "I knew I had to improve a lot over the year. (Enrolling at Ohio State) in March and working out with the team helped me improve."

A little more than a year ago, Vick slipped on the court at a national tournament and broke his left wrist. It took him nearly nine months to return to form.

"When I started to play again, I was losing to people I hadn't lost to in a long time," he said. "I felt like my strokes were falling apart and everyone else was improving and I was just staying the same.

"Since I have been working with (Ohio State coach Ty Tucker), I feel like I've passed the level I was at before the injury. I feel like I am improving in my game."