Monday, November 21, 2011

Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League @ Pelican Landings

Perhaps it's because we are in the heart of season, but whatever the reason is, the Fort Myers Pro League is playing to record crowds. An estimated 500 strong attended this past event at Pelican Landing in Bonita Springs this past Friday, and the tennis was as hotly contested as ever.

Harborside Dental (HD) vs. Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA)

Suiting up for HD, Mike “Da Dawg” Curran & Sergio Rebolledo crossed swords with Manuel Encalada & Tyler Owens of BRA, the only team yet to experience a loss at the No.1 Doubles spot. For a while there it seemed as though Da Dawg and Serg were going to live up to their immense potential. They downed Manuel and TO 6-4 in the first, and even after losing the second 4-6, they had match point at 9-7 in the super-tiebreak. With Serg serving, I’m going to the bank on that one. Uh, I woulda been making a withdrawal…Manuel and TO pulled it out 11-9.

The BRA train chugged on at the No. 2 Doubles slot, as Joel and I dropped our first match to the still undefeated Frank Fourgeau & Luke Andreae. We lost a tough first set, 5-7, then posted a 6-1 second set to even the match, and all seemed right with the tennis world.

Before ya could say, “Love-40” we’re down 1-4 in the third, and it didn’t get any better. With some stellar play from “Double F,” and crunch time heroics from Luke we bit the dust 1-6. I must admit it was the sweetest 1-6 I’ve ever tasted. That was the most enjoyable Pro League match I’ve played, bar none. Thanks guys! We’ll get em next time Joel.

On Court 3, finally the big moment we’ve all been waiting for… well
everyone on our HD team anyway…Mike Lawver & Mark Drons took down the previously undefeated Jim "Katman Katterfield" with Tom Fisher subbing for Fred Hindle (guess we now know why Katman was undefeated- wink). But Katman and Fish didn’t go quietly into that good night at Pelican Landing. They took the first set 7-5, lost the second 4-6, then succumbed to Lawver and Dronsy’s desperation effort (no way they're losing three in a row!), surrendering the super-tiebreak 7-10.

On Court 4, Toni Halski & Fran Coryell continued their trademark of battling valiantly each time out, but they came up a bit short for the third consecutive time, losing to Dave Dooley & Rick Calton 4-6, 4-6. I have watched some of their matches, and it sure isn’t for lack of trying that they haven’t yet posted a “W.” I suspect one is coming soon, and when it does, I’m betting the wins will just keep on coming. Hang tough guys!

On the Mixed Doubles court, Christie Bradley & Dan Moenning slipped in a straight-setter over Erica Cossairt & Jeff Timmer (6-4, 6-4). Ya know, both Christie and Dan are such soft-spoken nice people off the court that it’s amazing to watch the transformation etched all over their faces during competition. Oh, they’re still very polite and pleasant…until the point gets started, and then it’s Nightmare on Elm Street meets Transformers. Love the “W” guys! We needed it!

Johnny Malloy’s (JM) vs. AutoDrive (AD)

On Court 1, Shawn Hedrick & Scotty Harrington of JM must have breathed a sigh of relief after taking down Denny Rager & Jared Kalpin of AD in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Shawn and Scotty had yet to get a win, and Denny and Jared had straight-setted the Dawg and Serg the previous match. 

So somebody tell me how Denny and Jared went down in straights, to give Shawn & Scotty their first “W?” Go figure. Guess you could call that parity…With the exception of Manuel and TO, first court results seem like a crap shoot.

On Court 2, Elliott DeBolt & Jim Harris (sub) for AD took down Patrick Kangwa & Jeff Diggs of JM in two tiebreak sets. This is the third tough loss in a row for Patrick and Jeff. Their two previous losses ended in tiebreaks as well. G
uess the key for Patrick and Jeff is to avoid those tiebreaks! Uh oh, those boys are due for a win and they play Joel and I at Fiddlesticks, Jeff’s home court, next. Hmmm, that doesn’t bode well. Joel my friend, bring your A-game cuz you know Fiddlesticks and I don’t get along.

On Court 3, John Jerome & Alex Hermeto playing for AD gutted out a tough victory over JM's Jorge Magalhaes & Todd Wise.  John and Alex took the first set 6-3, dropped the second 4-6, before closing out the super-tiebreak 10-7.

In No. 4 Doubles, Steve Shortridge & Anthony Hatori of JM did the unthinkable, coming back from a 1-6 first-set loss to beat Larry “The Legend” Gagnon and Rob “The Body” Vinal of AD 7-5 in the second and 10-5 in the third-set super-tiebreak. Shortridge reminds me of one of those college

quarterbacks who they say will never make it in the pros, then all he does is win; just a Tim Tebow kinda guy.

In Mixed Doubles, Terry See & Carolyn Lawver of AD pulled
out a squeaker, edging Armor Persons & Kerry Kendrick of JM 6-2, 4-6, and 10-7 in the super-tiebreak. I wish I had a dollar for every super-tiebreak Terry and Carolyn have played, and .50 for every one they’ve won. John Wayne may have starred in the original True Grit, but this duo epitomizes that concept on the tennis court.

Match totals for the event at Pelican Landing and overall (in parentheses) are as follows:
1. Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA)= 7 (21)
2. AutoDrive (AD)= 6 (17.5)
3. Harborside Dental (HD)= 6 (16)
4. Johnny Malloy’s (JM)= 6 (14)

The terrific crowd in attendance at the Pelican Landing stop, made it three great turnouts in a row. As alluded to above, the next Pro League will be held at
Fiddlesticks Country Club on December 2, with some matches starting at 4pm and others at 5:30pm. We expect another great spectator showing as Fiddlesticks always provides terrific concessions and nice viewing for spectators. We look forward to seeing you there! Game, set, match, T A....

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