Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Halftime for Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League

At the halfway point of the Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League, Commissioner Jim “Katman” Katterfield’s Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA) continues to hold the league lead that it snatched right out of the gate, despite garnering their lowest point total (5) thus far at Fiddlesticks on Friday, December 2. In addition to retaining the lead, BRA now has the only undefeated duo that has played all four dual matches in the League.
Boston Retirement Advisors vs. AutoDrive

On Court 1, Manuel Encalada &Tyler Owens of BRA hung on for a three-set victory to keep their unblemished record intact. They topped Denny Rager & Jared Kalpin of Auto Drive (AD) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Guess these two are the Green Bay Packers of our League. They will face Scott Harrington & Shawn Hedrick next at Heritage Palms on January 13.
In Second Doubles, Frank Fourgeau & Luke Andreae suffered their first loss at the hands of the hard hitting Elliott DeBolt & Kevin Kearns. Threatened with a first set bagel, down 0-5, Frank and Luke took seven of the next nine games, losing the first 1-6, and claiming the second 6-1. The match then went to a third-set super-tiebreak, with Elliott and Kevin squeaking out the 10-8 victory.

On Court 3, with the return of “Fast Freddie” Hindle to the fray, Commish Jim Katterfield returned to the winners circle, downing Alex Hermeto & John “JJ” Jerome, 6-1, 6-3. In all fairness, I’m told that JJ was nursing an injury and Alex hadn’t been in the weight room enough to carry him. Katman dropped his first match last time out, so was happy that Fast Freddie returned to carry him to victory. This duo remains undefeated as well; they just haven’t played all the matches.
Fourth Doubles was more in keeping with the type of drama we’re used to in this league. Rob Vinal & Larry Gagnon took two tiebreaks from Dave Dooley & Rick Calton to earn two points for AD. The good news for Double D and Rick is that they got 10 more games against Rob and Larry this time than last. Progress is good; no?

Jeff Timmer & Erica Cossairt faced a tough duo of subs in Belinda Dufrene & Tony Martin, and went down in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

Harborside Dental vs. Johnny Malloy's
At First Doubles, Mike Curran & Sergio Rebolledo brought their best for the first time this season, and were too much for Scott Harrington & Shawn Hedrick on that day. Blistering forehands was the theme of the day in this one, and Mike and Serg served up a bagel with no cream cheese in Set No.1 (6-0), before Scott and Shawn gave them a tussle in the 6-4 second.
Joel and I were no match for Jeff Diggs & Patrick Kangwa on this day. Jeff and Patrick barely broke a sweat in taking us down 6-3, 6-3 before Jeff’s home crowd. They served well, returned well, and outplayed us in all phases of the game. I played much heavier than my official weight, and my partner just couldn’t carry me through this one. It won’t be getting any easier next time out, so I’m hoping to rediscover my A-game before January 13.

After the two straight-setters on the first two courts, it’s no surprise that the next three matches went to third-set super-tiebreaks. On Court 3, Mike Lawver & Mark Drons lost another heartbreaker, this time to Jorge Magalhaes & Todd Wise, 4-6, 6-3, 8-10.
At Fourth Doubles, Anthony Hatori & Steve Shortridge took down Fran Coryell & Tony Halski 6-4, 4-6, 10-7. Steve seems to be making the super-tiebreak match a specialty. I think all but one of his matches may have gone to super-tiebreaks,  and I think he’s won just about all of them too.

At the Mixed Doubles slot, I think we had the match of the first half of the season. Christie Bradley & Dan Moenning finally overcame Kerry Kendrick & Armor Persons in the toughest match played in Pro League thus far this season.
The match was in progress when I arrived at Fiddlesticks that afternoon. After finishing my match and socializing a bit, I asked about match scores, only to find out that they were still playing! I stood there for another 10 minutes or so, watching as

Christie and Dan outlasted Kerry and Armor, 7-6, 6-7, 10-4. Wow! From what I observed, not only was the match a long one, but it was well-played. I’m betting Armor will disagree with me, but hey, I’m entitled to my opinion.

At the end of the day, the teams had just moved a little closer together, with just two points separating the second-through-fourth-place teams, and a total of five points separating first-through-fourth. The standings are: 1. Boston Retirement Advisors (26); 2. AutoDrive (23); 3. Harborside Dental (22); and 4. Johnny Malloy’s (21). When play resumes on January 13 at Heritage Palms, BRA will battle JM, and HD will face AD.
Before the season began, I predicted that we would have some really exciting match-ups this season, and I’m glad that our pros have had my back on that one. The straight-set victory has been the aberration in the League thus far, and down to the wire slugfests like we saw in the mixed doubles match described above has been the norm. When the action picks up again next month, I expect more of the same. Have a terrific holiday season and the Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League will be back with you in 2012! Game, set, match….T A

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