Monday, March 19, 2012

Tennis Cranks up as Season Winds Down

Catching up to all that’s happening in tennis is like catching up to a Stenger drop shot! Things are still hopping around here.

Just this past Thursday, the FGCU Men’s Tennis team pulled off a really nice come-from-behind-win against Mercer (click here for recap) to go 2-0 in the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASC). The Eagles have another important match against a conference opponent on Friday, when they take on University of South Carolina, Upstate.

Julia gets the "W!"
On Friday, Park Meadow Tennis Center hosted the season’s final edition of the Masters Pro League (click here for recap), and on Sunday morning, a new tennis star was born: Julia Curran won her very first tournament at Three Oaks Park. In response to the win, her dad Mike said, “At least one Curran can still win.”

Julia played in the Lee County CTA Rookie Hard Court, winning her first two matches in straight sets. She knocked off the No.2 Seed in the semis, and faced the No.1 Seed, Nikki Perrino of Naples in the final. Julia lost the first set 3-6, but dug in and took the second set, 6-4.

Nothing like playing a super-tiebreak first time out the blocks, huh? In about as momentous a struggle as one can experience in a 12-and-under event, Julia battled her way to an 11-9 victory to claim her first (of many I predict) tournament title.

Lynn Bruner, the tournament director seemed to be about as pleased with the event as the Currans. She noted, “The CTA [Lee County Community TennisAssociation (LCCTA)] has been running rookie tournaments for about five years now, and this is the most players we’ve had in a rookie tournament.” Way to go LCCTA, way to go Julia!

Other local winners include Sangee Prieto in Girls’ 10, Gianna Drayer in Girls’ 14, Adrian Vera of Fort Myers in the Boys’ 12, Dylan Whiteside of Fort Myers in Boys’ 14, and Joshua Galang in Boys’ 16. There just may be some future stars in this group as well.

While the newcomers were playing the Rookie tourney, the big-hitters were playing a Super Series event in Naples at Cambier Park. The draws haven’t been updated, but John Carlin of Fort Myers had reached the quarterfinal in the Boys’ 14 Singles, then teamed with Philippe Niño of Naples to win the Boys’ 14 Doubles.

Brandon Wortkotter of Fort Myers, seeded fourth in the Boys’ 16s, was also at play in Naples. He reached the quarters before falling to No.7 Seed Sean Chi of Weston. Chi was the only players to take a set from eventual winner, sixth-seeded Oscar Janglin of Sarasota.

Shani Idlette of Fort Myers was the No.8 Seed in the Girls’ 12, and she made it to the quarters before losing to No.1 Seed Jenna Dean.  Fifth-seeded Viva Laas of Bonita Springs reached the quarters as well, but had to withdraw due to illness.  

Ja’Cara Gillis of Fort Myers was seeded first in the Girls’ 14, but fell to eventual winner, Victoria Emma of Naples in the semis. Emma fed the finalist a double bagel, so she obviously brought considerable to the table.

In the Girls’ 16, Rebecca Morse of Fort Myers came in as the No.1 Seed and did all she could to maintain that seeding. Her very first match was a tough one, winning 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 in the super-tiebreak. She played two close sets in the semis, winning 7-5, 6-4, then had a fierce battle with eventual winner, third-seeded Maria Breast of Pembroke Pines in the final.

After dropping the first set 2-6, Rebecca clawed her way back to win the second 7-5. A tooth-and-nail scrape ensued in the third-set-super-tiebreak, with Maria claiming a 13-11 victory. Not to be denied a title, Rebecca partnered with Thandiwe Kangwa to win the Girls’ 16 Doubles, getting the best of Maria and Natalie Amortegui of Weston 8-6 in the Final.

I’m sure there has been much more happening, particularly with teams and leagues, and I’m working on getting something out on those. There’s good stuff on the horizon too. Park Meadow is continuing its fast and furious finish to the season with Club Championships the next two weekends, and Madisen’s match is coming up as well on the 31st. Shoot me an email if you want to get the word out. Until next, game, set, match…T A

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