Friday, April 20, 2012

Tennis Happenings in, around and about Fort Myers/Naples

Last weekend was a good weekend for Fort Myers tennis! Steve Shortridge and I made the three hour, 45 minute trek across the State to play in the USPTA Florida Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix event at Eau Gallie Yacht Club, and we both played in the finals of our divisions.

FGCU Update
Even better for local tennis fans was news of the victory that FGCU’s Men’s Tennis posted against Belmont in Tennessee last Saturday to gain entry to the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament in their first season of eligibility.

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According to Coach C. J. Weber, “…with our backs against the wall, we played the best tennis of the year. After losing to Lipscomb 4-3 the previous day, the boys’ true colors came out and they showed ultimate resiliency.” The Eagles came into the match with Belmont, which Coach Weber called, “a veteran squad” (all juniors and seniors), needing a win to clinch a berth in the Conference Championship.

After dropping the doubles point, the Eagles soared with clutch performances from Tianyu Bao at No.1 Sinlges, Dean Tsamas at No.3, Matt Rock at No.4, and Mike Beiler on Court.6. 

Jackson Moore and Lance Lvovsky suffered tough losses, but those were probably their least painful losses of the season.

The Conference Tournament, held in Johnson City, Tennessee, begins for the Eagles today (Friday, April 20) at 11am against third-seeded Stetson
The Stetson Hatters, boasts the Conference’s Player of the Year in Maksim Levanovich, who plays No.1 Singles and Doubles. The Hatters are also last year’s tournament Runners Up.

The Eagles’ Tianyu Bao, almost took down Levanovich in their dual meet matchup on April 7, losing 11-9 in the third-set super-tiebreak. Bao took home Freshman of the Year for his 8-8 record at the No.1 Singles position, and he, along with Mike Beiler, was named to the Conference All Freshman Team. You can follow the Conference Tournament  by clicking here  and check up on FGCU’s progress here.

Ultimate Tennis Playoffs Begin
Alex Blagojevic & T A
after Regular Season Match
Some still refer to it as K-Swiss, but the Ultimate Tennis League (UTL) is the same, no matter what name you call it. It's just plain competitive fun! It was fun years ago when I first played it, and it has been fun this Spring season. 

Willy Hoffman, Week 6 Opponent
If you aren't familiar, in a nutshell, UTL is a league of rated divisions (3.0 - 6.0), wherein UTL sets the League Schedule, consisting of predetermined "play by" dates, and the individual players in the divisions schedule and play their matches at sites of their choosing and enter their scores online. If you finish at or near enough to the top of your division, you make the Playoffs.

Duane Chaney, first opponent
Well the Playoffs are here and a few of us around town who enjoy the thrill of competition have made it to the Playoffs. In our local Division of the 5.5 League, Jarrod Goare claimed the top spot, handing me my sole defeat. I finished second in our Division in points, but played one match fewer than the other seven players. Alex Blagojevic, who handed Jarrod his only loss of the season in three sets and Willy Hoffman finished third and fourth respectively and will also be in the Playoffs

Alex, 1st playoff opponent
I will play Alex in a quarterfinal match this coming Monday at The Hideaway, at 5pm. I got the victory in three sets during the regular season, so I'm sure Alex is chomping at the bit. Jarrod will play Willy, and if we both get through, I'll get another crack at Jarrod. Guess who's chomping at the bit now?

Renee Bailin- Playoff bound
A number of other local players are in the Playoffs as well. They include Denise Weisinger, who finished No.1 in her Women's 3.5 Division, but fell in the first playoff round to Heidi Smith of Bradenton; Renee Bailin, playing UTL for the first time, and finishing tied for second with Darina Cammarato behind Denise. 

Also in the 3.5 Division and deserving of special mention is Peggy Voss, who played five three-setters in her seven matches, including the first four, of which she won three. In all, she won four of the five three-setters and is scheduled to play Allison Griffin of Bradenton in her first playoff match. 

Florida Cup
The 2012 edition of the Florida Cup will be held in Naples on April 28 & 29. The Florida Cup is a men's, age group, Davis Cup format tennis competition that pits players selected to represent the West Coast of Florida against players selected to represent the East Coast.  Age groups are from 35 - 80 in five-year increments, and I will represent the West's 50 Division. 

2007 Nat'l Public Parks
Champ Norm Schellinger
Until 2011, the West had been undefeated in the competition (click here for details).  I was fortunate enough to represent the West's 45 Division in 2008, and had two of my best competitive wins in the most lopsided of the West's seven victories. 

Gary Clermont, former USTA
Florida Men's 45 No.1
That year, I beat the National Public Parks Champion in straight sets, and the next day beat the No.1 player in Florida at the time, coming back from 2-6, 1-5 down to win the match. 

Teams are still being formed, and I'll bring you up to date on team rosters, location, etc. as soon as I have the info. This is usually a pretty spirited event, so if you aren't busy next weekend you might want to put it on the calendar. It might be worth the trip. 

There's more to cover, but I have to get this out before hitting the court this morning. Have a great tennis weekend and there'll be more soon. Game, set, match...T. A.

There's more to cover, but 

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