Saturday, April 14, 2012

USPTA Grand Prix at Eau Gallie: Day 1

Milos Vasovic, director of tennis, can be proud of his facility, the Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, and of his members. 

Eau Gallie's members enjoy the tennis
Eau Gallie is the current stop on the USPTA Florida Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix Circuit, and a very pleasant stop it has been thus far.

Eau Gallie landscape
Conflicting events in Orlando resulted in small draws, the winds were whipping, and the sky was angry, but Day 1 of the event went swimmingly. Swimmingly? Yeah, gimme a break- we’re at a yacht club…

Rachel Oley, Rich Oswald, 
Stan Oley, & John Morales
Anyway, as I was saying, it was a good day of tennis and camaraderie at Eau Gallie.

Arup Dutta entertains Milos and members
Matches were played without anyone walking off the court in anger or disgust. I didn’t hear any yelling about line calls, and the members were welcoming and interactive…especially the ones Arup entertained. Yes, it was a good day at the courts, and we are looking forward to another tomorrow.

As far as the matches went, Milos was not a very good host (frown). In the two matches he played, he lost two games, one per match. Is that any way to treat one’s guests? 

Mike Baldwin
As Chris Carter might say, “C’Mon Man!” Despite Milos’ ill-treatment, Mike Baldwin alleged that he still had fun, and you know what? I believe him.

Greg Neuhart
In the Men’s 50 Singles, the less-than-100% Greg Neuhart was back in action, and he took down Arup Dutta 6-2, 6-2 in a match that seemed tougher than that. Somehow the big guy just seems to win the big points. 

John Hudson
I faced off against John Hudson, who had beaten Rich Oswald 4 and 3 in his first match. As John acknowledged, he left most of his legs in that match, and I won 6-1, 6-1. Greg’s elbow is feeling a little better, so I have my work cut out for me tomorrow in the Final.

Gewan Maharaj
The Men’s 60 Singles saw at two of the usual cast of characters play leading roles. Gewan Maharaj and Steve Shortridge, perennial finalists and/or semifinalists won semifinal matches and will face each other tomorrow…for perhaps the bazillionth time? 

Steve Shortridge
Gewan overcame a stiff challenge from Michael Dickens, dropping the first set 2-6, before coming back to win 7-5, 6-1. Steve had a marathon first set with Bill Davidson, which was 6-4 but went well over an hour. 

Bill Davidson
I had finished my first set and Steve and Bill were in the third game! The second was 6-0 and, uh, not quite as long.

Sabita Maharaj, 
Women's 45 Singles Champion
Perhaps the Maharajs haven’t been getting enough tennis and wanted to make the most of this occasion, because while Gewan was doing his three-setter, his sister Sabita was playing the longest and most competitive match of the day. 

Carolyn Franca,
Women's 45 Singles Finalist
She faced Carolyn Franca in the Women’s 45 Singles Final, won the first set 7-6, lost the second 4-6, and took the super-tiebreak 10-6. AND, she still had energy to enjoy the players’ party!

The Maharaj table at players' party
Speaking of the players’ party, the setting was special, the food was excellent, and once again, Eau Gallie’s members and staff did as much to make us feel welcome as has been done at any such event I’ve attended. 

Greg Neuhart, Mike Baldwin, & Arup Dutta
at players' party
Perhaps in the 105 years the Club has been around, they’ve learned to be extra hospitable. It was certainly appreciated. 

John Morales & Mike Baldwin
Oh, but I digress…there was one more division that saw action today, the Men’s 40 Doubles. Richard Boysen and Paul Davis proved to be the class of the Division, taking out the other two contenders. Boysen and Davis took down Stan Oley and Rich Oswald 6-1, 6-1, then dispatched Mike Baldwin and John Morales 6-0, 6-4.

Let’s hope the rain holds off and we can get some more good tennis in tomorrow. Until then, game, set, match…T. A.

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