Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wimbledon Women: Round 1

The Favorites
So No.1 Seed Maria Sharapova picked up where she left off at the French, looking as though she has no intentions of dropping a set, much less a match to anyone. She did show some scratchy patches of play near the end of both sets in her first match against Anastasia Rodionova, an opponent she totally outclassed. That could be trouble against a quality opponent.

No. 6 Seed Serena Williams got the train rolling again, but it’s chugging rather than humming along. She showed patches of her expected brilliance, but the chinks in the mental armor that felled her at the French were still evident at times in her first round match against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Prime example was serving for the match at 5-3, deuce, she played a great point and had a sitter backhand which she hit into the net.  An unforced error on the backhand side from the middle of the court lost her that game. Who knows what’s going on in Serena’s head, but she is playing like an imposter. Who is this woman? Serena? Playing scared? She’ll have to pick up the pace to claim the title here.

No. 2 Seed Victoria Azarenka looked great off the blocks, got to 4-0 and serving at 30-15 before “La La Land” beckoned and she double-faulted twice and made an unforced error to give American Irina Falconi a hint of hope. She broke right back, playing well again, but threw another double while serving for the set. She did serve out the first set though. Falconi did not go away, however, and hung in there gamely in the second set, forcing Azarenka to fight for the 6-4 second-set win.   

Defending Champion, No.4 Seed Petra Kvitova, got off to a shaky start, dropping the first three games and facing break points in the fourth. She battled back to hold that game and took control of the match to win 6-4, 6-4 against Akgul Amanmuradova. Much like Serena, she’ll be exiting Wimbledon earlier than she would like without bringing her game up a few notches.

No.3 Seed Agnieszka Radwanska is seeded way up there, but I don’t think anyone really considers her a “favorite.” Favorite or not, she downed Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets to move into the second round. I didn’t see this match so can’t comment on her form. With speed, tenacity, and savvy play her primary weapons, I wouldn’t expect her to have too deep a run on this surface where power typically rules.
No.5 Samantha Stosur took care of business against Carla Suarez Navarro and should have a relatively clear path through the Round of 16. She will have to get over her antipathy to grass to do so though.
No one is mentioning No.8 Seed Angelique Kerber as a possible threat to win, and I imagine she likes that just fine. She has had an excellent season thus far, and that continued in her first round, straight-set win over Lucie Hradecka. No.9 Marion Bartoli and No.11 Na Li also advanced in straight setsIn Li’s case, you can’t overlook a Grand Slam winner as a potential Champion. It would be a major upset, but so was her French Open title last year. 

The Americans
The second highest ranked American in the world, No.28 Seed Christina McHale is still struggling to close out matches. Again she had a sizable lead and failed to close out the match against Johanna Konta, a wildcard entry into the main draw. She did hang tough at 7-8, 15-30 to draw even at 8-8 in the third.
McHale had multiple break points in the following game, and finally converted the break on the fifth opportunity. She did survive a break point when serving for it the following game, and barely got a second serve over on her first match point, which Konta hit long. A bit of drama, but McHale moves on to face unseeded Mathilde Johansson in Round 2.

Nineteen-year-old Floridian Sloane Stephens, who climbed to No.57 in the world by virtue of her Round of 16 showing at the French, moved into the second round by defeating Karolina Pliskova a 20-year-old Czech who also has been steadily climbing the ranking ladder. Stephens won 6-2, 6-2 and will face another Czech in the second round, No.23 Seed Petra Cetkovska. Cetkovska downed American Vania King in straight sets in Round 1. 
One other American, Varvara Lepchenko, an Uzbekistani-turned-American since 2007, also advanced in straight sets against Patricia Mayr-Achleitner.In addition to Falconi and King, American’s who didn’t cut the mustard in the first round include Venus Williams, a five-time Wimbledon Champion; and Melanie Oudin, who was coming off her first WTA event title, winning eight matches (qualies and main draw) at Birmingham in London.

Planted Seeds
No.16 Flavia Pennetta exited unceremoniously in straight sets at the racquet of Camila Giorgi, a 20-year-old that is ranked No.145. Uh, what happened there Flavia? Must not have liked the “flava” of Giorgi’s game.

No.18 Jelena Jankovic did what she could, but what she could was not enough against Kim Clijsters who was unseeded. Always nice to get a multiple-Grand-Slam-Winner for your first round match, right? Ya!

Seeds on Tap
No.7 Caroline Wozniacki, the all but forgotten former World No.1, faces Tamira Paszek in her first round match. Paszek is coming off her only event win of the year in Eastbourne, a tune up for Wimbledon. She took down Wimbledon’s 8th and 9th seeds, Kerber and Bartoli, respectively en route. Wozniacki went out against Christina McHale in the first round of the same event. Care to pick this one?

No.10 Sara Errani will take on Coco Vandeweghe, the final American to take to the courts of Wimbledon. Given the records of the two this season, you can lay a bundle on Erani…if she can escape the Niles Jinx.

The always-entertaining No.13 Dominika Cibulkova faces Klara Zakopalova in her first round match. Cibulkova had a fine showing in French, reaching the Quarters and knocking off Azarenka before falling to Stosur. Cibulkova has beaten Zakopalova both times they’ve played, including this year in Barcelona, but it was a tussle and Zakopalova has been playing well. This is likely to be one worth watching...as most of them are. Game, set, match...T. A. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wimbledon Men's First Round

Seeds Moving On
Two of the top-three Seeds were in action today. Novak didn’t look terrific but took care of business in straight sets against Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former World No.1, and Fed didn’t have much trouble at all with Albert Ramos dropping just one game per set in the contest. 

No.8 Seed Janko Tipsarevic had the toughest opening match, on paper, of any in the top ten. Tipsarevic faced newly anointed bad boy, David Nalbandian, once known for his winning record against Federer, and more recently for injuring a linesperson during the Queen’s Club Final in London last week. Despite Nalbandian’s sometimes potent game, Janko jerked him out of Wimbledon in straight sets.

Seeds Upset
The upset of the day was scored by Ernests Gulbis, who ousted No.6 Tomas Berdych in three tiebreaks. Gulbis had opportunities to melt down, when Berdych saved big break points and match points (3) late in the third, but he held firm in overcoming the big serving Czech.

Gulbis has shown top-ten-talent for the past five years, but hasn’t fully capitalized on that talent. He broke into the top 100 and top 50 in 2007, reached as high as No.21 in the world last year, but came into Wimbledon at No. 87.  He had yet to get past the third round this year, reaching the third round just once in Delray before losing to the 173rd-ranked player.

So Berdych must have had a bad day, right? Nope, Gulbis just played the way he is capable of playing, spanking serves (30 aces with 72% first serves) and crushing groundstrokes (62 winners to 33 unforced!). Up next for Gulbis is a qualifier with the best name in the draw: Jerzy Janowicz. If Gulbis can keep his head together, he could go deep in the draw.

Isner Goes Home
One of my dark horses was put out to pasture in a surprise with local ties. No.11 Seed John Isner looked and played as though he really had little interest in moving on to the second round, and Alejandro Falla, whose dad Jorge is a teaching pro in Naples, took advantage.

Falla took the first set, lost the next two, then came back to win the match in five. Falla showed the same grit he displayed in taking Federer to five sets at Wimbledon in 2010, taking the fourth-set tiebreak from the big serving Isner to even the match at two sets all. Some time off might be in order for Isner because he does not look like he wants to play tennis. Falla should have a good shot at moving on to the third round as he plays either Nicolas Mahut or Paolo Lorenzi next, and both are unseeded.

Additional men’s Seeds to fall were No.23 Andreas Seppi and No.24 Marcel Granollers, both in five sets. This is Wimbledon, so look for a few more Seeds to be planted before this thing is over.

The Americans
The American men got off to a good start when 22-year-old Chicagoan Donald Young took the first set and went up a break in the second against No.26 Mikhail Youzhny. But then Young showed why he has lost 11 straight matches and is 2-14 this season. He won just five games the rest of the way. Veteran favorite James Blake looked like he might get through his first match after winning the first set in a tiebreak, but Benjamin Becker denied him, winning the next three sets.

Michael Russell, the elder statesman of U. S. Tennis at age 34, upheld his end of the bargain though, taking out Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in three straight.  Ryan Sweeting also moved through with ultimate ease, posting a 6-2, 2-0 (retired) over Potito Starace. Ryan Harrison also advanced to Round 2, winning in four sets over Yen-Hsun Lu. Events at Wimbledon are likely to go awry for the Ryans in their next matches, as Harrison gets Djokovic and Sweeting gets Tipsarevic.

On Tap Tomorrow
Notables taking the court tomorrow include No.2 Rafa Nadal and No.4 Andy Murray. Rafa should have little trouble with Thomaz Bellucci if he isn’t suffering from his French Open win, and Murray should be able to get past Nicolay Davydenko without too much of a struggle. Although Davydenko was once No.3 in the world, he is currently No.47 and not in Murray’s class…unless Murray doesn’t come to play.

My other dark horse, Jo Willy Tsonga takes the court against former World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt. Although Hewitt can be a tough customer, Tsonga won the only two times they played, and that was before Tsonga was as good as he is. I think my horse will still be kicking after this one.

Mardy Fish, the top American player in the world, is seeded 10th, but he hasn’t played an ATP event since a first-round loss to Michael Russell on clay back in April. Mardy has had some health issues, and I don’t know if he even knows what he’ll be bringing to the court tomorrow. He takes on Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, a journeyman who hasn’t won a match on tour since April. Mardy couldn’t have asked for a better comeback match.

American Jesse Levine, this one with ties to Naples, also will be twirling his sticks tomorrow against Karol Beck. Given their 2012 records, this is a “pick em” match, but given Jesse’s performance at the French, I think he gets the nod. 

Another American, Brian Baker, ranked No.126, takes to the courts tomorrow with a good chance of making the Second Round. He faces 96th-ranked Rui Machado. Baker has had some good results over the past couple of months, and should be playing with confidence.

Okay, last but not least, and you probably won’t care about this one, but I think somebody was having a bit of fun when they made this match up. No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov will play Alex Bogomolov, Jr. in his first match. The bets are “olov” on this one. Look for Dolgopolov to be “olover” his opponent as he moves to Round 2.

Can't blame a guy for having a little fun, can ya? Until next, game, set, match...T. A.

Wimbledon 2012: Let the Games Begin!

So I was toying with the idea of not even writing anything about Wimbledon with all that I have going on…but then it started and I changed my mind. So now I’ve got the DVR all programmed and I’m rearing to go. With all this rain, I should be able to find a few moments to scribble a few lines on the most prestigious tennis event in the world, don’t you think?

The Men: My Pick
I believe the ubiquitous “they” are still talking about “The Big Three,” meaning No.1 Novak Djokovic, No.2 Rafael Nadal and No.3 Roger Federer, but I think it’s really down to “The Dynamic Duo:” Novak and Rafa…not necessarily in that order. Don’t get me wrong, my man Fed still has the physical tools to take anyone down on grass, I just don’t know about his state of mind, especially against Rafa and Novak.

It’s tough to tell what sort of lasting impact the French Final had on both Nadal and Djokovic. Did it create more doubt in Novak’s mind about the dominance he displayed last season, especially since the French Final was Rafa’s second consecutive win over Novak in a Final? Did it cement Rafa’s confidence that he is back on top and ready to resume his reign atop the men’s game?

We can’t take Rafa’s straight-set loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber (No. 34 in the world) and Roger’s straight-set loss to Tommy Haas on the grass in Halle a couple weeks ago seriously, can we? I don’t think so. Roger’s loss at Halle concerns me more than Rafa’s though, because that was a Finals loss. If you’re gonna get to the Final, you may as well go ahead and win. Rafa bowed out in the second round, which smacks of, “I’m committed to play, but I just want a little tune-up for Wimbledon.”  Roger’s loss (6, 4) sounds like he just got beat.

Djokovic hasn’t played since the French, and he’s looking less than stellar right now against Juan Carlos Ferrero. However, Novak should win this and get his grass legs under him in the process. Bottom line is that when they are coming down the stretch in the second week of the fortnight, I expect to see Rafa, Novak, and Roger. Since Rafa is healthy, I’m going to have to pick him, but Novak is right there with him.

I suppose No.4 Andy Murray should be in the conversation, especially since this is his “home” turf…at least that’s what British fans will tell you. And, I imagine if there is to be a Grand Slam breakthrough for Andy this would be the perfect place. I just don’t see him being ready to take that next step.

My top dark horse (no pun intended) is fifth-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He has the serve, the volleys and the firepower to pull off the upsets he would need to win it. His mental game still lags behind his physical game though, so a win for him here would be a really long shot. My other extremely long shot, more of a midnight pony than a dark horse, would be John Isner. I believe he has the goods to beat anyone on grass on a given day, but he hasn’t shown the kind of sustained focus to win a big one. Lots would have to happen for either of these two guys to live the dream.

Bottom line? Rafa, Novak or Fed, in that order, walks away feeling really good about his US Open chances. 

The Women: My Pick
I don’t think I’ve ever picked against Serena Williams when she was healthy…And I’m not about to start now. Since getting bumped off in the first round at the French, Serena Williams has not played, and I don’t think I would like to be her first opponent back. Serena’s only seeded sixth, but seeding has never meant much as far as Serena is concerned, so by virtue of her being the most decorated and dominant tennis player on the women’s side, she gets my nod.

But that nod is just a faint nod. Given the way No.1 Seed Maria Sharapova has been playing this year, it’s really hard to bet against her. Maria is on a 12-match win streak and is 19-1 in her last 20 matches. Care to guess who hung that one loss on her? Yeah, Serena Williams.

However, I can’t think of a French Champ that came into Wimbledon as ready as Sharapova did in her first round. She won 16 of the first 17 points, and 18 of the first 20 before she lost a tad bit of focus against Anastasia Rodionova, winning 2, . The one concern with Maria is that she is struggling to close out matches. Against a quality opponent, that could come back to haunt her.

What about No.2 Seed Victoria Azarenka? Well, what about her? Vika hasn’t played since bowing out in the fourth round at Roland Garros, and hasn’t won anything since Indian Wells in March. Perhaps the time off will have refreshed her physically and mentally. Her confidence has not been of late what it was to start the year when she went 26-0. It’s anybody’s guess how she’ll come out at Wimbledon, but she has earned the right to be in the conversation.

No.3 Seed Agnieszka Radwanska seemed to be struggling to return to her winning ways, losing in the First Round of Eastbourne last week after the disappointing third-round-loss at Roland Garros. But she moved past her first Wimbledon opponent in straight sets. Nevertheless, I suspect her confidence is seriously shaken and it will take a tough test against a top opponent to restore it. I don’t see Aga as a serious threat to win this.

No.4 Petra Kvitova also exited Eastbourne after the First Round, but as the Defending Wimbledon Champion, who reached the semis of the French, I don’t imagine we can count her out. I’m not convinced though. Her lack of footwork means that all of her big guns must be firing accurately to have a shot at defending, and from the looks of things, Sharapova’s arsenal is heavier this time around.

Despite Sam Stosur’s 6-1, 6-3 first-round-win over Carla Suarez-Navarro, her semifinal-finish at the French, and plenty of game, Stosur would be doing well to reach the Quarters. She has never made it pass the Third Round at Wimbledon and has lost in the First Round five of the nine times she has played previously.

It’s hard to come up with dark horses on the women’s side, but I’m going to pick No.11 Na Li and No.15 Sabine Lisicki as the only players outside the top ten with a shot at reaching the semis and perhaps pulling off the major upset. Li is a Grand Slam Champion who has been to the Quarters of Wimbledon twice. Li hasn’t performed up to snuff thus far this season, but she hadn’t been past the semis in months before winning the French last year either. She has a slim chance.

Lisicki’s chances are slimmer than slim. She has lost in the First Round of four consecutive events leading up to Wimbledon, but I think she likes the grass at the All England Club and will perform better here. Of all the Grand Slams, she has done her best at Wimbledon, posting a 9-3 record and reaching the Semis last year and the Quarters in 2009. She’s facing some very heavy odds though.

Bottom line? Serena or Sharapova picks up yet another Grand Slam title. Regardless of who win in either draw, we know it will be as interesting as it gets in sport. Game, set, match...T. A.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lee & Collier Tennis in June

By now I'm sure you know that I'd love to fill you in on every little bit of tennis we have going in the area, but I just can't keep up. Anyway, here's what I've got upcoming and some good things that happened not too long ago.

Lee-Collier Battle This Weekend
If you are familiar with the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge, the tennis feud (actually more like friendly competition) between top players from Naples and Fort Myers that has been running for over three decades, then you have the gist of the Land Sharks Tennis 2nd Annual Battle of Champions. This coming Saturday and Sunday, June 23 & 24, at Miromar Lakes, 21 matches will be played to determine county supremacy.

Unlike the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge, which is competition within age groups, the Battle of Champions is a rated competition. Land Sharks tennis members from Lee and Collier Counties, rated 4.0 through 5.0-plus, will take the court against each other in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. 

Apparently, Collier dominated the competition last year, and I suspect they are planning on doing the same this year. Heck, I hear they even have a former Davis Cupper on their team! I guess he’ll be playing in the 5.0-plus Division. How can lil ole Lee County compete with that? Davis Cuppers or no, we will be out there swinging with all we have this weekend.

Matches begin at 11:00am on Saturday and 9:30am on Sunday. I’m on court at in a 5.0 singles match at 9:30am on Sunday and so is Tyler Owens of Fiddlesticks. Other local favorites playing for Lee County this weekend include:
Lee Co-Captain Frank Fourgeau
Team Captain Frank Fourgeau & Luke Andreae oeague partners) at 10:30am in 10.0 doubles; Larry Gagnon in 9.0 mixed doubles at 12:30pm on Saturday; Joel Hampton & Corey Knapp and Jim Katterfield & Tom Fisher playing 9.0 doubles at 9:30am on Sunday; John Ramsey & Art Nowakaski (Team Captain) Saturday 12:30pm in 8.0 doubles; Sergio Rebolledo & Ryan Sherry Sunday at 9:30am in open doubles; Kathrina Ramsey & Paula Zager on Sunday at 10:30am in 9.0 doubles; Wendy Hechler & Virginia Reed in 8.0 doubles on Sunday at 11am. 

Lee Team Member John Ramsey
According to Orlando Ferrer, Land Sharks leader and event organizer, "Miromar Lakes will offer lunch court side for the players, members, and visitors who want to come out and watch the matches. There is no cover charge. Menu includes Grilled Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Grilled Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken Caesar Wraps, all modestly priced. Drinks and refreshments will also be available. You can also bring your own beverages." If you aren't in church or playing yourself, it should be a fun time. Hope to see you there!

Can’t Miss Opportunity for Juniors
If you have know of a youngster who plays tennis or whom you would like to see play, you definitely want to take a look at this. On Saturday June 30, from 9:00am through 12:30pm, an all-star lineup of USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) tennis professionals and other top tennis coaches will be at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Complex at Three Oaks Park in Fort Myers delivering nuggets of tennis wisdom to junior players and potential players.

The event is the Inaugural USPTA Junior Development Camp, during which twelve USPTA professionals will share their knowledge with up to 72 junior players. Participants will have the benefit of working with different coaches who will focus on the key aspects of their games (groundstrokes, volleys, serves and returns), while emphasizing competitive play and the important fitness component of the game. 

Among the professionals who have already committed are C.J. Weber, Men’s Tennis Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University; Paula Scheb, Director of Tennis at Bonita Bay Club; Alex Hermeto, Director of Tennis at Gateway Country Club; Mike Curran, Director of Tennis at Gulf Harbour; Jeff Timmer, Director of Tennis at Colonial Country Club; Joel Hampton, Three Oaks Park; Mark Davis (Director of Mad Academy, Fort Myers Racquet Club); and Steve Hedrick of Park Meadow Tennis Center. Of course, if needed, I’ll be there as well. 

 According to event organizer, Alex Hermeto, “This is a first for Southwest Florida! All players will be able to meet and work with twelve of the best local USPTA tennis professionals in a training center environment.” All 12 courts at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Complex will be used for this event with at least three of them being used for the 10-and-Under tennis format.

Cost for the one-day event is $45.00, and registration closes June 27. For more information, please call host-professional Joel Hampton at 239-246-6152, or to register for this event contact Alex Hermeto at 239-839-6104 or via email ahermeto@me.com

Mark Owens, Tyler Owens, Tom Fisher, Mike Lawver
Beachview Belmont Classic
The scratching of I’ll Have Another from the Belmont (uh, that’s a horse race), which put the kibosh on a potential Triple-Crown run, was a disappointment, but the participants in the Inaugural Beachview Belmont Golf & Tennis Classic, held Saturday, June 9 at the Beachview Club didn’t let that spoil their fun.

Tyler Owens

Twenty-two players competed in Men’s and Mixed Divisions in tennis and golf. At the conclusion of play awards were presented at the Bistro restaurant. Tyler Owens is having an all around banner year! After going undefeated in the USPTA Pro League, TO (as he is affectionately called) teamed with his Dad, Mark Owens, to beat out Mike Lawver and Tom Fisher to take1st place in the Men’s Division. In the Mixed Division Christie Bradley and Ardie Klement took first, and Tom & Elsie Stahl finished second.  

Local Tennis Stars Honored
I’m guessing that everyone already knows this, but just in case you missed it, earlier this month, the News-Press named Parker Woodall, recent graduate of Cypress Lake High School, and Eddie Neese, Coach of Canterbury Boys’ Tennis, “2012 All-Area Boys Tennis Player of the Year” and “2012 All-Area Coach of the Year” respectively. Parker finished his senior year as a State Champion, and Eddie led Canterbury to its first District Title in his first year as Coach. Kudos to these local stars!

That's all I've got for now folks. Until the next time (hopefully early next week), game, set, match...T. A.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Tennis Camps in Greater Fort Myers Area

If you don't already have the kids enrolled in summer camp, or need some additional options, take a look at some of the offerings below. The information was provided by the programs, so use the contact info if you have questions or need additional information.

Gateway Golf & Country Club
11360 Championship Dr., Fort Myers
June 11 - August 3
 Daily (Monday - Thursday) Schedule & Fees:   
     Tennis* (9:30 am - 12:30 pm): Member= $85 (weekly), $25 (daily)
     Lunch (12:45 - 1:30 pm): $25 (weekly), $7.00 (daily)
     Golf (Tue-Wed-Th, 1:45 - 5pm)*: $50 (weekly), $20.00 (daily)
     Swimming & Kid’s Club*: Member= $60 (weekly), $20 (daily)
* Non-Member price is an additional $10 for the week or $5 for the daily rate. 
Age groups5 to 17 years old

Sundial Resort, Sanibel
1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island
July 2 - 6 & 9 - 13
Daily (Monday - Friday) Schedule & Fees:
  Full Day (9am - 4pm): $400 (members) $450 (non-members)
  • On Court: 
  • 9am - 12pm  
  • Lunch & Break:  12pm - 2pm 

  •        Point & Match Play:  2pm - 4pm
  Half Day (9am - 12pm): $225 (members) $275 (non-members)
Age groups & Formats
1. National Level Group (Ages 12-18)- The focus of this group will be on competitive play development, tactics, maintaining balance and control with better movement, greater mental toughness and patience along with fitness and conditioning.
2. Tournament Training Group (Ages 10-18)- The focus of this group will be stroke production, pattern of play, development of better movement along with fitness and conditioning.

Dunes Golf & Tennis Club
949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel Island
June 4 - August 10
The Dunes' summer camps include professional instruction in golf and tennis and continue with instruction in soccer, volleyball, hockey, art, theatre, water sports and more. Tennis only and golf only options available.
Days & TimesMonday - Friday 8:30am-2:30pm
Age groups: 5 -14 years old
$92-$200- Sessions range in weeks, days and times
Tennis Format:
USPTA/USPTR certified professionals will oversee instruction in the proper development of Ground Strokes, Volleying, Serving, and Strategy. The curriculum will be customized for young players through high-level intermediate players.
Golf Format:
PGA Professionals will oversee campers etiquette, game rules and
"In-Swing Development," including Chipping and Putting, Long,
Mid, and Short Irons, as well as fairway Woods and Drivers. Campers
will also enjoy supervised play on our championship course.

Cape Coral Racquet Club
1300 Ceitus Terrace, Cape Coral
Days & Times: Monday through Thursday 10am-2pm 
Age groups: 6 to 18 years old
Cost: $10 registration fee; $99 week or $30/day;  
Format: Fitness, match play
Also Offered: Afternoon hit from 2-4pm, Intermediate to advanced 
Cost: $10 registration fee; $5 per day (all middle school high school students welcome)
Fort Myers Racquet Club
1700 Matthew Drive, Fort Myers
June 11 - August 3

M.A.D. Tennis Camp for Future Champs
Days & TimesMonday through Friday 10am-2pm
Age Groups 5 and up
Cost: $85 per week or $25 per day ( early drop off and late pick up is available for an extra charge
  • 10:00-12:00 - On court tennis instruction
  • 12:00-1:00 – Lunch (players can bring or buy lunch)
  • 1:00-2:00 –  Choice of on court activities, swimming, or playground  
 June 4 - August 3
M.A.D. Tennis Academy
Days & TimesMonday through Friday 10am-3pm
Age Groups All ages
Cost:  $625/month or $45/day (full day price)
             $400/month or $35/day (half day from 10:00-12:00)
  • 10:00-12:00 – on court instruction, drills, fitness 
  • 12:00-1:00 – Lunch (players can bring or buy lunch) 
  • 1:00-3:00 – Match and point play 
Colonial Country Club
  • 9181 Independence Way, Fort Myers
June 4 – August 2
Days & TimesMonday through Thursday 10:30am - 1:30pm 
Age groups & Levels: 
  • 4 to 7 years old- Introductory level
  • 13 years old and under- Beginners through advanced beginners
  • 14 years old and older- Advanced beginners through intermediate
  • 12 to 18 years old- Player development (tournament players)
Cost$90 weekly or $25 daily ($5 additional for lunch or bring own)  
  • 10:30am - 12pm: On court activities
  • 12 - 1:30pm: Lunch
  • 12:30 - 1:30pm: On court activities
Fiddlesticks Country Club
15391 Canongate Dr. / Ft. Myers
June 4 - August 9
Days & TimesMonday through Thursday 10am-3pm
Age groups: 5 to 16 years old
Cost: $150 (non-members); $130 (members) weekly; $45 daily  (discounts available for multiple children)
Format: Tennis, swimming, games, crafts, and lunch available

Monday, June 4, 2012

French Open Quarters All Set

Djokovic and Tsonga
As expected, No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga closed out the delayed match against No.18 Stan Wawrinka, 6-4. By doing so, he set up a quarterfinal contest with No.1 Novak Djokvic. Since Tsonga’s win over Djokovic in the Quarters of the Ausrtalian Open in 2010, Djokovic has beaten him three straight, including a four-set victory in the Semis at Wimbeldon last year. Can Tsonga remain consistent enough to outlast Djokovic on the dirt of Roland Garros? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Nadal Still Da Man
But does it even matter whether Djokovic beats Tsonga? No.2 Rafael Nadal still looms large over the entire proceeding, and he appears to be healthy. How healthy? Well, let’s see: In four matches, Rafa hasn’t come close to losing a set. Typically, things get tougher as you get closer to the finish line in a Grand Slam; right? Rafa’s Round-of-16 opponent, Juan Monaco, won a total of two games in three sets, eating bagels (sans cream cheese) in the final two.

Rafa and Almagro
Next up for Rafa is No.12 Nicolas Almagro. Almagro has lost all seven times the two have played. At least Almagro has won sets two of the last three times they have played, so he’s good enough to give Rafa a run if Rafa’s off his game. I’ll give you some good odds if you want to bet Almagro.

Federer and Del Potro
For the Roger Federer fans out there, of which I acknowledge being one, we can only hope that Fed has some of the magic left that we haven’t seen for some time in a Grand Slam.  To reach the Final, Fed has to get by No.9 Juan Martin Del Potro next, and then either Djokovic or Tsonga. Roger’s record is solid against Delpo (11-2), so if he plays well he should reach the Semis.

His record against Jo-Willy is also good (8-3), but chances are he will face Da Djoker, and his record against Djokovic is 1-5 over the last six meetings. The good news for us Fed fans is that Roger’s record against Djokovic on clay is 1-1, and their last meeting on clay belonged to Roger in straight sets. Also, Djokovic has shown some chinks in the armor that was impregnable in 2011, so there’s hope Fed fans…albeit just a sliver.  

Murray and Ferrer
The matchup between No.4 Andy Murray and No.6 David Ferrer ought to be as good as any in the Men’s Quarters. Murray has beaten Ferrer four of the last five, but his four wins were on hard courts, and Ferrer’s one win was on clay. In fact, Murray has never beaten Ferrer on clay (0-3), and Ferrer’s one win in those last five was on hard court in straight sets at the Tour Championships last year. It ought to be a humdinger of a match, but I’m thinking Ferrer will outlast Murray.

Sharapova into Quarters
In the second set of her match against unseeded and unheralded Klara Zakopalova, it appeared as though No.2 Maria Sharapova would fall victim to the Niles Curse. Sharapova served for the match twice in the second set, only to be broken, and then lost the tiebreak. When she went up 5-1 in the third, and was broken again, it was “uh oh” time for the Sharapova camp. But that is why I admire Sharapova. She has shown time and time again that she is much more than a pretty face on court, endorsements notwithstanding. She broke Zakapolova to claim her spot in the Quarters.

Sharapova and Kanepi
As predicted, Sharapova will take on No.23 Kaia Kanepi next, and if today’s lapse in confidence and sharpness (12 double faults and 53 unforced errors) resurface against Kanepi, it will be another war of attrition. It took Sharapova over three hours today, more than her previous three matches combined!  Kanepi needed three sets to put away unseeded Arantxa Rus, and I’m having a hard time seeing her prevail over Sharapova…but again, it is the Women’s Draw.

Kvitova Downs Lepchenko
No.4 Petra Kvitova dispatched the last “American” standing, the unseeded Varvara Lepchenko, 6-2, 6-1. Lepchenko appeared to have stage fright, and had nothing to counter Kvitova’s big game. Kvitova’s pedestrian numbers held up against Lepchenko (53% first serves, 18 winners, no aces) and they may hold up against the other unseeded player she will face in the Quarters, Yaroslava Shvedova.

Shvedova Upsets Li- Kvitova Next
Shvedova wrestled the match away from No.7 Na Li after losing the first set 3-6. Shvedova took advantage of Li’s second serve and 41 unforced errors, playing solid tennis en route to her matchup with Kvitova. Kvitova can be wild at times, and that is what Shvedova will need to upset the No.4 Seed.

Great Matchups
The No.6 Stosur versus No.15 Cibulkova matchup promises to be the juiciest, along with the No.10 Kerber versus No.21 Errani battle (see previous post). Bottom line is that there is plenty of scintillating tennis on tap for the next few days. Enjoy! Game, set, match…T. A.