Thursday, January 10, 2013

Second Half of Pro League Season Begins at Heritage Palms

Bloggers Note: You can always go directly to the Pro League Standings, Schedule and Rosters by clicking here, and you can use the search field in the upper right column to find something specific. Please send me an email ( if you notice errors and typos so that I may correct them. Thanks! Oh, one final thing: Since my lovely co-photographer and partner isn't and won't be available for the next few Pro League matches, any photographers (amateur or pro) offering to contribute to the cause would be greatly appreciated. Your work would be credited of course!

Landings spectators
The Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League matches continued to be heartily contested (as opposed to heavily congested…as the crowd was…but I digress) at the Landings episode of “As the Pro League Turns.” Five of the 12 individual matches were decided by super-tiebreak sets; three of the remaining seven had at least one standard tiebreak set (also known as a 12-point breaker by some and a seven-point breaker by others); and two had 7-5 set scores! Yep, it’s a jungle out there.

Remax vs. University Grill (UG)
Corey Knapp & Remax Captain
Frank Fourgeau
Remax continued its domination of the competition, taking 6 points to UG’s 3, and jumping out to a 5.5-point lead over the closest competitor, BRA. In the 30 scores that half been posted over the first half of the season, only four times has a team claimed 6 points or better. Remax has done it twice.

Manuel Encalada & Luke Andreae
At First Doubles, Manuel Encalada and Luke Andreae of Remax took a close one from Sergio Rebolledo and Matt Maloney 7-6, 6-4. Watching this one, I felt as though I can to a doubles match and some singles broke out. 
Matt Maloney & Sergio Rebolledo
The crosscourt groundstroke rallies would make any old-school doubles specialist break out in hives! It was entertaining nonetheless.  

Patrick Kangwa & UG Captain
Mike Lawver
At Second Doubles, Patrick Kangwa and a rejuvenated Mike Lawver of UG took down Frank Fourgeau and Corey Knapp 6-4, 7-5 in another close one. After going 3-0, Remax Captain Fourgeau and Knapp have dropped two in a row. They will be looking to get back on track when they face Anthony Hatori and me this Friday.

On Court 3, Jorge Magalhaes and Dave Dooley of Remax eked out a thriller over Mark Drons and Terry See 6-3, 4-6, 11-9. If it weren’t for Christie Bradley and Dan Moenning, perennial super-tiebreak participants, this match would have sewn up “Match of the Day” honors.

Dan Moenning &
Christie Bradley
Regarding Christie and Dan for Remax on the Mixed Court, I’m waiting for these two to pull a “John Isner” and play a three-day match. At the Landings, they matched up with Tony Martin and Sandy Miller (local SCAT League President), a sub who had not lost in her two previous sub outings. Given the score she obviously did all she could to keep her record clean.

Tony Martin & Sandy Miller
As noted above, Christie and Dan are noted for going to the third-set super-tiebreak, but I believe this one took the prize. They finally finished Tony and Sandy to the tune of 6-3, 4-6, 13-11, and took home (metaphorically speaking) “Match of the Day.”

Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA) vs. Gateway Dental (GD)
"Commish" Katterfield & Bob Green
Second-place BRA aimed to creep a bit closer to Remax when they faced fifth-place GD, but they couldn’t quite make up any ground, posting 5 points to GD’s 4.5, and falling a bit short of Remax’s 6 points.

Jared Kalpin & BRA Captain
Scott Harrington
On Court 1, two “super-subs,” Jonas Kushner and Eddie Neese, took the court for GD, against BRA’s previously winless Scott Harrington and Jared Kalpin. Given the biggest challenge they had faced to date, Scott and Jared responded, defeating Eddie and Jonas in another thriller and Match of the Day candidate, 7-6, 3-6, 10-5. They should be taking a surplus of confidence into their match this Friday against Denny Rager and Tyler Owens of Babolat.

Mike Barnes & Joel Hampton
In a nifty move, BRA put Joel Hampton and Mike Barnes, who typically plays Third Doubles, together on Court 2. I had been looking forward to the match, but the old bod wouldn’t cooperate and Warren Eber joined Anthony Hatori in my place. 
It was a close and spirited first set, which Joel and Mike took 7-6, but the second was a 6-1 runaway.

Steve Shortridge & Jeff Timmer
Court 3 featured League Commissioner Jim “Katman” Katterfield and Bob Green of BRA against Jeff Timmer and Steve Shortridge. Jeff and Steve had been having their own struggles to string together some wins, but they helped save GD’s bacon this day, downing Katman and Bob, 6-4, 6-4. Katman is turning to youth for help this Friday, teaming with Joel Hampton on Court 2.

On the Mixed Court for BRA, The Landings’ own Paul D’Amico and Kim Jones partnered against Alex Hermeto and Kerry Kendrick. 
Kim Jones & Landings Tennis
Director Paul D'Amico
Kerry has been coming up big for GD all season (sitting at 4-1 I believe) and she did it again this time, but it wasn’t easy. Paul and Kim took the first set 6-4, but Kerry and Alex took the second 6-1, battled Kim and Paul tooth and nail in the super-tiebreak, and clawed out the 10-8 win.

Babolat vs. Johnny Malloy’s (JM)
Only a half-point separates these two teams, which are in the thick of the hunt for second. Going into the match, JM was tied for second with BRA and had a half-point lead on Babolat, which was in third alone. Babolat is still third alone, but JM is now alone in fourth, only 1.5 points ahead of fifth-place GD.

Denny Rager & Tyler Owens
Denny Rager and Tyler Owens of Babolat posted a 6-2 7-5 win over JM Captain Mike “Da Dawg” Curran and Elliot Debolt. The magic Da Dawg had shown in the previous Pro League match at Fiddlesticks, had…well…disappeared. The hocus pocus was all on the side of Denny and Tyler this night.

Jeff Diggs & John Jerome
At Second Doubles, Babolat Captain Jeff Diggs and John Jerome posted another two points for their team, downing Todd Wise and Kevin Kearns, who have been struggling of late, 7-6. 6-2. I believe Jeff and John’s only loss came in Session 2 at Gulf Harbour eons ago, and they’ll have a chance this Friday to put their three-match streak on the line against the team that is 1/2-point ahead of them.

JM’s third-doubles team of Larry “The Legend” Gagnon and Oliver Stenger is pretty much unstoppable, and that is how they played against Toni Halski and John Gillette. 
John Gillette & Toni Halski
In the only match that didn’t feature at least one competitive set, at least score-wise, The Legend and Oliver hung a 6-1, 6-2 defeat on Toni and John. It gets no easier for Tony and John on Friday as they take on, perhaps, the second toughest three-team in the League in D’Amico and Barnes.

Armor Persons & Erica Cossairt
I haven’t figured out why Armor Persons and Erica Cossairt aren’t putting up more “W”s for Babolat…maybe they’re waiting for the second half of the season. At The Landings, they faced John Ramsey and Christyn Lucas, both first-year Pro Leaguers. 

John Ramsey & Christyn Lucas
Armor and Erica took a close 6-4 first set, but lost the second by the same score, and dropped the super-tiebreak 10-7. The match was definitely among the “Match of the Day candidates, but I’m sure Armor and Erica would like to post a “W.” They’ll have their shot against Bob Green and Kim Jones next.

Coming This Friday 
On Friday, first-place Remax will take on fifth-place GD (my team), second-place BRA will battle third-place Babolat, and fourth-place JM will square off against sixth-place UG. Remax has not posted fewer than 5 points in any contest thus far, while GD has scored five or more points just once, and we lost 2-5 to Remax last time. It doesn’t look like GD is the team to stop the juggernaut, but lineups will be different this time, so we will see.

The first time Babolat and BRA faced off, Babolat posted 7 points to BRA’s 3.5, but three of those matches went to super-tiebreaks and could have gone either way. With second on the line, this should be another close one on the court, and I hope on the scoreboard (hey, I want my team to have a chance to catch somebody!).

JM did to UG what Remax did to us (GD) the first time around, and unfortunately for UG, they have posted the lowest point total in three of the five dates thus far, including the last match. They will need a significant change of fortunes on Friday as JM has posted the second or third highest point total in four of the five events. 

The bottom line is that the second half of the season brings with it a new day, in a new year, and the only thing that I am sure is likely to remain the same is the dramatic flair of the competition. Third Doubles and Mixed Doubles start at 4pm, First and second doubles begin at 5:30pm. I hope to see you out there on Friday!  Game, set, match...T. A.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back to pro league! The first event of 2013 took place yesterday and I can't wait to hear about the matches. Since I'm six hours ahead in time, I guess I have to wait patiently until my informant will wake up:) I truly missed being around, watching my personal superstar as well as the other terrific participants and chasing everybody with my camera to get great shots for TA's blog! I hope somebody will act in my place until I will be back . We all know how much work and passion TA puts in his coverage, so every support will be highly appreciated!
    I keep my fingers crossed for every team!

    Until soonn
    Game Set Match
    Your co-photographer