Tuesday, February 26, 2013

USPTA Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix Opens in Delray Beach

Pat Friz, Pete Davis, & Mike Baldwin
Unknown, Kam Kuchta, Arup Dutta,
Joe Bouquin, & Mike Baldwin
The USPTA Florida Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix Circuit opened the 2013 season this past weekend at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in conjunction with the ATP Champions Tour and ATP World Tour events. Typically a doubles event only for the USPTA Florida Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix Circuit, this past weekend’s event marked the first time that the Delray Grand Prix held singles events, a feather in the cap of Grand Prix Commissioner, Mike Baldwin of Weston Hills Country Club.

Paulo Barros- Open Singles Champion
Held at the height of the season for many teaching professionals, the 55 entries in Delray (a number that trumps all participation totals from last season) signaled the growing popularity of the Grand Prix Circuit. 
Franco Mata- Open Singles
The top three players from the 2012 Open Singles Rankings were among the participants, with No.3 Paulo Barros of Winter Garden claiming the Open Singles title over Franco Mata of Naples, 6-2, 6-3.

Franco Mata & Milos Vasovic
Open Doubles Champion
Mata teamed with Milos Vasovic of Melbourne to take the Open Doubles over Barros and Erik Turnquist of Winter Haven, 6-3, 1-6, 10-5. 

Milos Vasovic-
35 Singles Champion
Speaking of Milos Vasovic, the dominant force of last season’s Men’s 35 Division, he claimed yet another double, when he won the 35 Singles event, defeating Mathieu Soto 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in the final.

Mario Tabares- 45 Singles Champion
In Men’s 45 Singles, former World No.131 Mario Tabares of Miami dropped just eight games in three matches, taking the final over Bruce Kurtz, 6-1, 6-2. 
Xavier Proulx, Eric Godin,
Mario Tabares, & Michael Aronson
Tabares teamed with Michael Aronson of Boynton Beach to reach the 40 Doubles Final, but fell to Xavier Proulx and Eric Godin of Boca Raton, 3-6, 3-6 in the final.

Greg Neuhart- 50 Singles
& Doubles Champion
Greg Neuhart of Loxahatchee gave notice that he is back on form, taking the Men’s 50 Singles and Doubles. In singles, Neuhart defeated USTA Men’s 50 Singles National Finalist Greg Wheaton 6-7, 6-1, 10-5 in the semis, then downed T. A. Niles, last season’s Grand Prix points leader  by the same score in the final. 
Terry O'Grady, Greg Neuhart,
Patricio Madariaga, & Carlos Triana
Neuhart then teamed with Terry O’Grady of Tampa to win the doubles final over Carlos Triana and Patricio Madariaga of Miami, 6-7, 6-1, 10-5. Are you kidding me! Neuhart over Wheaton in three, then Niles next day in three, and same day taking doubles in three...and the same score in all three! That's HUGE! Almost as huge as Greg is...:)

Joe Bouquin- 60 Singles &
Doubles Champion
Another of the three double-champions in Delray was Joe Bouquin of Delray Beach, who won the Men’s 60 Singles Final 6-0, 6-0 over Bill Davidson of Winter Garden, then partnered with Bob Grossman, also of Delray Beach, to claim the 60 Doubles title, 6-1, 6-4 over Davidson and Bob Howell of Delray Beach.

Julie Farina- Women's 45
Singles Champion
In a round robin draw with three competitors, Julie Farina of Palm Beach Gardens claimed the Women’s 45 Singles over Elizabeth Burger of Delray Beach and Frances O’Sullivan of West Palm Beach, beating the former 6-1, 7-5, and the latter 6-4, 6-4. O'Sullivan captured second, downing Burger 6-4, 6-3.
Frances O'Sullivan
In Women’s 40 Doubles, Burger and Kim Franklin of West Pam Beach took the title, defeating Tanja Gustafson of West Palm Beach and Patti Heidorn of Lake Worth in a thrilling 3-6, 6-4, 10-4 battle.

Pat Friz- Tourney Official
As always, we have to thank the tournament hosts Ivan Baron and his staff at the Delray Tennis Center, who did a tremendous job, Mike Baldwin and his hardworking partner Pete Davis, and Pat Friz the event official for their roles in making the event a success. 

Circuit Sponsors
In addition, there would be no event for the pros to enjoy without the generosity of Circuit Sponsors Fast Dry & 10S Supply, USPTA Florida, Welch Tennis Courts, USTA Florida, Stan Oley Tennis Equipment, The Wimbledon Experience, and Giliberti. 

The next stop for the USPTA Florida Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix Circuit will at the USPTA National Clay Court Championships to be held at BallenIsles in Palm Beach Gardens, March 22- 24. Players can register by clicking here. You can view additional photos by clicking here.

The Latest in Area Tennis

I'm guessing that there's much more going on, but I can only give you what I've got, so here goes. Let's start with what's on tap this coming weekend:

FGCU Eagles at Home Against No. 54 Old Dominion

After flying into the Southern Methodist (SMU) storm at home and encountering some strong head winds against Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Men’s Tennis Eagles seem to be flying freely once again. Coming off the UCF defeat, still in Orlando, the Eagles turned the U-Conn Huskies into poodles, defeating them 7-0, then outgunned the Oklahoma State Cowboys 4-3 (see Coach Weber's recap below). This Friday, March 1 at 6pm, at home (click here for driving directions) the Eagles will face Old Dominion, a nationally ranked team that holds a 7-3 dual-match record.  

Invitational Prize Money Tourney at Cascades
Manuel Encalada
Tennis Director, Cascades
If you are a Pro League aficionado, you may remember Manuel Encalada who went undefeated last season with Tyler Owens on Court 1, which, I believe, is an unprecedented feat in the Fort MyersPro League. Well, Manuel happens to be the Director of Tennis at Cascades in Estero, and this Saturday and Sunday (March 2 – 3) Manuel and Cascades will have an all-star lineup of local players going head-to-head in a prize-money doubles tourney.

Tye Myers
Play begins at 11:30am Saturday morning and will continue at 10am on Sunday morning. Among the competing teams for the prize money are Manuel and Tye Myers of Naples, who finished No. 2 in Open Singles and No.4 in Open Doubles in the 2012 USPTA Grand Prix standings; Former FGCU standout Jose Pastrello and Jicham Zatini, former Davis Cup player from Venezuela; another top FGCU alum and top-10 USPTA Grand Prix Open player Franco Mata and former Gator Ryan Sherry.

Tyler Owens
Other teams in the competition include our own Tyler Owens of Fiddlesticks and Eddie Neese, coach of Canterbury Tennis; Shawn Hedrick of The Strand and Taylor Manring; Gulf Harbour’s Sergio Rebolledo and Sebastian Falla, younger brother of touring pro Alejandro Falla; and other stellar teams. The level of tennis will be as high as anything we will see in our area, so I plan to be there and hope to see you there (click here for directions).

Event sponsors include Gustitos Bakery, Tennis R Us, and the Luke Andreae Group, without which the event would not be possible. Gustitos will provide the food for the event and Tennis R Us will have a variety of tennis merchandise for sale onsite (all purchases are cash only).

Cypress Hosts 2nd Annual Hank Jungle Memorial
Terry See, Tennis Director Cypress Lakes
Cypress Lake Country Club and Tennis Director Terry See will host the 2nd Annual Hank Jungle Memorial this coming Sunday, March 3rd. Things will kick off at 9am with a Pro Am, and continue at 11am with a rated doubles tournament for men and women will begin at 11am. A silent auction will also be a part of the activities. Cost for the Pro Am is $75 and $35 for the rated doubles event.

Recent Tennis Action
John McEnroe at Delray ITC
Due to my own tennis travels, I wasn't able to enjoy the FineMark Tour Players Classic at Bonita Bay, but I hope you made it. Here is an account of the event from naplesnews.com. However, I did make it over to Delray Beach to play in the USPTA Grand Prix season opener, and did stink up the joint at the Lexington Pro League stop (more on Pro League soon).  

Locals Shine in USPTA Grand Prix Opener
Landings Kim Jones (Head Pro) &
Paul D'Amico (Tennis Director)
If you are new to this blog or have a memory like mine, perhaps you aren’t familiar with the USPTA Florida Fast Dry & 10S Supply Grand Prix Circuit. The Circuit, a series of tournaments for USPTA professionals, made a comeback to Southwest Florida area last season when the Landings hosted one of seven tour-stops.

Milos Vasovic & Franco Mata
Open Doubles Champs
The 2013 Season began last weekend in Delray Beach (click here for draws), in conjunction with the ATP Champions Tour and the ATP World Tour stop at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. Local road warrior Steve Shortridge didn’t make it to this event, but we had some other local representation with Franco Mata and Tye Myers of Naples, and yours truly carrying the local banner. 

Me & 50 Singles Champ Greg Neuhart
With only three representatives, we gave a pretty good account of ourselves. Franco claimed the Open Doubles title with Milos Vasovic and was the Open Singles Finalist as well. I managed a Finalist showing in the Men’s 50 Singles. Doubles? No thanks! I obviously had more than I could handle in singles. 

FGCU Tennis Eagles Coach's Recap
Coach Weber
Here’s an account of the Eagles most recent victory from Coach C.J. Weber in his own words (you can get on his newsletter distribution list by emailing him at cjweber@fgcu.edu):

"Dear fans and supporters of FGCU Men’s Tennis:

How great it is to be an FGCU Eagle right now! This past Saturday evening, your hometown boys just took out the Oklahoma State Cowboys and sent ‘em home packin! After losing the doubles point in fairly non-dramatic fashion, the Cowboys were slow on the draw in singles, as we took 3 quick points before they knew what hit them. ASun Player of the Week Jordi Vives disposed of his opponent 6-2,6-4; winningest player on the team Dean Tsamas won 6-2,6-2; and freshman Dylan Gunning picked up his first dual match win for the Eagles 6-2,6-3!

With the match locked up at 3-3 (after losing at #5&6 singles), the team victory came down to #2 singles in sophomore sensation and reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Tianyu Bao. After splitting the first 2 sets, Bao and his opponent were the only match left on the court for the entire third set. With plenty of drama, long rallies, aces, and more emotion than a crowd could ever ask for, Bao won 6-4 to claim the victory for the Eagles! 

To put things in perspective a bit for how big this win was, Bao and his opponent Chris Haworth, graduated in the same year (they are both sophomores). Chris Haworth was one of the most highly recruited players in the country, being ranked #12 in the country. Bao had a much more humble ranking of #137! What a testament to his work ethic over the last year and half to be able to beat a player like this in only his second year as an Eagle!

We’re back in action this Friday at 6 pm, playing Old Dominion. And although Old Dominion might not have the national clout as Oklahoma State, Old Dominion is a nationally ranked team and will prove to be a very tough opponent. Come out to the FGCU complex on 3/1 at 6 pm to watch FGCU try to pick up their first ranked win in Division 1 history!

C. J. Weber
Head Men’s Tennis Coach
Florida Gulf Coast University”

Ok, that's about all I have for now. Let me know if you have something going on in March so that I can help spread the word. Game, set, match...T. A.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Hideaway Revealed- Second Season on Tap

Surely the number of people has dwindled who, in pleasant surprise, can say, “I didn’t even know this existed,” as so many have as they walked through the gates to the tennis courts at The Hideaway Country Club in Fort Myers. 

Tennis Courts Landscaping
That response was understandable before The Hideaway’s residents and administration opened the gates to nonresident tennis lovers, and before Bert Ann Haas and Pearle 

Bert Ann Haas, Pearle Warren,
& Pat Ben-Dov
Warren brought their Lee County Women’s Tennis League (LCWTL) Copper and 3.0 teams, respectively, to The Hideaway. Jenny, Dorrie, thanks, and I hope we passed muster this season!

Paula Barry, Agi Keleman, and
Bert Ann Haas in background
Over the past 10 months, Hideaway’s intimate tennis membership has just about doubled, but it remains intimate. There is still plenty of room for growth, as the program is still in its infancy. We hope to continue with our 3.0 and Copper teams, 
 Lynne PriceActing 3.0 captain
and we have had inquiries about potential Bronze, 3.5 and 4.0 teams representing the Hideaway next season. If you don’t have a tennis home and aren’t committed to a team at any of those levels, we would love to chat with you about the possibility of being a member of our blossoming community.

Jerry Courtney & Alice Fink
Guys! Where are the guys? All of the new Hideaway members are women, and as much as I am pleased with their joining, I’d be tickled if we could get some hairy legs out on the courts. 
Tennis Assoc. Pres, Bill Cross,
Linda Sisco, Peg Perry, & T. A.
Ok, so we already have quite a few men who play our round robins on Tuesdays and Fridays, but we don’t have enough testosterone to form a men’s team. 
Bill Dey
Again, if you don’t already have a home, we’re open to all ages and levels and would like to get the first men’s team in the new program’s history rockin’ and rollin’.

If you are like me and you have affection for golf as well as a love for tennis, you have to come checkout The Hideaway. 
Golf Course
Play some tennis, play a round (during the off season), visit the dining room, and experience a slice of old Florida right in your back yard. 

Dining Room
You can call Sean Balliet for membership information at 239-275-5581 and/or you can call me for tennis information at 407-466-4652, or email both at hideawaytennis@gmail.com. Game, set, match….T. A.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pro League at Lexington Country Club This Friday

Note: Click here for updated information regarding match times and standings. 
Upcoming Pro League Site 
Things will be very interesting on February 22nd at Lexington Country Club when the Fort Myers Ritzman Tennis USPTA Pro League comes a-callin’. A race that seemed all but sewed up at the top, tightened up considerably at Shadow Wood, with teams posting the highest and lowest point totals of the season.

Scott Harrington
BRA captain
Going into the Shadow Wood stop with a 5-point lead, Remax emerged with its first loss of the season and a lead that has shrunk to 1.5 points!
The big (and I mean BIG) winner at Shadow Wood was Scott Harrington’s BRA, which posted the first sweep of the season, claiming 8 points against Mike Curran’s JM. JM barely escaped the “points-bagel,” by notching 1 point on Court 3.

Frank Fourgeau- Remax
Trailing Frank Fourgeau's Remax by five, and leading Mike Curran's third-place JM by 4.5 coming in, BRA turned up the heat on Remax and opened some distance over, now, third-place Babolat. 

Jeff Diggs- Babolat Captain
Speaking of third-place Babolat, kudos to Jeff Diggs’ squad for pinning the first loss of the season on Remax. The win vaulted Babolat into third, ahead of the slumping JM (4 points in two outings).

Shawn Hedrick- GD Captain
Shawn Hedrick’s Gateway Dental, which had been mired in a season-long battle with UG to see who would avoid the League’s cellar, posted its highest point total of the season (7).  Those seven points tied the previous high which was set by Babolat in Week 1, and vaulted GD into fourth place by a half point ahead of JM. It’s the first time this season that GD has risen above fifth-place.

Here were the team and individual match results from Shadow Wood:

Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA) vs. Johnny Malloys (JM)
BRA's Mike Barnes & Paul D'Amico
The match of note in the BRA-JM matchup was the battle of the top Court 3 teams. In my preview, I suggested that this would be one to watch, and it definitely was. 
JM's Larry Gagnon & Oliver Stenger 
I’m not sure of their exact records, but the teams of Paul D’Amico and Mike Barnes, Larry Gagnon and Oliver Stenger might have had just one loss between them. As expected, they split the first two sets, and battled back and forth throughout the match-tiebreak with D’Amico and Barnes edging Gagnon and Stenger 12-10.
Court 1- Scott Harrington/Jared Kalpin (BRA) d. Mike Curran/Elliot Debolt, 6-4, 6-1
Court 2- Jim Katterfield/Joel Hampton (BRA) d. Todd Wise/Kevin Kearns, 7-6 7-5
Court 3- Paul D’Amico/Mike Barnes (BRA) d. Oliver Stenger/Larry Gagnon, 7-5, 2-6, 12-10
Mixed- Bob Green/Kim Jones (BRA) d. John Ramsey/Christie Pollin (sub), 7-6, 6-4
Total Points= BRA 8, JM 1

Remax vs. Babolat
This matchup was the closest of the three, with just ½ a point separating them at the end. In addition, two of the four individual matches were decided by match-tiebreaks.

Babolat's Tyler Owens & Denny Rager
On Court 1, Denny Rager and Tyler Owens, who have yet to lose as a team this season, put on a show with Franco Mata (sub) and Luke Andreae as co-stars. In the end, Rager and Owens slipped past Mata and Andreae 10-8 in the match-tiebreak, earning 2 points for Babolat.

Remax's Dave Dooley & Jorge Magalhaes
Posting 2 points for Remax, Dave Dooley and Jorge Magalhaes won in another close one, slipping past Armor Persons and Toni Halski, 10-7 in their match-tiebreak.   

Court 1- Denny Rager/Tyler Owens (Babolat) d. Luke Andreae/Franco Mata (sub), 6-2, 3-6, 10-8
Court 2- Frank Fourgeau/Corey Knapp (Remax) d. Jeff Diggs/John Jerome, 7-5, 7-5
Court 3- Dave Dooley/Jorge Magalhaes (Remax) d. Halski/Persons          4-6, 6-1, 10-7
Mixed- John Gillette/Erica Cossairt (Babolat) d. Dan Moenning/Christie Bradley, 6-3, 6-2
Total Points= Babolat 5, Remax 4.5

Gateway Dental (GD) vs. University Grill (UG)
GD's Ryan Sherry & Shawn Hedrick
There were two thrillers that finished in match-tiebreaks in this skirmish as well. On Court 1, in a candidate for “Match of the Night,” Sergio Rebolledo and Patrick Kangwa outlasted Ryan Sherry and Shawn Hedrick 10-8 in their match-tiebreak. Sherry and Hedrick came back from 4-6, 3-5, with Sergio serving at 40-0, and fought off 7 match points to take a second set tiebreak, but Sergio and Patrick held on to get the 2 points for UG.

GD's T. A. & Anthony Hatori
On Court 2, Mike Lawver and Tom Fisher (sub) for UG jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead over Anthony Hatori and I in the first set, and held on to win it 7-6. Anthony and I took the second 6-3, and notched 2 points for GD by claiming the match-tiebreak 10-6.

Court 1- Sergio Rebolledo/Patrick Kangwa (UG) d. Ryan Sherry/Shawn Hedrick, 6-4, 6-7, 10-8
Court 2- Anthony Hatori/T. A. Niles (GD) d. Mike Lawver/Tom Fisher (sub), 6-7, 6-3, 10-6
Court 3- Steve Shortridge/Jeff Timmer (GD) d.  Mark Drons/Terry See, 7-5, 6-1
Mixed- Alex Hermeto/Kerry Kendrick (GD) d. Tony Martin/Carolyn Lawver, 6-2, 6-1
Total Points= GD 7, UG 2.5

Lexington Preview
2011- 2012 Lexington Pro League 
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the matches, you won’t want to miss the action at Lexington. Joe Rubin, his tennis staff, and the Lexington Food & Beverage staff always offer first-class hosting. In addition, food and beverage proceeds will benefit Barbara's Friends!   Court 3 and Mixed Doubles matches begin at 4:00pm and First and Second Doubles are scheduled for 5:30pm.

Remax vs. Boston Retirement Advisors
BRA's Jim Katterfield &
Joel Hampton 
If it takes a marquee match-up to get y0u out, we've got one this Friday. No.s 1 and 2 Remax and BRA, respectively, will face off in a battle that is likely to crown the regular season champ, and the best two teams on Court 2 this season will go at it. 

Frank Fourgeau & Corey Knapp
for Remax
There's a pretty even match-up on the Mixed court, BRA holds the edge on Court 3, and with a sub on Court 1 for Remax, there's a good chance that BRA will carry Court 1 as well. Don’t be surprised, however, to see all of the courts go to match tiebreaks in this one.

Babolat vs. University Grill 
Babolat's Armor Persons & Erica Cossairt
Babolat will face UG, and is likely to hold onto its third-place standing…unless GD or JM posts a big number and UG pulls off the upset. That upset is no big stretch since the Babolat and UG tied with 4 points each the first time they met this season. 

Gateway Dental vs. Johnny Malloy's
GD's Kerry Kendrick & Alex Hermeto
These two are 1/2 point apart in the standings, and three of the four courts are "pick em" matches. The likelihood is that JM's Court 3 team will be probably get back on the winning track, but tiebreaks are good possibilities in the other courts.  When GD and JM met the first time, JM edged GD by 1 point, so chances are it will be close again.

UG's Mark Drons & Terry See 
But saying things are likely to be close in Pro League is like saying we’re likely to have sunshine in Florida. As you may have noted form the scores above, at Shadow Wood, seven of the 12 matches played involved at least one tiebreak, and two of the matches in the GD/UG match-up ended in match tiebreaks, and contained another tiebreak set.

I expect more of the same at Lexington this coming Friday. Be sure to click here for updated information regarding match times and standings. Game, set, match…T. A.