Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing what's going on the area!
    Fun to read Coach Weber's account on his Eagles and very nice to support and promote his newsletter.
    Thank you T, for the great coverage!!!!!!!!