There are levels of mental/emotional and physical fitness that you must have in order to play competitive tennis...at least to compete well, and my performance today at theUSPTA National Clay Court Championships at The Landings was a cruel reminder for me. Watching those competitors who evinced those levels of fitness, reminded me of why I now embrace the golf course more than the tennis court for competition.
Although the same applies there, at least in golf there is a handicap system that allows me to compete successfully with others who have similar mental/emotional and physical deficiencies. And of course, I believe I can still improve at golf, whereas in tennis I am a bit doubtful.
Nevertheless, there was good tennis today at the Landings and there will be good tennis tomorrow. Heck, I might even play some good tennis tomorrow. But whether I play well or not, I know I will see some good tennis.
Note: All singles finals start at 10:30am
Franco Mata doesn’t look much like Novak Djokoivc, but there are some similarities. Sometimes I think Franco just loves being out there, loves pleasing the crowd, and that leads to a relatively passive style that just says, “Go ahead and hit whatever you want and I’ll just keep bringing it back.”
|Franco's 6-pack...or is that 4?|
But when it comes down to crunch time, Franco can bring that serve and turn up the heat on the groundies…just like Da Djoka. The other major similarity? They both like to show off their 6-packs after a win :).
Franco got past David Irvin in a thriller (3-6, 6-4, 6-4) and will meet Ryan Sherry in the Final tomorrow (Sunday) at 10:30am.
Ryan took down Nestor Nunez in straight sets (6-2, 6-4), in an entertaining match that featured a number of 20-plus-hit rallies. This battle between Eagle (FGCU) and Gator (UF) should be highly entertaining. There’s quite a bit of show in both of these talented individuals.
As expected, it will be Top Seed Milos Vasovic and Dave Rowat in the Final of the 35s. Milos had little trouble with Nate Griffin, beating him 6-0, 6-3, although Nate did evoke some classic Milos self-dialogue in the second set.
I’m sure Dave was having a conversation of his own with himself after taking the first set 6-2 from No.2 Seed Mark Palus, then finding himself on the short end of a 1-6 second. But the bottom line is that he righted the ship and took the third 6-3. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another three-setter in the Final, but Dave will have to bring his A-game…but then so will Milos.
In the 45s, top-seeded Frank Vermeer got off to a slow start against Adam Zastempowski, but he did what top seeds are supposed to do: he dug deep, turned it around and won 6-4, 6-2.
No.2 Seed Kam
Kuchta was too much for
Jack Steyn, advancing to the Final with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. I’m not positive
that Frank is 100% out there and Kam is a tough out, so I anticipate another
hotly contested match for the title in the 45s.
No.2 Seed in the 50s, Carlos Triana, should just move to Fort Myers, because every time he comes over here he leaves a happy camper.
Today Carlos took on John Jerome, whom I expected to emerge the victor, and he outlasted John, much the way he did me last October. Carlos went 4-6, 6-1, and 7-5 to move onto the Final where he will face Steve Brady.
Nobody knew who No.1 Seed Steve Brady was coming in, and probably still don’t, but he ousted Pete Hessert 6-2, 6-1 in his semi and may be a “tall” order for Carlos. Actually, I am expecting Carlos to pull this one out, but Steve appears to be at least 6’ 5.” I didn’t get to see too much of Steve’s game, but I suppose he was seeded one for good reason. We’ll see tomorrow at 10:30am.
In the 60s, Steve Shortridge as not kind to his friend Chuck Nelson on his birthday. Some happy 63rd huh Chuck? In any event, Steve held his No.2 seeding and advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Chuck.
Top-seeded Gewan Maharaj took his semi in straight sets (6-1, 6-3) over a game Armor Persons. Gewan and Steve have met a
times and I believe Steve has yet to notch his first win. However, this is the
first they are playing since Steve knocked off Roscoe Tanner in the Florida
Cup. Maybe this is his time. I’m guessing Gewan would, if asked, respond, “Not!”
Ah, and now for the battle of legends, well established and in the making. The former is, of course, Mr. Fred Drilling (shoot you get called “Mr.” when you’ve done what Fred has). Fred downed Bob Green 6-2, 6-2 and conserved his energy for, perhaps, the best match-up he will have had in some time.
Fred will be taking on legend in the making, Mike Barnes. The last time Mike played a tournament at the Landings, I believe he walked away with multiple titles. He’s trying to do the same again, only this time he has "the venerable one" as an obstacle. I can’t wait to see what happens in this one. I’m looking forward to some outstanding play.
The Women’s Open Final will feature Courtney Vernon, FGCU's Women’s Tennis coach, against Jana Wilks of Palm Beach Gardens. Given Wilks’ results from last year’s event, I suspect Courtney might take this one in straight sets. One never knows though. I suspect Courtney will come to play; I think she always does.
In the Women's 40s, Trish Riddell of Lakeland will take on Susan Evans of Marco Island. I can only testify to Trish’s game since she blew a serve by me in our mixed match, and she did some other not so pleasant things to Erica and me en route to her victory with Jack Steyn.
|Susan Evans- Photo courtesy of |
Susan's USPTA website page
As for Susan, I’m going to bet that she isn’t going to run out of gas, regardless of what else happens out there. The woman teaches tennis AND does bike tours on Marco Island. Oh, her USPTA site says she was a "standout at University of Iowa." I hope Trish is ready to go the distance tomorrow, because I’m betting Susan will be.
Speaking of going the distance, Carolyn Franca is in yet another final, this time the Women's 50s. If past experience informs, we can be certain that Carolyn is as ready as anyone to play three-plus hours in the heat. She got past familiar foe Sabita Maharaj (6-2, 6-2) in the semis, so her trademark stamina wasn’t much needed.
Ruth Hessert should be well rested, as Christie Bradley, whom she faced in the semis, was far from 100% and bowed out when Ruth was ahead 6-1, 2-0. Not having seen Ruth play, I can’t say much about the outcome, but the over-under mark for match time in this one is 2:30.
|Franco Mata & Ryan Sherry|
The Men’s Open Doubles Final was played today, and Franco Mata & Ryan Sherry, opponents tomorrow morning, teamed up to win the title against Milos Vasovic & Jared Kalpin, 6-1, 6-3.
|Scott Harrington & Mike Curran|
In one Men’s 40 Doubles semifinal, Mike Curran of Gulf Harbour & Scott Harrington defeated Mike Baldwin of Mediterra &
|Kam Kuchta & Frank Vermeer|
In the other, Frank Vermeer & Kam Kuchta played Adam Zastempowski and Clark (no 1st name or score available). The Final will be played at 1pm.
I will have another crack at wining a match in the event tomorrow when
Tournament Director Paul D’Amico and I face Carlos Triana &
Patricio Madariaga in the Men’s 50 Doubles Final at 4pm. If Paul has some strong shoulders, we may have a chance.
|Paul D'Amico with LCCTA Exec Director Lyn Bruner|
It appears as though Mike Barnes is likely to notch at least one National Championship, as he and partner Larry Gagnon have one more match to play against Fred Drilling & Rick Flach (4pm tomorrow) to win the Men’s 60 Doubles.
|Mike Barnes & Larry Gagnon|
Barnes & Gagnon beat Gewan Maharaj & Armor Persons in straight sets (6-3, 6-2) today, and Drilling & Flach lost to Armor & Gewan in a tight 4-6, 6-4, 10-3 match this afternoon. Odds are in Barnes & Gagnon’s favor.
|T. A. & Erica Cossairt|
Erica Cossairt, my mixed partner, will get another shot at Trish Riddell tomorrow at 1pm, when she teams with Kerry Kendrick in the Women’s 40 Doubles. Trish will partner with Susan Evans after playing her in the 40 Singles Final.
|Christie Bradley & Kim Jones|
In Women’s 50 Doubles, Kim Jones & Christie Bradley emerged with a tough victory against Carolyn Franca & Sabita Maharaj, going 6-4, 4-6, 10-5. Jones & Bradley are scheduled to face the defending champs, Susie Brown & Cindy Le Prevost, tomorrow morning at 10:30am, with Franca & Maharaj to play Brown & Le Prevost tomorrow afternoon at 4pm.
|Courtney Vernon & Franco Mata|
In Mixed Open, Franco Mata teamed with Courtney Vernon to win the Final in straight sets over Ryan Sherry & Kerry Kendrick, 6-1, 6-4. In Mixed 40 Doubles, Jack Steyn & Trish Riddell ground Erica and me down (mostly me) en route to their 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the semis.
|Trish Riddell & Jack Steyn|
Jack & Trish will face Scott Harrington & Christie Bradley in the Final at 4pm. In Mixed 50 Doubles, Patricio Madariaga & Susie Brown took out Pete & Ruth Hessert, 6-1, 6-0, and will take on Fred Drilling & Kim Jones for the title at 1pm.
If you came today, I know you enjoyed the tennis because there was plenty of good tennis out there today. It will be even better tomorrow as all the finalists battle for national titles. Thanks to Steph for all the photos. We'll try to have a link to photos of all the competitors available at the close of the event. Game, set, match...T. A. & Steph
|Photo by Courtney Vernon|