|Paul D'Amico & Umpire Jerry|
With Landings Tennis Director Paul D'Amico and Kim Jones at the helm, the singles events got underway today at the USPTA
National Clay Court Championships at The Landings Yacht, Golf & Tennis Club in Fort Myers. Steph and I
managed to catch a couple matches today and although the draws are tiny, the tennis was good today and will be even better over the weekend.
As the heat waves rose from the courts, I was grateful that I hadn't totally lost my mind and signed up for singles. It...was...hot!!! And, so was Dave Rowat of Cape Coral, who looked like he is ready to challenge for the national title in the Men’s 35 Division! Dave took out Tony Schubert of Punta Gorda, a pretty good payer in his own right, 6-0, 6-2. Dave will play No.2 Seed Mark Palus of Tampa tomorrow morning at 10:30am.
Top Seed in the 35s, Milos Vasovic will also be in action tomorrow at 10:30am. He will go against Nate Griffin of Bradenton, who beat Christian Clark of Sarasota, 6-1, 6-3. I don’t know much about Griffin, except that he is the Director of Tennis at River Strand, and was a good collegiate player. I will find out tomorrow morning at 10:30am, when he tries to upset Milos, whom I do know is one heck of a player.
The Men’s Open will feature some hometown fireworks as Ryan Sherry of Fort Myers (a former Florida Gator) will battle Nestor Nunez of Naples (a former FGCU Eagle) in one semifinal match tomorrow at 10:30am. Nunez took out No.2 Seed Marco Herrera in his first match (6-2, 4-6, 10-8), and should be a good test for Sherry. Ryan ended Mike Baugh’s tournament with a double bagel.
In the other Open semi, David Irvin of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a 6-4, 6-2 victory, ended the hopes of Jared Kalpin, the Director of Tennis at West Bay. Irvin will tangle with Franco Mata of Naples, who recently returned from the ITF Seniors World Individual Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, where he won two rounds before falling to the eventual Finalist in that event. Chances are Franco is going to be very tough to beat.
The top two seeds in the Men’s 45s will see their first action tomorrow at 10:30am as well. No.1 Frank Vermeer of Jacksonville, who you will want to watch if
you haven’t seen him before, will take on
Adam Zastempowski of Nokomis. It will certainly be an interesting match, but I
suspect Vermeer will be moving on after that one. Why? Frank is just coming off
a finalist finish in the 45 Singles at the ITF World event.
|Perpetual poetry in motion this guy|
Kam Kuchta of Boynton Beach is seeded No.2 and is definitely a force to be reckoned with in this event. As good a player as
his opponent Jack Steyn of Bradenton is, Kam has a ton of game
and he’s got to be a first-year 45s player, while Jack has been around the
block a couple times. A Vermeer-Kuchta battle on Sunday morning is a likelihood
and ought to be a humdinger!
Both Adam and Jack ended the hopes of locals, as Adam downed Johann Saurbier of Naples 6-2, 6-3 and Jack ousted Alex Hermeto, Director of Tennis at Gateway, 6-3, 6-3. I’m guessing Alex only played singles to support the event. He’s a better man than I am!
John Jerome of Wildcat Run in Estero will be carrying the flag for the home crowd in the Men’s 50s, after he defeated Patricio Madriaga (7-6, 6-3) in his first match. John will be facing No.2 Seed Carlos Triana at 10:30am, and I think he will bring home the bacon.
|Carlos: "Ha, I got him!"|
The last time Carlos was in town he was victorious, dumping me in the Final of a USPTA Grand Prix event at the Landings in three sets. The bad news for
John is that I had beaten Patricio in
straight sets before facing Carlos as well. When I last played John he
destroyed me though, so I have to go with “Double J” on this one.
The other local in the Men’s 50s, Jeff
Timmer, Director of Tennis at Colonial, hit most of the terrific
shots in his match with Pete Hessert of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, but he came
out on the short end of that one. Pete moved on with a 6-2, 6-3 victory and
will face No.1 Seed Steve Brady at 10:30am.
Three of the four participants in the Men’s 60s are locals, with second-seeded Steve Shortridge leading the way. Steve will take on LCCTA Pro Chuck Nelson of Lehigh Acres at 11:30am. Armor Persons of Fort Myers, the Director of Tennis at Breckenridge, takes on Top Seed Gewan Maharaj of Tampa, also at 11:30am.
The Men’s 65 Singles is chock-full of legends, at two established and one in the making. Mike Barnes is the one in the making, as I believe he hasn’t lost a match that counts since..uh..since Roger Federer had twins. Just kidding, I think it has been quite some time. Anyway, Mike is the No.1 Seed, and will one of the established legends, Jack Beardsworth of Punta Gorda in his first match.
Jack is a tennis professional of considerable renown, not just in Southwest Florida, but from what I was told, also in Massachusetts. I have heard about Jack for years, and finally met him and watched him play today. He took care of Ali Zalat of Lighthouse Point (6-0, 7-5) in the midafternoon heat. I hope Jack has something left for Barnes, especially since they are playing at high noon tomorrow!
Another well-established legend in the area, whom I’ve written far too much about already, Fred Drilling, is
seeded second and will face Bob Green, Director of Tennis at Pelican Preserve, also at noon. Fred generally plays the 70s, but I have seen him trounce a player in his 40s, so Bob will have his work cut out for him.
In his match today, Bob met Charles Van Middlesworth (whom we all call “Van”), and although the score was 6-3, 6-3, it felt more like 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.
It was one of those matches that you
have a hard time determining who is winning, since both players looked to be
giving as good as they got. I don’t mean to insult anyone, but I’m looking forward
to a Barnes-Drilling contest. Perhaps a little baton passing might be in the
|Charles Van Middlesworth|
Very few women are entered in singles and there are only three Women's Singles matches scheduled for tomorrow. Christie Bradley, Director of Tennis at the Sanctuary on Sanibel will put her No.2 seeding on the line against Ruth Hessert of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania at 12pm.
At 9am, Sabita Maharaj of Rockledge will take on Karleen Dawson of Oakland for the right to face No.1 Seed, Carolyn Franca.
Should it be Maharaj, it would only be about the bazillionth time that Sabita and Carolyn have met in USPTA competition. I think they know each other's games by now.
For the doubles aficionados, doubles events begin at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday). It will be an exciting start to the doubles, as Ryan Sherry and Kerry Kendrick of Casa Ybel on Sanibel face off against Franco Mata of
Port Royal in Naples and Courtney Vernon, FGCU’s Women’s
Tennis Coach in the Mixed Open Doubles event. I suspect this is going to be the
hardest hitting mixed doubles event you will see this side of a Grand Slam.
Other Doubles matches on tap for tomorrow:
- Armor Persons & Gewan Maharaj v. Mike Barnes & Larry Gagnon (Men’s 60s)
- Pete & Ruth Hessert v. Patricio Madariaga & Susie Brown (Mixed 50s)
- Kim Jones & Christie Bradley v. Carolyn Franca & Sabitha Maharaj (Women’s 50s)
- Ryan Sherry & Franco Mata v. Jared Kalpin & Milos Vasovic (Men’s Open)
- Erica Cossairt & T. A. Niles v. Jack Steyn & Trish Riddell (Mixed 40s)
- Fred Drilling & Rick Flach v. Armor Persons & Gewan Maharaj (Men’s 60s)
- Kim Jones & Christie Bradley v. Susie Brown & Cindy LePrevost (Women’s 50s)
I’m looking at the above lineup, and I’m just bumming that I’ll be playing at 4pm when the Men’s Open Doubles is also being played! I know Erica and I versus Jack and Trish can’t generate the fun factor that the men’s match will generate, but since it’s mixed, I’m thinking we should have more drama. What do you think?
|Susie & Cindy celebrating in 2013|
At least I should be done in time to catch the matchup between Kim and Christie against Susie and Cindy. That ought to be a fun match to watch. Susie and Cindy are an established team and the Defending National Champions of this division, and Kim and Christie bring boatloads of skill and experience to the table. I’ll be checking this one out. Hope to see you out there. Game, set, match...T. A. & Steph