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Showcase for senior men on the horizon

Published February 8, 2006

The Super Senior Grand Prix, a USTA Florida-sponsored series of men's tournaments, is coming to Pinellas County this month.

The 18-year-old series is open to men 55-90 and includes singles and doubles. Based on results in the designated contests, players accumulate points during the series that runs January-March.

Among the top players in last season's Grand Prix were Bob Meyerdierks, who finished No. 1 in the 80-and-over division; Tom Avirett No. 3 in 85; Don Mathias No. 4 in 65; and Marc Mazo and Gerry Barna, tied for No. 3 in the 55.

"Playing these tournaments is a good way to meet up with friends you've known for years through competition," said Meyerdierks, 80. "There's a bonding, plus you get to meet some new people. I always look forward to playing."

Meyerdierks, named USTA Florida's Male Player of the Year in 2002, finished last year ranked No. 1 in Florida in the 80 singles division and No. 4 in the nation.

Last month, Meyerdierks reached the men's 80 semifinal in singles in the USTA Super Senior Category II Championships in Naples. In doubles, Meyerdierks was a finalist with Lyn Abbot. A designated tournament in Naples found Meyerdierks a finalist in the 80 singles and runnerup in doubles.

In both contests, Meyerdierks fell to Fred Kovaleski of Washington in singles.

Top finishes in the Grand Prix doubles included Meyerdierks and John Boliver at No. 2 and Bob Allen and Andy Chau No. 3 in the 80; Dick Crawford and Hernan Molina No. 4 in 70; Dave Krebs and Ed Hamilton No. 2 and Mathias and Gene Poplawski No. 3 in 65; Mazo and Bill Christensen No. 4 in 55.

"The camaraderie and competition in these tournaments is what most of us like the most," said Krebs, 69. "I always look forward to seeing my old buddies and opportunities to make new friends."

Krebs started playing tennis in his late 40s and entered his first tournament when he was 60.

SPCC is hosting its second national-level event, the Raymond James Super Senior Grand Prix National USTA Category II Tournament, Feb. 27-March 5.

"We've increased our prize money to $3,000 and that will probably bring more players," said Sam Vuille, SPCC tennis director and tournament host. "There will probably be around 160 players with some world-class level players to local competitors."

Many players will use the Feb. 20-26 West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center as a warmup to the national contest.

LEAGUE NEWS: In the senior men's only match this weekend, the Vinoy raised its record to 4-0 with a win over McMullen. Scott Stewart and David Pitt won in straight sets in No. 2 and Nga Duong and Don Mathias posted a three-set win in No. 1. The Vinoy won its third point by default.

Last weekend, Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club collected its second win in the 3.5 senior women's division with a 2-1 victory over Heritage Springs on the play of Erika Boardman and Liz Dunlop in No. 1 and Anneliese Tedeschi and Joyce Williams in No. 2.

In senior women's 4.0, the Vinoy raised its record to 3-2 when it defeated Shipwatch Tennis Club 2-1. Vinoy's points were earned by Sherri Ebelke and Helga Robertson in No. 1 and Marlene Mikracek and Kathy Moll in No. 2. Lynne Norring and Angie Lincicome earned Shipwatch's point in No. 3.

McMullen handed the St. Petersburg Tennis Center its first loss in the senior women's 4.0 competition with a 2-1 score. Marion Murch and Hank Skoczen in No. 2 and Ria Graham and Nancy Morgan in No. 3 collected McMullen's two points, and Susan Hobbs and Ann Worthington posted SPTC's point in No. 1.

NET SHOTS: Peter Crewe teamed with George McCabe of Ohio to reach the men's 75 doubles final in the USA Category II tournament in Naples. O scar Steckman won the 80 consolation singles.

Alex Deeb upset the No. 1 seed to win the 55 singles title in the Super Senior Classic Designated Tournament in Naples.

Last month's seventh annual Rotary Tennis and Golf Challenge at Treasure Bay raised more than $7,000 for the club's donation to their schools program and to the junior programs in Treasure Island. Winners of the tennis challenge included Helen Davis (3.0), Margaret Tseng (3.5), Nancy Holdstein (4.0), Tom Pizurie (3.5) and Pat Bitonti (4.0).

Anthony Barrancotto upset the No. 1 seed to win the boys 14-and-under title in the Buckhorn Springs Junior Championships.

Among the winners in last weekend's Adult Winter NTRP Tournament at East Lake Woodlands was Stefan Frisch in the men's 3.5. Doubles winners included Lauren Coogan and Tracey Sullivan (women's 3.5), Stacey Foster and Kirsten Willis (3.0), Siwei Jin and Sriram Swaminathan (men's 4.0) and Craig and Kenneth Emery (3.5).

[Last modified February 8, 2006, 01:15:22]

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