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Juniors get a jump on competition

Published May 19, 2006

The 180-plus juniors that competed in last weekend's Junior Championships at Saddlebroook Academy entered the state-sanctioned singles event for various reasons.

For some, it was just a tournament to enter close to home while others used the competition to assess their game improvement. Many, however, looked at this contest as a tuneup for the designated tournaments slated this month at various sites in south Florida.

Tournament director Al Dufaux, who has coached the No. 33-ranked women at the University of Tampa the past eight years, has directed the Saddlebrook tournaments nearly as long.

"Because this tournament falls near the state closed, it's important for that event as well as this month's designated," Dufaux said. "Results from those two events help set them up for the summer schedule of national junior tournaments."

Among the winners in the five age groups for boys and girls were local players Kalotina Klonaris (girls 12-and-under), Amber Li (16), Chihiro Takayama (18), Didrik Berg (boys 16) and Akshay Bajoria (18).

Unseeded Klonaris upset the No. 2 seed in a quarterfinal match, then Tampa's No. 1 Claire Mitchell Andrews in the 12 final. Natnicha Sirilaophaisal won the 12 consolation.

In the girls 18, Saddlebrook's Takayama outscored Wesley Chapel's No. 1 Yumi Hasegawa 6-0, 6-2. After upsetting top seed Kyle Eddins of Wesley Chapel in a boys 18 semifinal, seventh-seed Evgeny Belov battled Saddlebrook teammate Bajoria but fell 6-3, 6-2.

Designated tournaments are May 27-29 at clubs in the Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Delray Beach areas. The Florida State Closed begins June 10 in Daytona Beach.

SENIORS AT STATE: Four teams leave this week to travel to Daytona Beach for USTA Florida Senior Sectionals in the 3.0 and 4.0 men's and women's divisions.

McMullen's 3.0 and 4.0 women's teams, Feather Sound 3.0 men and the Vinoy 4.0 men all are competing.

McMullen's 4.0 senior women include captain Ria Graham of New Port Richey and Pinellas players Sharon Carlile, Pat Kelly, Lynn Klein, Nancy Klibanoff, Sandy Lamy, Carol Levin, Nancy Morgan, Marion Murch and Hank Skoczen.

McMullen opens its round-robin competition with two matches today, first against Ocala, followed by a matchup with a Polk County team. On Saturday, McMullen plays Lee/Charlotte.

Sunday, the top team from each of the three 4.0 flights, plus the overall second-place team, competes in semifinal and final rounds of action .

MORE LEAGUES: Leaders have emerged among the 38 women's and 28 men's teams in the Adult Spring League. Sporting unbeaten records among the women heading into the final weeks of competition are McMullen's 5.0 with a 2-0 record, 4.0 (5-0), 3.5 (6-0); Feather Sound Country Club 2.5 (3-0); Countryside's 3.0 Egrets (5-0), 3.0 Herons (5-0) and 3.0 Pelicans (7-0); Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club 4.0 (4-0); and Royal Racquet Club 4.5 (4-0).

Unbeaten among the four men's divisions are McMullen 3.5 North (7-0) and 4.0 (5-0) squads; Shipwatch Tennis Club in 3.5 South (7-0); Seminole Lake Tennis Center 4.0 (5-0).

Area champions advance to the Central East Regional July 14-16 in Daytona Beach.

[Last modified May 19, 2006, 03:00:21]

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