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Three women, eight men named flex league champs

By NANCY MORGAN
Published July 5, 2006


The 26-year St. Petersburg flex league closed out its spring season with three women's champions and eight men's titles.

Sheree Mangone won her first league title among five players in the A-2 division.

"I just got back into playing and played in my first league in January," 10-year St. Petersburg resident Mangone said. "I played when our kids were young, and now they're teenagers. I've actually been playing about 15 years but active only about five."

Mangone lost just once this season, playing a baseline style and relying on consistency for her success. Four of her five wins were three-setters.

Patty Mellenbruch started tennis less than two years ago. After winning the beginner division, Mellenbruch was paired up with several players from different levels for last summer's competition.

"When I decided to play tennis, I made myself sign up for the league to get out and play," Mellenbruch said. "I played in B-1 with at least seven other girls and had two tiebreakers, but won."

Mellenbruch and her husband, Gary, both played this past season and are also in the summer league. Patty is in A-2, and Gary is in B-2.

Lori Intravichit claimed the A-1 title, the third women's division in the spring league. Intravichit won a playoff with Lisa Tamurro-Hilbert.

Greg Hilbert repeated as the men's A-1 winner with his only loss to Nik Sukhasam. Hilbert also recorded wins in last year's spring, fall and winter seasons.

A playoff was needed to determine the A-2 champion. John McMasters and Reza Mashayekhi only had losses to each other during the season. In their first meeting, McMasters won 3-6, 7-66, 6-1. In the second match, Mashayekhi won 6-2, 7-5. McMasters, a former state-ranked junior player, was the playoff winner with a 7-5, 6-1 score.

"I'd been an avid golfer for the last 25 years when I decided I needed to get some aerobic exercise," said McMasters, 51. "I had played tennis as a junior before I went to prep school in New England. I was ranked about 15th in the boys 12, but could see I needed better focus."

McMasters, who played his junior days at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center, is back at the center playing with juniors such as the state's No. 1-ranked player Danielle Collins in the girls 12.

"Tennis was never totally off the horizon for me, even when I didn't play," McMasters said. "One year, I did play No. 1 for St. Petersburg Junior College. I still have a pretty classic style game and rely on my ability to move around the court."

Other winners in the A division were John Green (A-3), with an 8-0 record, and Mike Sagese (A-4), with a three-set playoff win over Tonu Toomepuu. Ed Kravitz won B-1 with an 8-0 record, Bill Murray the B-2 and Mark Stephenson B-4.

The summer season has begun in the men's A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, B-1 and B-2 divisions and in the women's A-1, A-2 and B.

LEAGUE NEWS: Countryside Country Club edged Shipwatch Tennis Club for the St. Petersburg/Clearwater 7.0 Spring Mixed Doubles title. Both teams played to a 6-2 overall record with the same number of position wins (18) and losses (6). Countryside lost 13 sets compared to Shipwatch's 15 to be declared the local winner.

NET SHOTS: No. 4-seed Kevin Manning reached the semifinal round of the men's 45-and-over singles in last month's National Public Parks Championships held at the USTA National Tennis Center in New York. Manning played to the 45 doubles quarterfinals with Nelson Kier of New York.

Nicholas Berning finished fourth in the boys 18-and-under Florida Open Championships in Fort Myers. Reaching the quarterfinal round were Alexander Domijan in the boys 18 and No. 3 Alexis Dorr the girls 18. Playing to the round of 16 were Lindsay Dvoark and Yumi Hasegawa in girls 18 and Jorge Guerra in boys 16.

Morgan Frank reached the round of 32, then won five matches in the consolation.

Robert Dvorak reached the boys 12 round of 16 in the Southern Open Championships. Emily Dvorak and Anthony Barrancotto each won a round in the girls and boys 14, respectively. Dvorak and Erin Stephens of Santa Rosa Beach advanced to the girls semifinal.

Julie Panton has been chosen USTA Florida's July Volunteer of the Month. Panton is a certified USTA official, grassroots instructor at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center and head teaching professional at the Willis S. Johns Center.

COMING UP: Seminole Lake Tennis Academy hosts the July Spectacular Super Series for juniors 14-and-under beginning Saturday. ... Royal Racquet Summer Super Series for juniors in 18 and 16 age divisions begins Saturday. ... An NTRP Designated Tournament is this weekend at Countryside Country Club.

- News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119; e-mailed to namorgan46@msn.com or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Please include phone number.