Road trips for adults, juniors

Published August 22, 2006

This month has been a busy one for area players. Juniors traveled as far away as California to compete in USTA National Hard Court Championships and adults were in Daytona Beach challenging for state USTA Adult League team titles.

Juniors' finishes were as high as second in singles in 192-player draws and fourth in 92-team doubles.

Two of the three adult teams at state played past their challengers and earned spots in USTA Adult League National Championships. The third team placed second.

Winning were Countryside Country Club 3.0 women and McMullen 5.0 women. Seminole Lake Tennis Academy 4.5 men's team finished just two sets short of advancing.

Countryside's win was nerve-wracking. A player's disqualification after two matches dropped the team to second place, even after winning the final match 4-1 over Sarasota. Just as Countryside was preparing to leave, it was called back and named state champion.

With two teams in the women's 5.0 division, McMullen played Jacksonville three times. After splitting the first two games, the winner was determined in the final match.

"It was close and we were pretty evenly matched," McMullen captain Anh Thu Burks said. "It was different this time compared to when we won state at 4.5 a couple of years ago. We were more mentally tough then from playing in a local league with several teams. This time, the biggest challenge was to get qualified. It seemed a little strange playing one team to advance to nationals."

Among the juniors at hard-court nationals were Alexandra Cercone and Lindsay Dvorak in the girls 16-and-under competition in San Diego, Calif. Fifth-seeded Cercone played to the round of 16 in singles and was fourth in doubles with Gulf Breeze's Jacqueline Kasler. Dvorak won two matches to reach the round of 64.

Garrett Betsarakis won three matches in the boys 14 to reach the round of 32, as did Clint Bowles in the 18. Alexis Dorr and Christina Liles each won two in the girls 18 and Morgan Frank won one.

Second-seeded Danielle Collins won six matches to reach the girls 12 final. In doubles, Collins teamed with Jarret Fisher of Illinois and played to the quarterfinals. Boys 16 fifth seed Alex Domijan, 14, advanced to the semifinals to face the tournament's top seed. Domijan lost 6-3, 6-4.

"I thought I played well," said Domijan in a followup article on www.ustaboys.com. "He's improved his game a lot. I used to play him a lot - not recently - and he just used to get the ball back. Now he's added a lot of offense to his game, and that made it very difficult to beat him."

Earlier this month, area juniors competed in the First Coast Designated in Jacksonville. Boys 18 third-seed Istvan Bolgar collected the top honor and Paul Polarczyk placed third overall.

MORE ADULT NEWS: New Port Richey's Sylvia Bell won the women's 55-and-over consolation in the Royal Racquet Summer Classic Designated Tournament in Clearwater. Tampa's Tish Rowe won the 55 main draw.

- The Nature Coast Tennis Foundation is hosting a USTA Florida Recreational Workshop Sept. 23 at the Nature Coast Technical High Tennis Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The same format of instruction and training is available. Contact Louise Downey, 352 666-0658 or e-mail hernandousta@yahoo.com.

OTHER JUNIOR ACTION: Top seeds Katherine Geshel in the girls 10 and Dilip Kamath in the boys 18 played to the final in the East Lake Summer Local Championships at East Lake Woodlands Golf and Country Club. Tamara Subotic won the girls 10 consolation as did Bryce Benedict in the boys 10.

- Collecting singles titles in the Hot, Hot, Hot Rookie Tournament in Largo were Jacquelin Simpson in girls 10, Kristen Hurst the 16 and Dante Bosnic the boys 10. Tamara Bustard played to the girls 16 final.

News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, (727) 445-4119; e-mailed to namorgan@tampabay.rr.com or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Please include phone number.