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Area makes its national mark

By NANCY MORGAN
Published October 26, 2006


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With seven USTA League teams in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area qualifying for 2006 national championships, local teams outplayed all others around the state. Jacksonville is the next closest with four.

Two area teams in the adult league and five in the senior division qualified.

The Renaissance Vinoy senior 4.0 men claimed the area's best finish, second place, in Palm Springs, Calif.

The nine-player squad led off flight competition with a 3-0 win over USTA section Northern, then beat Middle States 2-1. Despite a 2-1 loss to Southern California, the Vinoy advanced to the final four.

The Vinoy faced Southwest in its semifinal and won in a 10-point tiebreaker, advancing to the final against New England.

"Who would think we would be in a national tennis championship at this stage in our lives?" team captain Scott Stewart said. "It's just awesome. You can't ask for any better thing to happen. As an adult athlete, it doesn't get any better than this."

The outcome was determined by a 10-point tiebreaker with New England winning 10-6.

In the senior women's 4.0 national in Palm Springs, McMullen's team was 2-2 in its flight competition. McMullen beat Midwest and Caribbean with 2-1 scores and fell to Middle States and Mid-Atlantic 2-1.

Last weekend, St. Petersburg Tennis Center's senior 4.5 women were second among four at the USTA National Senior League Championships in Tucson, Ariz. SPTC defeated Southwest 2-1 and Hawaii 3-0 before losing 2-1 to Pacific Northwest.

SPTC was edged out as a flight winner in a tiebreaker as Southwest won seven individual positions and SPTC six.

At the men's senior 4.5, also in Tucson, McMullen finished third among four. After a 2-1 loss to Southern California, McMullen beat Pacific Northwest 3-0. and lost 2-1 to Mid-Atlantic.

Last month, the women's 5.0 adult league champion McMullen placed fourth in the nation and Countryside Country Club's 3.0 adult women were 2-2 to finish third in their flight.

This weekend, Feather Sound Country Club's senior 3.0 men leave for the USTA National Senior League Championships in Tucson. The squad of 10 will face sections Middle States, Eastern and Missouri Valley with hopes of reaching national semifinals. All 17 USTA sections are represented in the 50-and-over contest.

MORE LEAGUE NEWS: In the USTA Florida Adult Mixed Doubles Championships, Countryside Country Club 7.0 was third in its flight. East Lake Woodlands was fourth in its 8.0 flight, as was Royal Racquet in 9.0.

- Captains for the men's and women's senior, super senior and super 70 doubles leagues, senior mixed doubles and women's 6.5 evening combo leagues are encouraged to meet with league coordinators Nov. 16 in the Grill Room at East Lake Woodlands Country Club. The social begins at 6 p.m., the meeting at 6:30.

NATIONAL JUNIOR CHAMPIONS: The Treasure Bay 18-and-under coed team won at the USTA National Junior Team Tennis Championships in Tucson last weekend. Treasure Bay beat Intermountain, Southwest and Pacific Northwest to reach the semifinal, then advanced to the final and beat Midwest 30-26 in total games.

NET SHOTS: Anastasia Nefedova of Palm Harbor reached the final in the Little Mo Nationals in Austin, Texas. Nefedova was the No. 2 seed in the girls 8-and-under national contest.

- Ricky Szymanski in the boys 14 and David Teytelbaum the 12 won as top seeds in the Temple Terrace Junior Halloween Classic. Julia Teytelbaum won the girls 14.

- Among the winners in the Haunted Rookie Tournament at the Largo Tennis Center were Alexis Franco in the girls 10, Jessica Stephens the 12, Julian Haerle the boys 10, Zev Mandelkar the 14 and Kenneth Snyder the 16.

- Collecting singles titles in this month's SPTC Adults and Senior Vets were top seeds Steve Talner in the men's 50-and-over and Borut Puc the open, second seed Dave Krebs the 70, Matt Fox the 30, Michael Erbe the 40 and Les Mandelker the 60.

- Among the winners in this month's St. Petersburg Country Club Rookie event were Alyssa Emery in the girls 16, Lindsay Hodgon the 14, Robyn Tuff Perry 12, Evie Sobczak 10 and Julian Haerle the boys 10.

Finalists included Ilana Rakita in girls 10, Aaron Carey boys 10, Robert Perry 14 and Kenneth Snyder 16.

- Borut Puc won the men's open singles final in straight sets at the Hunter's Green Adult Challenge. Anna Coy collected the women's open round-robin title and Reinaldo Valor upset the No. 1 seed in the men's 60 final.

Consolation winners included Scott Griffith in men's 40-and-over, Matthew McDonough the 30 and Mark Wagner the open.

- Sarah Wall in the girls 12-and-under and Adam Norris the boys 14 were straight-set winners in their respective finals in the Countryside Fall Junior Rookie. Playing to the final round were Stephanie Cruz in the girls 12, Alyssa Bandes the 14, Ganesh Rajaram the boys 10 and Carl Gavine the 16.

GUMBO CLASSIC: Friday is the registration deadline for the Gumbo Tennis Classic, a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters. The charity men's, women's and mixed doubles event kicks off at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 with its draw party at Frenchy's Saltwater Cafe on Clearwater Beach. Competition is Nov. 3-5 at the McMullen Tennis Complex. For more details, call 518-8860 or 669-1919.

Winners, finalists, semifinalists and consolation winners qualify for the Jan. 19-21 Tournament of Champions hosted by the Suncoast Tennis Foundation. Invitations will be at the tournament desk.

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

[Last modified October 25, 2006, 22:46:20]


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