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Women's squad is in familiar territory

By NANCY MORGAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2001


The senior women's 4.0 team at Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club will make its third consecutive appearance in the USTA Florida Section State Championships this weekend.

The Racquet Club's 3.5 men's squad will play in the tournament for the first time. In both cases, the teams qualified by defeating competition in their respective divisions. Treasure Island was unbeaten in its class, and the Racquet Club won a playoff. "We're basically the same team as in times past," said Patti Prestera, Treasure Island captain. "In the last two years at state, we haven't gotten to the semifinal round, but we've been close. This time, though, we hope to do better and get farther."

Seven players will represent Treasure Island. In the regular season, Prestera and Susan Hobbs played No. 1. At state, Sharon Carlile will share the position. Rounding out the other two doubles positions are Carol Hancock and Lynn Klein and Ann Worthington and Joan Plaster.

"Although we've played with the same partners most of the time in the senior league, we are partners with others in other leagues," Prestera said. "We're lucky in that respect. Because of that, we can shift around and play well with about anyone else on the team."

That same philosophy has been successful for the Racquet Club's team of senior men. "It's worked out pretty well to keep our set partners," captain Marshall Craig said. "For the last few weeks, we've been practicing extra and have been coached by Janet Newberry. She's helped us a lot with strategy and emphasized some key points for us. Having her help us has definitely raised our level of confidence."

Newberry, a former professional in the 1970s, was ranked as high as 17th in the world and won the 1977 Italian Open.

Only Steve Uebel and Ray Cianci have participated on a Racquet Club squad that's made it all the way to nationals.

"Two years ago, our team advanced to nationals and the experience from that is definitely good to have," Uebel said. "If we can all go to state and not get overwhelmed by the experience, we could do all right."

Uebel and Tony Damouny plays No. 1 for the Racquet Club. Complementary styles of play and a sense of knowing what the other is going to do have resulted in success for the duo.

Cianci and Tom Stewart are the No. 2 team, followed by Bob Steel and Don Campagne at No. 3. Craig and Russ Barlow are relied on for filling in when and where needed.

Treasure Island is competing in a field of 14 squads that is divided into three flights. Assigned to a flight of five teams, Treasure Island is scheduled to play Tallahassee and Rockledge on Friday, followed by weekend matches with Plantation and Ft. Myers.

The Racquet Club is in a flight of five squads among a total of 13 in the 3.5 division. Matches against Naples and Palm Beach Gardens on Friday will be followed by contests with Stuart and Cocoa Beach.

In both cases, the winner in each of the three flights will join the second-place team with the best overall record in the semifinals. Championship matches are scheduled for Monday. The competition will be at Naples Bath and Tennis Club.

ADULT CLASSIC: St. Petersburg's Ed Jagger, after upsetting top-seeded Mark Taylor 6-0, 6-3 in the Royal Adult Tennis Classic, defeated Matt Bydalik 6-1, 6-1 in the men's 30-and-over division.

Men's 50 top seed Bill Christensen of Clearwater stalled the challenge of St. Petersburg's Sergei Novikov with a 7-5, 6-4 final win.

JUNIORS SUPER SERIES: Marc Sawyer of Largo defended his 16-and-under division top seeding in the Pre-Summer Super Series this month at East Lake Woodlands.

Advancing to the final round of competition were Austin Kondor, boys 10; Nicholas Berning, 14; Tim Shadrick, 18; and Bugsy Bauer, girls 18.

Area doubles winners included Berning and Alec Vuckovic (14), Bauer and Monica Sly (16) and Anastasia Sokolova and Evangelina Soriano (18).

USA TEAM FOR JUNIORS: Registration for summer USA Junior Team Tennis continues through June 8. Contact Sam Vuille, 867-9105, or Deborah Tuthill, 866-8434.

Teams of 4-6 coed players will participate in the Red, White or Blue divisions according to junior rating guidelines. The cost per player is $60, which includes six weeks of practice and match play along with eligibility to compete in the Red Rally for beginners July 21-22 in Tampa or the state tournament, July 27-29 in Lakeland.

Matches begin the week of June 11. League sponsorships are available to help defray the cost of the league. Contact Vuille or Tuthill. NET NOTES: An Adult Tennis League is underway at St. Petersburg Country Club for players in levels 2.5 and higher. At least six courts are filled for men's, women's and mixed doubles action Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information, contact SPCC, 867-9105. ... The South Pinellas Ladies Doubles League started this month with teams from SPCC, Seminole Lake Tennis Center and Treasure Island Golf, Tennis and Recreation Center competing. ... Tennis camps are available at Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club. Call 367-4511.

COMING UP: The Suncoast Tennis Singles meets Sunday at Crescent Oaks. Call Carolyn, (813) 920-1418. ... A state-sanctioned junior singles tournament begins Saturday at Seminole Lake Tennis Center. Call Krishnan Anandan, 394-1733, today. ... The Charity Tennis Tournament to benefit the Morton Plant Mease Hospital Powell Pavilion is May 25-28 at East Lake Woodlands. Call 785-2212 to enter the doubles-only competition.

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