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    Pinellas wins battle of rival counties

    By NANCY MORGAN

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2001


    Pinellas players edged Hillsborough to capture titles in the K-Swiss Tennis League playoffs.

    A weekend of competition that began Saturday at Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club and Carrollwood Golf and Tennis Club and concluded with finals Sunday at Carrollwood included nine women's singles divisions and 11 men's, 3 women's doubles and 4 mixed doubles.

    Pinellas won 11 of the 20 singles, all 3 women's doubles and 2 of the 4 mixed doubles.

    Among the nine winners in the women's competition were Ellen Jonassen, 2.5 division; Beth Frierson, 3.5-minus; 2000 master's 3.5-minus champion Laura Hungerville, 3.5; Lisa Flamand, 4.0; and Becky Poage, 4.5-minus.

    "People that know me know that I don't stop running for the ball," said Flamand, who plays at East Lake Woodlands. "That probably is what made the difference this time. I played Ruby Johnson (from East Lake) and we went 3-6, 6-2, 6-1."

    Flamand pulled double duty with a USTA league match Saturday afternoon and her K-Swiss semifinal that evening, followed by the final Sunday. She won them all and plans to play in her club's charity doubles event this weekend. Pinellas men captured six singles crowns -- the 3.5 by Louis Onesto, 4.0-minus by 2000 master's 3.5 champion Robert Starzl, the 4.5-minus by Dave Marger, the 4.5 by 2000 master's 4.5-minus winner Dan Mollica, the 5.0 by Marcus Fielding and the 5.5 by Terry O'Grady.

    "This was my first time to play K-Swiss," Fielding said. "I was 6-0 in the regular season and defeated a Tampa player 6-2, 6-4 in the final. If I play the next season, I'll need to move up to 5.5, so I'll have to decide."

    Turtle Marshall and Christy Monroe teamed to win the women's 8.5 division, Dot Thomas and Elsa Heintz the 7.5 and Joyce Golden and Debbie Gordon the 6.5.

    "We're both fairly new players, and this was our first time to play K-Swiss together," Golden said. "There were just four teams in the playoffs, and we won 6-3, 7-5 over a team from Hillsborough. We took some lessons on our net game when we started to play K-Swiss, and I guess that helped us."

    Mixed doubles winners were the husband-wife team of Marie and Michael Vitale, 7.5, and Janet Eschenroeder and John Beda, 9.5.

    Registration for the K-Swiss Tennis League summer season continues through Tuesday. League play is June 9-Aug. 4. For information, call 865-0615.

    A LOSS: Lauren Lou Kunnen, an avid player from her junior days to adulthood, passed away Tuesday after more than a year-long battle with cancer.

    Kunnen, described as a tennis prodigy by many, captured 30-40 titles in a three-year span before she was 18. She won the girls 18-and-under national championship when she was 14.

    At this month's USTA Florida Section meeting, Kunnen, 68, was unanimously voted into the organization's Hall of Fame in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the sport through her competitive achievements.

    SENIORS AT SECTIONALS: Seven local USA League Tennis Senior Doubles League champions competed among 85 men's and women's teams for the right to represent Florida in national championships.

    Reaching the semifinal round were Westin Innisbrook Resort's 3.5 and Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club's 4.0 women's squads. On the men's side were Racquet Club of St. Petersburg's 3.5 and Shipwatch Tennis Club's 4.0 teams. Only Treasure Island advanced to the final. A 2-1 victory over Pensacola qualified Treasure Island for a national tournament in Palm Springs, Calif.

    Safety Harbor Spa's 4.5 men's squad was second in its flight, and Timber Pines Tennis Club's 3.0 women were third.

    FUTURES AT SEMINOLE: Krishnan Anandan, the director at Seminole Lake Tennis Center, is playing host to the U.S. Tennis Association's Futures of Seminole through next weekend.

    Registration for the qualifying tournament of the professional circuit event is today. Competition is scheduled for Friday through Sunday.

    Main draw action begins Monday in the 32-player draw and Tuesday for the 16-team doubles.

    Players ranked 297th and higher are entered in the $15,000 event. Jack Brasington of Miami is the top seed. Other Americans with world rankings who will be competing are Levar Harper-Griffith of Sarasota and Eric Nunez.

    Harper-Griffith, 20, was chosen by former U.S. Davis Cup captain John McEnroe to be a practice partner for the U.S. matches with Zimbabwe. Nunez attended Seminole High School as a freshman before moving to south Florida.

    JUNIORS: Area players entered in the USTA Florida Section Designated Singles Tournament that begins Saturday include Jennifer Dent, Kelly Nelson and Evangelina Soriano, in the 18-and-under division; Monica Sly, 16; Morgan Frank, Yumi Hasagawa, Zoe Kent and Sarah Svoboda, 14; Jessica Svoboda, Lindsay Dvorak and Jamie Mera, 12; and Morgan Basil, Alexandra Cercone and Emily Dvorak, 10. Boys entered include Carl Fenzl, Carl Fisher and Ryler DeHeart, 18; Ryan Buchanan, Haley Dodson, Patrick Gleason, Fred Johnson, Constantine Lazarov, Brandon Pierpont, Shaun Young and Marc Sawyer, 16; Nicholas Berning, George Navas, Coonor Van Elswyk and Brendan and Kimble McKay, 14; and Austin Krajicek and Christopher Kucharski, 12.

    Competition will be at various clubs in the Delray Beach area.

    DID YOU KNOW? The U.S. Tennis Association, the sport's national governing body, celebrated its 120th birthday Monday.

    In its first official meeting, the organization's leaders voted to play host to a national championship in Newport, R.I., that evolved into the U.S. Open. That first event cost $242.68 to operate and earned a profit of $4.32.

    In 2000, the U.S. Open generated nearly $420 million in direct revenue for the area -- more than any other sports or entertainment event in any U.S. city, according to a press release from the USTA last week.

    THIS WEEKEND: The 11th annual Charity Tennis Tournament at East Lake Woodlands begins Friday.

    In its first 10 years, the doubles competition has raised more than $130,000 for Cancer Care, Research and Education at Morton Plant Mease Hospital.

    Doubles for men, women and mixed teams is planned and will be directed by the professional staff at East Lake.

    Door prizes, drawings and a silent auction will be held throughout the Memorial Day Weekend. On Friday, an evening reception will include announcement of the draw, distribution of tournament T-shirts and an auction.

    For information, contact East Lake, 785-2212.

    COMING UP: USA Team Tennis registration continues this month for players 6-18. The coed program offers competition at various levels. Practice begins June 4, and the six-week league starts June 11. For information, call 784-4938 or 733-2750. ... The Lydick Family Tennis Benefit, an adult singles tournament, is June 2 at McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater. Sponsored by the City of Safety Harbor, the competition's proceeds will benefit 15-year old Patricia Lydick, who has been battling cancer since she was 9. Registration is at any Safety Harbor recreation center, Clearwater's Long Center or the McMullen Tennis Complex. Call 724-1570 or 669-1919 for information. ... The Summer Classic, a state-sanctioned junior singles and doubles tournament, is June 9-11. The Phil Green Tennis Academy at Safety Harbor Spa is the host. For information, call Green, 724-7729.

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