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St. Petersburg teams win 3 USA League titles

By NANCY MORGAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000


St. Petersburg adult teams captured three of six USA League Tennis championships in last weekend's playoff finals.

The Racquet Club of St. Petersburg won the women's 4.0 title, the Renaissance Vinoy the men's 3.5, and the Treasure Island Recreation Center the men's 4.5.

Also winning were East Lake Woodlands in the women's 3.0 and 3.5 divisions and Seminole Lakes Tennis Center in the men's 4.0. Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club's 4.5 women's team and Feather Sound Country Club's 3.0 were division winners that did not require playoffs. All advance to regional competition next month.

"The Vinoy had a good team and they were tough, but I think our experience helped us get past them," said Patti Johnston, captain of the Racquet Club's 4.0 team. "Plus, our pro, John Haggar, was a great coach."

Linda Miller in No. 1 singles and Carol Nelson and Sonia Raymond in No. 1 doubles earned the first two points for the Racquet Club. The Vinoy's Diane Gabay and Karen Howley took a point in No. 2 doubles, then Chris Agee and Barbara Boucek won in No. 3 to clinch the team match. Johnston retired in No. 2 singles against Carol Fontaine.

"After I knew we won I just wanted to celebrate," said Johnston. "We had players like Sonia, Barbara and Jean Krause that even changed travel plans to play this match. We wanted to celebrate the win."

Rounding out the Racquet Club team are Donna Brewer, Irene Haggar, Darcy Giroud, Martha Gilkes, Gail Razook, Sandy Martin, Gisela Levya, Mary Ellen Shevlin and Diana Craig.

The Vinoy's 3.5 men's team thought at the beginning of the season that a .500 record would be good. As it turned out, the team was 7-1 in the regular season and 3-0 in the playoffs. Saturday's 4-1 victory over the Racquet Club not only clinched the district championship but also avenged last year's loss to the Racquet Club.

"What is so special to us is that everyone on our team contributed at least three wins during the season," said Norm Ott, the Vinoy's 3.5 captain. "It seemed as we played day by day that someone would step up and win when we least expected it."

In the final, Terry Brett in No. 1 singles and Don Mathias in No. 2 scored wins for the Vinoy over Jeff Doty and Tim Bourne respectively. Pat Dines and Gordon Nichols defeated the Racquet Club's Bob Dickerson and Tom Stewart in No. 1 doubles, but Bob Wahl and Neel Voss answered with a two-set win over the Vinoy's Ott and Tony Gentile. Up 3-1, Sie Kamide and Don Wheeler defeated Ray Cianci and Tony Damouny to give the Vinoy its 4-1 victory.

Also playing for the Vinoy are Jeff Szilage, Dave Calametti, Dean Lampe, D.J. Korns, Ed Kidston and Dick Graf.

For the fifth consecutive year, according to Steve Reilly, Treasure Island Recreation Center's 4.5 captain, the final came down to a contest with Royal Racquet Club. This time, the Treasure Island squad blanked the opponents 5-0.

"We have a lot of respect for Royal's team and always have," said Reilly. "We know they can sneak up on you and we know that we must plan to play well to win."

The TI Center team won four matches in straight sets. Pat Brady in No. 1 singles defeated Royal's Kurt Long 6-3, 6-3, and Jim Cohen in No. 2 defeated Bill Christenson 6-3, 6-1. Robin Kippenberger and Darrel Stewart added a third win in No. 1 doubles with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Andy Lynn and Trace Bower, and Steve's brother Paul teamed with Pierce Kelly to defeat Pat Siracusa and Ron Wiser 6-4, 6-4 in No. 2 doubles. Steve Reilly and Pat Brady's brother Tim won in No. 3 over Paul Berg and Graham Bell in a third-set tiebreaker.

Other players on the TI Center team are Ken Heretick, Ralph Howe, Jeff Juilen, Bill Funk and Novikou Sirgei.

"We have a tremendous amount of state and national competitive tournament play experience on this team," said Steve Reilly. "At the next level, however, we are being cautiously optimistic about our chances. We know we must plan to play well and there's always the luck factor."

Local league winners will face teams from Sarasota, Tampa, Naples and Fort Myers in the regional tournament July 21-24 at Longboat Key. Those winners advance to the state tournament in August.

A LEGEND DIES: Eddie Herr, 93, one of the founders of the USTA Florida Section along with Ed Turville and Tom Garlough, died Saturday in south Florida. Herr created the Orange Bowl International Tennis Tournament, the Sunshine Cup, the Continental Players Cup and the Eddie Herr International Junior Tournament, all of which have become recognized as among the most prestigious junior events in the world.

JUNIOR WINNERS: Top-seeded Jose Tolentino of St. Petersburg won the boys 14-and-under singles title in last weekend's SPTC Junior Open 2000 at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center. Tolentino held off No. 2 seed Serguei Boulanov of Bradenton 6-4, 6-4.

Other local winners included No. 1 seed Katherine Waldthausen in the girls 14s and Adel Nasser in the boys 16s. Elyse Roenick won the girls 14s consolation, as did Helmut Waldthausen the boys 16s.

CELEBRATION: Royal Racquet Club is hosting a TNT Wimbledon GRASSroots Promotion Saturday in recognition of Turner Network Television's projected 60 hours of Wimbledon coverage.

From 10 a.m. to noon is an adult mixer, followed by lunch at noon and a Wilson Demo activity from 1 to 3 p.m. The first 100 to register and pay a $5 fee for the event will receive a free T-shirt. Call 799-3200 for other details.

COMING UP: The Summer Classic for juniors in singles only is this weekend at the McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater. Call Krishnan Anandan at 669-1919 today to enter. ... East Lake Woodlands hosts the 2000 Little Mo Nationals Florida Section event July 1-3 for those 11 and under. Call the club at 785-2212. ... This month's Suncoast Tennis Singles meets July 16 at Safety Harbor Spa. Call Les Spang at 581-2020 for other information.

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