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Tennis standout fourth in nationals

The freshman from Lutz was competing in the National Clay Court Championships. Another Palmer Tennis Academy player placed second in his state competition.

By TERRY JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 28, 2000


LUTZ -- Stacia Fonseca, the 14-year-old Lutz tennis sensation, has added a fourth-place finish in the National Clay Court Championships to her growing list of achievements.

The Gaither High freshman won five matches in the grueling eight-day national tournament July 15-22 at the Vetri Tennis Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Among her opponents was No. 2 seed Leila Hodzic of Cupertino, Calif. Fonseca, who entered the meet seeded 14th, defeated Hodzic in split sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

"Stacia played excellent tennis all week," Palmer Tennis Academy director and coach Richard Matuszewski said. "She didn't play her best in her final match, but her fourth-place finish in the toughest of national tennis competition was tremendous. Her best tennis is yet to come."

Fonseca's first loss came in the semifinals. She dropped straight sets to Polina Zaretsen of Brooklyn, who lost to national champion Riza Zalameda in the title match.

Matuszewski and Fonseca's father, Raul, both coach her at the Palmer Tennis Academy near the University of South Florida. Her next big test will be the U.S. Tennis Association National Hard Court Championships in Atlanta next month.

Another Palmer Tennis Academy player, Nicolas Beuque, finished second in the Bush Florida Open in Fort Myers last weekend. He competed in the boys 18 division.

Although still a French citizen, Beuque has been a resident at the academy for the past two years.

In the championship match, Beuque dropped straight sets 6-2, 6-2, to tournament winner Jesse Witten.

Chris Marquez, the Palmer coach who was with Beuque for the tournament, was pleased with his performance throughout the contest.

"Nicolas played solid tennis all week," Marquez said. "He improved tremendously during the week and played with control and mental strength."

Beuque's next big tournament will be the French National Championships in Paris in mid-August.

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