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Friday Blog – USTA Florida Adult League Chps.

August 10, 2009 03:05 PM

By Rick Vach, USTA Florida

Opponents on the other side of the court as well as Mother Nature greeted players on Friday as the USTA Florida Adult League State/Section Championships kicked off at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

High humidity, temperatures in the 90s and brief showers, par for the course in August in Florida, tested the top 2.5 to 5.0-level teams from throughout the state. But the temperatures did not diminish the enthusiasm of the teams, which lined the front of the tournament desk and cheered enthusiastically as their team members were announced for matches.

In women’s play the South Miami-Dade 3.5 team could not be missed, wearing matching bright pink dresses, stretching pre-match as a team in unison, and receiving last-minute instruction from their high-energy coach of two seasons.

“[League tennis is] a lot of fun, it relieves a lot of stress, we all work but we have flexible schedules fortunately,” said team captain Ana Veloso. “If we didn’t play tennis, we would all blow up [from stress].”

The South Miami-Dade squad all wear pink in honor of a teammate that fought breast cancer.

“In South Florida we have the breast cancer tournament, and we have a survivor, Debbie Diaz here, so we are inspired by her. It was a battle and we were with her, and that’s why we wear the pink, to support the Susan G. Komen [Breast Cancer] Foundation and to participate in this.”

If you missed seeing them, you likely wouldn’t miss hearing them and their team cheer, “Vamos!”

In women’s 4.0 play, Jacksonville edged Orlando 3-2, and North Palm Beach did likewise to Lee/Charlotte in their openers. South Miami-Dade was the first team to record a win in the women’s 4.5 division, edging Sarasota 3-2.

The defending state champion Orlando men’s 3.5 squad got off to an intimidating start in their bracket, punishing Lee/Charlotte 5-0, and in the evening were scheduled to face Brevard County. The Jacksonville 3.5 men were also winners, edging Brevard County 3-2.

The Orlando 3.5 men are one of three defending state/section champion teams who successfully made a return to the championships, along with the Jacksonville 4.5 and 5.0 men’s squads.

Rain interrupted play in the early afternoon, with a brief shower sending competitors and fans scurrying for the main tent and covered areas, but play quickly resumed.

“I’ve been doing this event for 14 years, and it always rains,” said USTA Florida Local League Coordinator Larry Jaben. “It is always hot and humid and rainy, you just have to deal with it.”

Pensacola’s 3.0 men’s team began with a win, edging Ocala 3-2.

The defending champ Jacksonville men’s 4.5 team looked the favorites again this year, opening with a 4-1 win over St. Pete/Clearwater, and next facing Gainesville and Tampa on Saturday. The South Miami-Dade 4.5 men announced their contention with a 5-0 blistering of Tampa in their opener, and are on a collision course with Jacksonville on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

In 4.0 men’s play, Pensacola and Broward recorded the first two team wins, defeating Gainesville 3-2 and St. Pete/Clearwater 4-1 respectively.

Gainesville was the first team with a win in the books at the men’s 5.0 level, besting Naples 2-1. Polk County was also a 2-1 winner over South Miami-Dade, while at press time the defending champs Jacksonville were behind in both doubles matches against Brevard County.

Teams still on court or playing later in the day as of 5 p.m. Friday were men’s 3.0 Brevard County vs. St. Pete/Clearwater; men’s 3.5 Jacksonville vs. South Miami-Dade and Orlando vs. Brevard County; men’s 4.0 Broward vs. Pensacola and Gainesville vs. Ocala; men’s 4.5 St. Pete/Clearwater vs. South Miami-Dade and Tampa vs. Gainesville; men’s 5.0 Naples vs. Polk County, Jacksonville vs. Brevard County and later Jacksonville vs. Gainesville, and Brevard County vs. South Miami-Dade; women’s 2.5 St. Pete/Clearwater vs. Ocala and Daytona Beach vs. South Miami-Dade; women’s 3.0 Naples vs. Pensacola and Orlando vs. South Miami-Dade; women’s 3.5 Pensacola vs. South Miami-Dade, and Orlando vs. St. Pete/Clearwater; women’s 4.0 Lee/Charlotte vs. Orlando and North Palm Beach vs. Gainesville; and women’s 4.5 Jacksonville vs. Tampa.

For completed up-to-date results, check the TennisLink website championships page at:







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