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Wildcard Challenge Tennis for WTA MPS Group Chps. Qualifying

March 1, 2010 06:00 PM
Some of the top Jacksonville-area local and national women's tennis talent will compete this weekend, March 5-7, 2010, at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, with the winner to receive a wildcard into the qualifying event for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's MPS Group Championships.

Several Jacksonville-area players are among the 16 that will compete at the invitation-only Ponte Vedra Beach Wildcard Challenge.

The MPS Group Championships is the $220,000 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event that features current world No. 3 player and 2009 singles winner Caroline Wozniacki and US Open American sensation and US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin. The MPS Group Championships holds the distinction as one of only nine Sony Ericsson WTA Tour-sanctioned events held in the United States.

The competitors (in alphabetical order):

Deerfield Beach, Fla.
Age: 15
Abaza has been practicing with Rick Macci for the last seven years. In her first USTA Pro Circuit year, her record was 8-8. She was a runner-up in the Turkey Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., beating No. 316 Natalie Ryzhonkoug of Russia.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Age: 23
Ranked Top 75 in the nation in Girls 18s; played No. 1 singles at Gonzaga University freshman year, and at College of Charleston; had a 20-5 singles record in senior year and team was ranked in the Top 70 in the nation.

Delray Beach, Fla.

Age: 17
Currently ranked No. 985 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings; trained at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton and currently plays for the University of Michigan.

Jacksonville, Fla.
Age: 17
In 2006 won First Coast Tennis Foundation Grand Slam Circuit in 14's; in April 2006 won junior tournament at Palencia C.C. in St. Augustine, and since has won four locals and six Super Series tournaments; represented Florida on the 16's Zonals team in 2008; ranked a high No. 42 in girl's 16s.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Age: 16
This year ranked No. 100 in Girl's 16s in Florida.

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Age: 29
2008 Rosemary Beach tournament singles champion; 2009 Wild Card Challenge participant (2-1 record); former No. 1 singles and doubles player for the University of Colorado.

St. Augustine, Fla.

Age: 27
National Champion in Colombia in 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s; former runner-up in South American Nations Cup in Bolivia; member of the Selection Colombia U-18 World Cup in 1999; played pro events at age 17.

Jupiter, Fla.

Age: 17
Nationally ranked No. 62.

Charleston, SC
Age: 17
Rogers is the Jr. ITF-Panama Bowl champion in singles and doubles with a No. 922 world ranking.

Jacksonville, Fla.

Age: 34
Former top-ranked junior player in Brazil (1987-93); top player for Auburn University at Montgomery from 1994-97; ranked No. 2 in nation NAIA.

St. Augustine, Fla.

Age: 27
Tennis pro at Marsh Landing C.C. in Ponte Vedra; 2009 Wild Card Challenge participant (1-2 record).

Miramar, Fla.

Age: 14
This year won the prestigious Eddie Herr international junior title, and last year in her first ITF junior event won the Copa Cariari 2008 in Costa Rica.

Sanibel Island, Fla.

Age: 30
Former Ponte Vedra Beach resident ranked No. 11 in national Women's 30s; USTA National Clay Court Husband and Wife Champion in 2008; ranked No. 2 in Hawaii Open Singles; ranked No. 3 in Florida Open Singles; ranked No. 39 in NCAA Division I collegiate singles.

The Ponte Vedra Wildcard Challenge is presented by the First Coast Tennis Foundation.

"First Coast Tennis Foundation is once again thrilled to bring this exciting event and give a glimpse of the nation's future tennis talent to the residents of Ponte Vedra Beach," said Challenge Tournament Chairman and former First Coast Tennis Foundation Vice-President Philippe Dore.

About The MPS Group Championships
The MPS Group Championships is a premier women's professional tennis tournament, part of the worldwide Sony Ericsson WTA Tour consisting of more than 2,000 players representing 90 nations competing for $70.8 million in prize money at the Tour's 60 events in 34 countries. The tournament is owned and operated by Octagon and hosted at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In 2010, the tournament celebrates its 31st anniversary on Florida's First Coast, April 3-11. For more information, please visit www.mpsgroupchamps.net or call 800.486.8366.

About First Coast Tennis Foundation
The First Coast Tennis Foundation (FCTF) is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that was established in 1995. It is recognized by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) as the area's official Community Tennis Association. The Board of Directors is comprised of local leaders in the business and tennis community. The FCTF works in cooperation with USTA, the Northeast Florida Professional Tennis Association, First Coast-area Parks and Recreation Departments, and First Coast-area school systems. Further information on the First Coast Tennis Foundation can be found at www.firstcoasttennis.com.​





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