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Friday Florida Tennis Briefs: Indian Wells, US Open Playoffs, MPS Champs

March 11, 2010 06:00 PM
by Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com


 Gonzales Austin

Miami's Gonzales Austin is the top seed at the USTA Spring 18s National Championships in Mobile, Ala. which starts Sunday. Austin won the 16s championship in Kalamazoo last August.

Boca Raton teen Sloane Stephens qualified into the main draw then won her first round yesterday at the WTA Tour event in Indian Wells, beating Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-5(5), 7-6(7). She will next have her hands full against No. 12-seeded Russian and defending champion Vera Zvonareva.

In other first-round Florida results at Indian Wells, wildcard Ryan Harrison beat Taylor Dent in an all-Bollettieri battle 6-3, 6-4, Vero Beach's Mardy Fish defeated German Michael Berrer 1-6, 6-1, 6-3, and Coral Springs qualifier Shenay Perry lost to another qualifier, Croatia's Karolina Sprem 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Fish next plays Novak Djokovic, who he is 0-3 career against. Melanie Oudin, America's top hope without the Williams sisters in the draw, lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 to Italian Roberta Vinci in the first round.

Larkin Named New Executive Director for USTA Serves
Deborah Slaner Larkin has been named Executive Director of "USTA Serves -- Foundation for Academics. Character. Excellence.", the philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA. Larkin will be dedicated to increasing the outreach of the 16-year-old Foundation and continuing its mission of changing lives through tennis and education. For the past 18 years, she has served as a Board Member for a multitude of organizations, including the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), the White House Project (WHP), PE4Life, the Westchester Fund for Women and Girls and the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). From 1986-1992, Larkin served as Executive Director of the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF), where she successfully implemented a comprehensive marketing, public relations and business plan that raised the awareness of the WSF among national corporations and lawmakers across the country.  Larkin has been a long time supporter of the USTA.  She serves on the Adult Competition Committee for the USTA Eastern Section and was a founder of the Eastern Adult Tennis Foundation, which helps bring financial support for grassroots tennis programs for adult and senior participation. She is the recipient of the USTA Eastern Louise Cilla Award as well as receiving the USTA Eastern Regional Volunteer of the Year award. She also won a USTA League National Championship in 2005. 

US Open National Playoffs Finals in Atlanta, Stanford
The inaugural US Open National Playoffs men's and women's championships will be played at the first men's and women's tournaments of the 2010 Olympus US Open Series. The Atlanta Athletic Club will host the US Open National Playoffs men's championship on July 22-2, during the Atlanta Tennis Championships. The Taube Family Tennis Stadium at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., will host the US Open National Playoffs women's championship on July 29-Aug. 1 during the Bank of the West Classic. The US Open National Playoffs offer the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a wildcard into the 2010 US Open Qualifying Tournament. The US Open National Playoffs begins with 16 men's and women's sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the country from April through June. The men's and women's champions from each of the sectional qualifying tournaments advance to the US Open National Playoffs finals in Atlanta and Stanford. Participants can be of any playing level, from aspiring novice to seasoned professional.  Skier Bode Miller will compete at one of the sectional qualifying tournaments. The date for Florida's section playoff will be announced next week. For more info go to http://www.usopen.org/USOpen/Home/National_Playoffs/Schedule.aspx.

Martin v Gimelstob Exhibition at MPS Group Championships
The MPS Group Championships will on April 9, 2010, during the evening session feature a singles exhibition showcasing former ATP greats Todd Martin and Justin Gimelstob. The exhibition is scheduled to follow the singles tournament match on Stadium Court. Prior to the singles and doubles finals matches, Sunday play will begin with the winning doubles team from the Northeast Florida Tennis Professionals Association (NFPTA) exhibition splitting up and playing with former ATP greats Brian Gottfried and Mal Washington. The "NFTPA/ATP Legends" action will begin at 11 a.m. on Stadium Court. Ticket info is available at www.mpsgroupchamps.net.






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