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Tennis Briefs: Florida Juniors Collect 4 National Titles; Barrett Walks Again

April 19, 2010 07:00 PM
by Rick Vach,

Florida Players Collect National USTA Junior Titles

Naples had a pair of national champions at the Easter Bowl last week when Bjorn Fratangelo won the Boys 18s singles title with a 7-6 (1), 6-3 victory over Nick Chappell of Indianapolis, and Gordon Watson won the Boys 16s crown 6-3, 6-1 over No. 1 seed Nolan Paige of Fairfield, Conn. The Easter Bowl is contested in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

"(Fratangelo) came over to me and he said 'Let's get one more for Naples,'" Watson told the Naples Daily News. "It's great for Naples. Having two kids come out to California and winning two of the biggest ones here, it's awesome."

At the Delray Beach USTA Spring Nationals 12s Championships, two Florida players defended their home turf when unseeded Reilly Opelka of Palm Coast beat No. 2 seed Ryan Dickerson 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 for the boys title, and Katerina Stewart of Miami defeating Cristina Rovira 6-0, 6-1 to win the girls championship.

All-Star Line-Up Set for Swingtime Tennis Pro-Am

Tennis champions Sebastien Grosjean and Tim Mayotte have added their names to the list of tennis greats that will participate in Swingtime -- A Pro-Celebrity Pro-Am Tennis & Golf Tournament -- Benefiting the Be A Star Foundation when it returns to Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida on April 24, 2010. This year's event will be hosted by former professional tennis player Kathy Rinaldi.

Other players to take the court will be Aaron Krickstein, Jimmy Arias, Mikael Pernfors, Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, Hana Mandlikova, Johan Kriek, Tom Gullikson, Fred Stolle, Ricardo Acuna, and Jay Berger. Participants in the Tennis Pro-Am will have the opportunity to compete with and against these icons in a round-robin doubles format.

The Be A Star Foundation assists thousands of critically ill children and their families in South Florida. The Foundation was established by the Healey Family, who experienced first-hand the emotionally and financially devastating effects of caring for a child with cancer. Since its inception five years ago, the Be A Star Foundation has raised more than $3 million for the Pediatric Oncology Support Team (P.O.S.T.) at the Children's Hospital at St. Mary's and the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation.

To participate in the Tennis Pro-Am and/or Golf Pro-Am Tournament or to attend the Swingtime Dinner Party visit www.chevents.com.

Kiick-ing It Up for the US Open National Playoffs Qualifying-Florida

Plantation's Alexandra Kiick, currently ranked No. 36 nationally in the USTA Girls' 14 rankings, is one of the latest players to enter the US Open National Playoffs Qualifying-Florida, to be held May 29-June 4, 2010, at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Last week at the Easter Bowl Girls' 14s, the No. 17-seeded Kiick won four rounds before losing in three sets to No. 4 seed Kimberly Yee in the round of 16.

For more info on the US Open National Playoffs Qualifying-Florida or to see the latest entries, go to:

Florida's Odesnik Accepts Voluntary Suspension

Weston, Florida's Wayne Odesnik, who last month plead guilty to importing human growth hormone (HGH) into Australia before a tournament ahead of the Australian Open and was fined more than $7,000, has accepted "a voluntary provisional suspension" from all tennis events until his case is settled.

"Wayne Odesnik has accepted a voluntary provisional suspension from all events covered under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program," the ITF said in a statement. "In accordance with normal policy, the ITF does not intend to make further comment on this matter until its resolution."

The 24-year-old was stopped by Australian customs officers in January with eight vials, each containing 6 milligrams of HGH, in his baggage. Odesnik has denied taking the substance.

Miami Tennis Women Beat Defending National Champion Duke

The University of Miami women received a huge confidence boost by upending national champion Duke during their final stretch of regular-season matches. The No. 11-ranked UM women trailed by 3-1 matches but finished with the final three matches for the 4-3 upset.

"We came out and played great doubles," UM coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews told the Miami Herald. "The wins in doubles play got us off to a great start."

The deciding match was Miami senior Laura Vallverdu against Duke's Ellah Nze. The two split sets before Vallverdu took control in the third, winning 6-4.

Wheelchair Tennis Star Barrett Regains Use of Legs

Wheelchair tennis sensation Brittany Barrett, who mysteriously lost the use of her legs after a fall in the shower approximately three years ago, has just as mysteriously suddenly regained the use of her legs -- and is walking again.

In 2008 Barrett received the Jimmy Gantt Memorial Award, given to a junior player who has overcome a physical impairment or injury but continues to compete to the best of his/her ability while displaying character and sportsmanship.

The 18-year-old senior at Nature Coast Technical High School is now walking, months after she received a scholarship offer to play wheelchair tennis at the University of Arizona.

"I've never seen something like this," said Russell Bain, Barrett's pediatrician for seven years, speaking to the TampaBay.com blog. "Every test was done in the world. She was completely paralyzed and now she can walk."

Barrett had never played tennis, but took up the game after being confined to a wheelchair, reaching the No. 2 ranking in the USTA juniors and No. 7 internationally as ranked by the International Tennis Federation.






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