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Tennis Briefs: MPS to Change; Fla. Juniors Do Damage; Clijsters Upset

April 8, 2010 07:00 PM
 

Children enjoy QuickStart Tennis and gift bags during
The MPS Group Championships in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

by Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com


WTA Ponte Vedra Beach to Change Title Sponsor Next Year?

The Florida Times-Union reports that The MPS Group Championships will likely undergo a name change in 2011 after the company was acquired by the Fortune Global 500 company Adecco Group.

Mark Stevens of Adecco Group North America says the tournament could be renamed Adecco Group or one of the specialty brands under the company such as Modis or Special Counsel. "I can't imagine them wanting to keep a brand that's sun-setting," Stevens told the Times-Union. "It was a challenge, because the deal closed in January, to try to retrofit a brand in three months...[so] we had to keep the name the way it was [this year] to not disrupt any of the marketing."


Tiger's Wife Meets with Federer, Mirka in Miami

Prior to the start of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Elin Nordegren, wife of the embattled golfer Tiger Woods, met with friends Roger Federer and his wife Mirka for a play day with their kids.

The Federers brought their twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, and Nordegren brought her 1-year-old Charlie. They dined and played poolside at a hotel on Key Biscayne.

Woods, who is competing this week at The Masters, was not part of the play day.


Florida Juniors Provide Upsets at USTA International Spring Championships in California

Unseeded Florida players caused upsets this week in the Boys 18 draw at the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif., and some Florida girls still remain in the 18s ready to do some damage.

Miami wildcard entrant Spencer Newman defeated No. 2 seed Dennis Novikov 7-5, 6-3; fellow Miami player also provided an upset, downing No. 4 seed Darian King 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3; and Naples' Bjorn Fratangelo defeated No. 7 seed Diego Acosta 6-2, 6-3, all in the opening round. Newman has advanced into the quarterfinals.

In second-round play No. 9 seed Shane Vinsant lost to Jeremy Efferding 6-2, 6-0 in a battle of players who train at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton. Efferding hails from Lake Worth, Fla., and lost Thursday to wildcard Daniel Kosakowski. Miami's Gonzales Austin, last year's USTA Florida State Closed champion, is into the quarterfinals.

Madison Keys, who this time last year was playing The MPS Group Championships in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., as a wildcard entrant, is the fifth seed at the USTA International Spring Championships and into the quarterfinals.

Also into the quarters is 14-year-old No. 8 seed Sachia Vickery of Hollywood, Fla., who overwhelmed No. 12 seed Lauren Herring 6-0, 6-0.

"You could say I was in the zone," Vickery told the Daily Breeze. "I came out for that first point and just couldn't miss. I think I made two unforced errors the whole match."


Bryans Help High School Program at ATP Event in Houston

The world No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, who train at the Saddlebrook resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla., and their father Wayne are known for their largesse when it comes to raising money for charity, but the threesome went above and beyond this week at the ATP event in Houston.

According to Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle, after one of their matches Wayne made a spur-of-the-moment decision to auction off a racket as a fundraiser for a local high tennis program that struggles for funding.

Wayne decided to auction off two of his boys' racquets, saying "I thought we might get to $500." Two bidders drove the price up to $1,300, then in typical Wayne Bryan auctioneering style, each was asked to accept a racquet for that price, which they did.

"We're in the process of resurfacing our two courts," said the high school tennis organizer Loretta Hrncir, who was at the match with her players cheering on the Bryans, "and we weren't sure where the all the money was going to come from. I can't tell you how much this is going to help."


QuickStart Tennis Featured at WTA Tour MPS Group Championships

QuickStart Tennis, the USTA format for children 10 and under, took center stage on Tuesday at The MPS Group Championships at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., when a demonstration was featured on the stadium court between the first and second matches of the day.

USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Amanda Becker and QuickStart certified trainer Dede Allen led the demonstration which included 10 players. QuickStart uses down-sized equipment, low compression balls and a simplified scoring system to make the sport accessible and fun for children. Following the demonstration, a hands-on clinic that allowed children attending the tournament to try out the QuickStart equipment was staged near the concession area with two QuickStart courts.

Later in the day, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the TopSpin Tavern on-site, USTA members were treated to food, gifts, and an autograph signing session with American player Abigail Spears during the USTA Membership Appreciation Day.


Clijsters Gets Claycourt Lesson

Kim Clijsters was looking forward to the challenge of the claycourt season after taking a few years off the tour -- until she stepped on the claycourts this week in Spain.

On Thursday Clijsters, who is just coming off her title run at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, lost to No. 258-ranked qualifier Beatriz Garcia Vidagany in the second round of the Andalucia Open in Marbella, Spain.

"I played a really bad match and mentally I feel really drained and after last night's match," said Clijsters, who the night before struggled through a three-set win over Alexandra Dulgheru in her opening round. "Coming from Miami the change happened too quickly. I played a good opponent today and she didn't make a lot errors. I still have a lot of work to do on clay."


Serena, Sharapova Out of Charleston

Two big Florida pro names have withdrawn from the Family Circle Cup in Charleston next week due to injury -- Bradenton's Maria Sharapova and Palm Beach Gardens' Serena Williams.

Sharapova is still contending with the elbow pain that also kept her out of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. The younger Williams sister, who also missed Miami, is rehabilitating her chronic knee injury.

"I was really hoping my knee would heal in time to play the Family Circle Cup, as it's one of my favorite stops on the Tour," Williams said. "Unfortunately my knee has not fully healed in time and I am now looking forward to returning to the WTA Tour in Europe."

Venus Williams' absence leaves Melanie Oudin as the highest-ranked player in the Charleston field.

 

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