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Tournament Director Erik Stenberg supports “Russian Leftover”

February 14, 2006 01:54 PM

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With the support of the local community, tournament director Erik Stenberg succeeded in his first attempt to direct a challenger event at the Fort Walton Beach Tennis Center in January.  More than 80 participants representing 34 countries played in the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 Women’s Challenger.

The tournament was free and open to the public, and more than 300 people watched Greta Arn of Germany defeat Valentina Sassy of Italy, 7-5, 6-2 in the final match Sunday, Jan. 22.

Mayor Anderson

Fort Walton Beach Mayor Mike Anderson presented trophies to the winner and finalist.  Mayor Anderson has asked Stenberg to attend a city council meeting this month to speak about the tournament’s success.

“The tournament was eight very long days of the worst and definitely the best,” Stenberg said.

When asked if he will run a tournament again next year, Stenberg is still undecided.

“I want to attend the USTA workshop in March,” Stenberg said.  “When I get back from that I will make a decision.”

A highlight of the tournament for Stenberg is a player he calls the “Russian Leftover.”  After participating in Stenberg’s challenger, Vasilisa Bardina has yet to return home.  Stenberg is pleased that Bardina has chosen to train at the Fort Walton Beach Tennis Center.

“I went out to Michigan for a day at the Midland $75,000 Challenger.  That tournament on a scale from one to 10 was an 11. I was extremely impressed,” Stenberg said.  “Plus I got to see Vasilisa, who was ranked #216 move up to #157.  Fort Walton Beach is proud of her.”

Although Vasilisa lost in the finals in the third 6-4, Stenberg was there to see her defeat second seed Megan Shaughnessy 3-6, 7-5, 6-1!  

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