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Gomez-Diaz defeats Montevassel for National Men’s 35s Clay Court title

November 10, 2006 02:54 PM

National 35s FTC winners and finalists.jpg

by Dave Brown

Clay court specialist Carlos Gomez-Diaz was very much at home again on the Florida Tennis Center Daytona Beach courts as he won his second championship, the prize money and the USTA gold ball with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 1 seed Oren Montevassel of Alpharetta, Georgia.  He won this event two years ago.

The match started out very one-sided with the Israeli-born Montevassel closing out the first set 6-3, but during the second set, former champ Gomez-Diaz, originally from Argentina, came alive and used his powerful groundstrokes and improved shot selection to even the score at one set each.  From then on, Gomez-Diaz’ confidence soared and he played flawlessly to the end wrapping up the final set 6-1.

Both finalists are former ATP professionals with impressive wins on tour.  Carlos Gomez-Diaz claims victories over Grand Slam winners Gustavo Kuerten and Marat Safin, Gaston Gaudio, as well as current No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic.  Carlos is quick to clarify that those wins came during his prime while those now-familiar names were just beginning their careers.  Currently Gomez-Diaz teaches tennis and runs the junior academy at George English Tennis Center in Ft. Lauderdale.  He lives with his wife Helene and their two daughters Juliette and Ilana.

The doubles proved to be very competitive with all four of the favorites advancing to the semi finals.  Willie Dann (Denver, CO,) and Chris Cagle (Durham, NC) upset No. 1 seeds Mark Harrison (Melbourne) and Julien Link (Sarasota) 6-4, 7-5.  Tom Coulton (Hilton Head, SC,) and Oren Montevassel (Alpharetta, GA,) rallied past No. 4 seeds Lee Rosenthal and Todd Schlorf 6-2, 6-0.  In the finals Montevassel and Coulton picked up a gold ball each after a comeback 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Cagle and Dann.

The USTA Men’s 35 and Over Clay Court Championships returned to the Florida Tennis Center, Daytona Beach, for the fifth straight year.  It is the final leg of four USTA major championships that includes the Outdoor Hard Courts, Indoor, and Grass Court Championships. The Florida Tennis Center is a 24 court, state of the art facility, operated by the City of Daytona Beach. The event is sponsored by S.R. Perrott, Inc., Wilson Racquet Sports, USTA, and the City of Daytona Beach Leisure Services.  

Related story: Andy Lake wins One-on-One shootout at FTC in Daytona Beach






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