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2008 3.5/4.5 USTA League Senior Section Championships

May 7, 2008 04:10 PM

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Photos: On the courts | Around the courts | Winners & Finalists  

Three hundred forty senior tennis players, age 50 and over, played in the 2008 USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5/4.5 Sr. Section Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, May 2-4. Thirty nine teams advanced to the 2007 3.5/4.5 Sr. Sectional Championship because they won their local USTA league play. The competition marked the culmination of the 3.5/4.5 league season for many; however four deserving teams have advanced to the 2007 3.5/4.5 Sr. National Championships in Indian Wells, CA (3.5 level) and Tucson, AZ (4.5 level) October 24-26.

The 3.5 senior women’s team from Palm Coast took home first place with a 2-1 win over the 3.5 senior women’s team from Ocala. Tilly Van Der Zwaard and Beverly Robinson of Palm Coast def. Dorothy Giovannelli and Sandra Harton of Ocala 7-5, 7-6 in the No.1 doubles position. At No.2, Jo Ann Wooley Janke and Pamela Reed of Ocala def. Sylvia Tengel and Nancy Swann of Palm Coast 6-2, 6-2. This would serve as Ocala’s only victory in the finals, as Palm Coast rallied to win the No.3 doubles position in a third set tiebreaker. Teammates Pat Bruce and Ann Hauptman of Palm Coast def. Jane Proctor and Gwen Sample of Ocala 6-4, 3-6, 1-0.

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Leading up to the finals, flight play was quite close between all teams. In flight I, II and III, there were three way ties for first place. In flight I, Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Naples tied in team wins (2), losses (1), courts won (5), and courts lost (4). In flight II, Daytona Beach (Palm Coast), Polk County and North Palm Beach tied in team wins (2) and team losses (1). Daytona Beach and Polk County tied also in courts won (6) and courts lost (3). In flight III, Ocala, Tampa and Lee/Charlotte tied in team wins (2) and losses (1). Ocala and Tampa also tied in courts won (6) and courts lost (3).

Finally, in flight IV, there was a two way tie for first place between Sarasota and Gainesville in team wins (3) and losses (1). The deciding criterion to decide who was advancing to the semi-finals was by looking at least sets lost; Tallahassee, Daytona Beach, Ocala and Sarasota all advanced to the semis.

In the senior men’s 3.5 division, Orlando defeated Broward in the finals, 2-1. John Henry Demundo and Ricky Raymond of Orlando def. Ronald George and Juan Fernando Torres of Broward 6-0, 6-2. The No.2 and No.3 doubles matches both went into third set tiebreakers. At No.2, Martin Green and Tom Schmuki of Broward def. Mike Baron and Ken Gross of Orlando 6-4, 6-7, 1-0, while Kevin Tomaselli and Carter Rucker of Orlando def. Mathew Ehrlich and Daryl Stair of Broward at No.3, 6-4, 4-6, 1-0.

Other notable teams include Pensacola and Tampa, who advanced to semi-finals. Orlando made it quite difficult for Pensacola in the semis. Undefeated Orlando maintained their streak against Pensacola, defeating the talented team 3-0. Tampa lost to Broward 2-1, but not before forcing two third set tiebreak sets in the No.1 doubles and No.3 doubles slots. Tampa took the No. 1 doubles line, but Broward won the No.2 and No.3 doubles matches, ultimately advancing the team to the finals against Orlando.

Only two teams from Jacksonville and Tallahassee comprised the senior women’s 4.5 division. The teams played each other three times in a round robin competition, with each taking a win against the other. In their last match on Sunday morning, Jacksonville defeated Tallahassee, 2-1 with no tiebreakers, to take the overall championship.

In the No.1 doubles position, Nancy Baker and Marylou Dankelman of Jacksonville def. Meri Lobel and Susan Till of Tallahassee 6-1, 6-0. At No.2, Maria Long and Janel Anne McGinley of Tallahassee def. Maryse Hotchkiss and Patricia Livesay of Jacksonville 6-1, 7-6. Sealing the deal for Jacksonville was Helen Muench-Ciesla and Mary Turnes who defeated Dale McColskey and Anne Stone 6-4, 7-5.

The fourth and final Florida team advancing to the 2007 USTA Sr. National Championships is St. Pete/Clearwater. St. Pete/Clearwater went undefeated the entire tournament, overcoming teams from Tampa, Broward, Jacksonville, Lake County and Naples. Finishing with 5 team wins and zero losses, St. Pete/Clearwater heads to Nationals with a great chance to bring home first place. Tying for second place in the 4.5 men's division were Tampa and Broward, each with 3 team wins and 2 team losses. Tampa etched out Broward for second place because they won more courts overall (11).

Congratulations to all teams for a wonderful display of team camaraderie, sportsmanship and tennis skills. Special thanks to Clark Higgs, tournament director, and USTA Florida volunteers Larry Jaben and Deb and Mark Anderson.

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