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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): 5 Jrs. Win USTA National Titles; Fish, Odesnik, Scholl Win Pro Events

July 26, 2011 09:54 AM
5 Florida Jr. Winners Across U.S. During 2011 USTA National Claycourt Chps.

Reilley Opelka (left) with USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone
Florida players swept the Boys' 14 and Girls' 14 singles titles, captured two doubles titles and claimed runner-up trophies as the USTA National Clay Court Championships finished last weekend in the boys' and girls' 18-12 divisions, held at eight sites across the U.S.

Palm Coast's Reilley Opelka won the USTA Boys' 14s National Clay Court Championships, held at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center in Ft. Lauderdale, as the No. 16 seed upsetting California's No. 8 seed Cameron Klinger 6-2, 6-3. It was the second USTA national title for Opelka, who won the USTA Boys' 12s Spring National Championships in 2010. 

Boca Raton's Jake Devine won the Boys' 14 doubles crown, teaming with Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz., as the No. 9 seeds, topping the No. 2-seeded team in a three-set final.

Boynton Beach's Madison Bourguignon won the USTA Girls' 14s National Clay Court Championships, held at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation. The unseeded Bourguignon, who earlier this year claimed the title at the USTA Florida Jr. State Closed in her age division in her first appearance as a new Florida resident, toppled top-seeded Katrina Stewart of Miami in straight sets.

Zack McCourt of Sunrise and Naples' Gordon Watson won the doubles title as the No. 2 seeds at the USTA Boys' 18s National Clay Court Championships, held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla. In singles the No. 10-seeded Brett Clark of Naples was runner-up, losing 7-6(5), 6-4 to top-seeded Alexios Halebian of California.

"Halebian takes home his prized Gold Ball, a qualifying wildcard into the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships ATP World Tour event, a singles main draw wildcard at the US Open juniors, and a main draw wildcard into a Futures event," said Delray Beach event Media Director Marlena Hall. "And to Gordon Watson, a sportsman and favorite staple at the tournament desk, we'll see you next year!"

Clark, a rising senior at Barron Collier High in Naples, says he plans to return to play high school tennis next spring.

Other Florida participant runner-up efforts included Boca Raton's unseeded Denise Starr losing in the singles final of the USTA Girls' 18s National Clay Court Championships in Memphis to top seed Gabrielle Andrews in three sets. Starr was playing her eighth match in eight days, and her fourth three-setter in a row.

"I just ran out of steam, and she's a really good player," Starr, a 16-year-old originally from New York who now lists her residency as Boca Raton where she trains at the USTA National Training Center, told zootennis.com. "She really didn't let me come back. She wouldn't let me pass her and she hit winner after winner."

The champion Andrews defeated No. 3-seeded Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg in the semis when Collins retired trailing 7-6(5), 5-1 with abdominal pain, taken by ambulance to the hospital for further evaluation. Tournament officials said Collins was later diagnosed with a swollen spleen, connected to a previous injury, and will recover with sufficient rest.

Florida came up just short again in the Girls' 18 doubles final, where No. 4-seeded Lynn Chi of Weston and Chalena Scholl of Pompano Beach fell to No. 2-seeded Georgians Whitney Kay and Caroline Price.

Another doubles runner-up effort was at the USTA Girls' 16s National Clay Court Championships in Virginia Beach, Va., where unseeded Julia O'Loughlin of Lighthouse Point and Cristina Rovira of Boca Raton lost to the No. 6 seeds in straight sets.

Here are the complete results from the eight USTA National Clay Court Championships events:

USTA Boys' 18s National Clay Court Championships
Delray Beach Tennis Center, Delray Beach, Fla., July 17-24
Singles: (1) Alexios Halebian, Glendale, Calif., d. (10) Brett Clark, Naples, Fla., 7-6(5), 6-4
Doubles: (2) Zack McCourt, Sunrise, Fla., and Gordon Watson, Naples, Fla., d. (8) Vikram Hundal, Alpharetta, Ga., and Alex Sidney, Baltimore, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2

USTA Girls' 18s National Clay Court Championships
The Racquet Club of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn., July 17-24
Singles: (1) Gabrielle Andrews, Pomona, Calif., d. Denise Starr, Boca Raton, Fla., 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Doubles: (2) Whitney Kay, Alpharetta, Ga., and Caroline Price, Duluth, Ga., d. (4) Lynn Chi, Weston, Fla., and Chalena Scholl, Pompano Beach, Fla., 6-3, 6-4

USTA Boys' 16s National Clay Court Championships
Delray Beach Tennis Center, Delray Beach, Fla., July 17-24
Singles: (4) Luca Corinteli, Alexandria, Va., d. (3) Noah Rubin, Rockville Center, N.Y., 6-4, 6-2
Doubles: (2) Yale Goldberg, Beachwood, Ohio, and Ronnie Schneider, Bloomington, Ind., d. (1) Gregory Garcia, Poway, Calif., and Thomas Pura, Pacific Palisades, Calif., 6-4, 7-5

USTA Girls' 16s National Clay Court Championships
Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club, Virginia Beach, Va., July 17-24
Singles: (6) Peggy Porter, Dallas, d. (18) Keisha Clousing, Wheaton, Ill., 6-1, 6-2
Doubles: (6) Laura Patterson, Roswell, Ga., and Peggy Porter, Dallas, d. Julia O'Loughlin, Lighthouse Point, Fla., and Cristina Rovira, Boca Raton, Fla., 6-1, 6-3

USTA Boys' 14s National Clay Court Championships
Jimmy Evert Tennis Center, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., July 17-22
Singles: (16) Reilly Opelka, Palm Coast, Fla., d. (8) Cameron Klinger, San Jose, Calif., 6-2, 6-3
Doubles: (9) Jake Devine, Boca Raton, Fla., and Nathan Ponwith, Scottsdale, Ariz., d. (2) Yancy Dennis, Reisterstown, Md., and Francis Tiafoe, College Park, Md., 3-6, 6-4, 7-5

USTA Girls' 14s National Clay Court Championships
Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation, Fla., July 17-22
Singles: Madison Bourguignon, Boynton Beach, Fla., d. (1) Katrina Stewart, Miami, 6-3, 6-2
Doubles: (1) Lauren Goodman, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Emma Stein, Dublin, Ohio, d. (4) Emma Higuchi, Los Angeles, and Maddie Pothoff, Tucson, Ariz., 6-4, 6-1

USTA Boys' 12s National Clay Court Championships
Randy Pate Tennis Academy, Winston-Salem, N.C., July 17-22
Singles: (15) Connor Hance, Torrance, Calif., d. (3) Patrick Kypson, Greenville, N.C., 6-2, 6-1
Doubles: (5) Nathan Perrone, Mount Laurel, N.J., and Alexandre Rotsaert, Villanova, Pa., d. (2) John McNally, Cincinnati, and Gianni Ross, Burr Ridge, Ill., 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

USTA Girls 12s National Clay Court Championships
Polo Club of Boca Raton, Boca Raton, Fla., July 17-22
Singles: (1) Catherine Bellis, Fort Worth, Texas, d. Kayla Day, Santa Barbara, Calif., 6-1, 6-4
Doubles: (4) Anna Bright, Memphis, Tenn., and Mallory Gilmer, Woodstock, Ga., d. (12) Madeline Meredith, Vestavia, Ala., and Danielle Vines, Elizabethton, Tenn., 6-1, 6-4

Tampa's Fish Repeats at ATP Atlanta; Florida's Odesnik, Scholl Win Kentucky Event
Mardy Fish
Top-seeded Mardy Fish defeated John Isner 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 Sunday in the all-Tampa final at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. It was a rematch of the 2010 final for the two Tampa-area residents.

Fish defended an ATP title for the first time in his career, and fought off two match points in the second-set tiebreak.

"This year it was a bit different coming in as the top-seeded guy," said Fish, who is also the top seed this week at the ATP event in Los Angeles. "You're sort of in the position where everyone is looking for you, knows where you are, so it feels great to come through today and all week."

Isner was on an eight-match winning streak after claiming the Newport post-Wimbledon title on grass, and by the end of the second set looked like a man who had played too much tennis, struggling in the high Atlanta temperatures against the fit Fish.

"In hindsight, I should have served and volleyed on the second serve," Isner said of his match point on his serve in the tiebreak. "He got it in play and I went for too big of a backhand and missed it by a lot."

There was little doubt about the match's result after the tired Isner lost the tiebreak, moving sluggishly in the third and falling 6-2. It was the sixth career title for Fish, who improved to 3-0 career versus Isner on hardcourts.

Florida's Wayne Odesnik, continuing his climb back after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and entering the 2011 season with no ranking, won the Lexington Challenger on Sunday, defeating top-seeded James Ward of England 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

"To know the work that I've put in the last year with my trainer and coach, and to come out here and have the success -- it's one of the most self-gratifying things," Odesnik told the Kentucky Herald-Leader. "Words can't even express how good of a feeling it is."

Odesnik was banned from pro tennis for a year by the International Tennis Federation after pleading guilty in 2010 to importing Human Growth Hormone (HGH) into Australia. Odesnik maintains he never took HGH, saying he was going to use it to help speed his recovery from injuries.

"You live and learn," Odesnik said. "I'm trying to put it behind me, but also use this as motivation to show everyone what kind of person I am. After something like this, you appreciate things a lot more, and you learn who your true friends are."

The win brought Odesnik's ranking up to No. 160 on the ATP Rankings. The Weston, Fla., native says he will play the US Open qualifying at the end of August in his continued effort to bring his ranking back into the Top 80, which would gain him consistent entry into lower-tier ATP events. In 2009 he reached his career-high ranking of No. 77. That year he played in 16 ATP or Grand Slam events, recorded wins over Marcos Baghdatis and John Isner, and reached the ATP Houston final, losing to Lleyton Hewitt.

In the all-American, all-unseeded women's final, Pompano Beach's Chichi Scholl defeated former University of Southern California star Amanda Fink 6-1, 6-1. Scholl also won the doubles title with partner Tamaryn Hendler, beating No. 1 seeds Lindsay Lee-Waters and Megan Moulton-Levy in the final.

"I've played Amanda before and I know she's a good player, she's dangerous, Scholl said. "She's beaten some pretty good players in this tournament."

Florida Has 3 of 26 U.S. Markets Receiving $100K from USTA for 10-U Tennis Development

10andunderlogo_stack_4c-201The USTA national body is investing $50,000 in 26 U.S. markets, each to be matched by the market's USTA Section office, for a total of $2.6 million that will be invested in growing 10 and Under Tennis across the U.S. The three Florida markets are Hillsborough County (Tampa/St. Pete), Seminole County (Orlando), and the Village of Wellington (Palm Beach County), with additional Florida markets to be named.

The investment is part of the USTA's, and USTA Florida's in the case of the Florida markets, ongoing efforts to encourage young people to get active and start playing the sport. Similar to other youth sports where equipment and playing fields are scaled to size for kids, 10 and Under Tennis provides the youngest players with the ability to achieve immediate success by playing tennis on smaller courts, using smaller and lighter racquets and slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls. The USTA's goal over the next five years is to bring 10 and Under Tennis to kids in more than 100 local markets nationwide.

"10 and Under Tennis will allow thousands of youngsters to have more success and more fun in learning and playing the game," said Kurt Kamperman, chief executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "With this approach, tennis has become the newest 'pick-up' sport, and we expect to see participation numbers increase dramatically in the very near future."

The grant money will be used to build new courts, adapt current tennis courts to accommodate 10 and Under Tennis, and hire a local organizer for a three-year period to bring together schools, parks and recreation, after-school programs, and other organizations.

The USTA has created a website -- USTA.com/facilities -- for those groups interested in applying for court construction or renovation grants and learning more about this major initiative. As part of the USTA's commitment to grow the game of tennis, all courts that are built or renovated under this grant program will be lined for 10 and Under Tennis. In addition, as part of a public-private partnership, the USTA will build courts in places where local officials, public parks and schools commit to building tennis into their core programming for kids. For more information on 10 and Under Tennis, visit www.10andundertennis.com.

Tom Brown Park Tennis Center in Tallahassee to Host Free Beginners Tennis Event

Tennis Blast logo-GREEN--2.5-BLASTA free tennis event for beginning adult players, the USTA F.L. (Fun League) Tennis Blast will be held at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011.

Tom Brown Park Tennis Center is located at 501 Easterwood Drive in Tallahassee.

"All beginner and advanced-beginner players should join us for an evening of tennis, and bring a friend," says USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Panhandle area George English. "The cost is free, and if players don't have a racquet, we will provide them."

The USTA F.L. (Fun League) Tennis Blast is geared toward all beginner and advanced-beginner (2.0-2.5 NTRP level) tennis players, featuring free pro instruction and fun round robin matches, and food and refreshments will be provided along with raffle prizes and gifts.
"We are pleased to be partnering with the USPTA and PTR club professionals to provide fun tennis for all those who are looking for a little exercise, camaraderie, and enjoyment of new friendships," said USTA Florida Director of Leagues Sandy Marshall.

Players will also receive information on USTA League play. USTA League is the country's largest recreational tennis league, helping more than 325,000 players nationwide get on the court, have a good time, and step up their game. The League is organized as competitive team match play, with teams made up of a minimum of 5-8 players depending upon division. Teams and matches are set up according to NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) ratings, so teammates and opponents are at the same skill level, with leagues ranging from the 2.5 beginner level up to 5.0 advanced and Open divisions. The competition is exciting, the atmosphere is social, and since players compete on teams, they have a built-in cheering section.

To RSVP for the event contact Glen Howe at Glen.Howe@talgov.com or (850) 891-3920.





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