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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): Pegula Runner-up at USTA Pro Circuit; St. Pete Grant; More

January 25, 2011 10:44 AM
Florida Qualifier Pegula Finally Stopped in USTA Pro Circuit Final at Lutz, Fla.

Jessica Pegula at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Lutz, Fla.
Florida qualifier Jessica Pegula's dream run came to an end on Sunday in the final of the USTA Pro Circuit event in Lutz, Fla., when the 16-year-old was defeated 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2 by German Laura Siegemund, who trains in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Ace Sports Group Tennis Classic title.

Siegemund, the No. 2 seed, climbed into the Top 200 on the WTA Tour Rankings with the win. Pegula first came under the spotlight in 2010 when she won one of the regional US Open Playoffs Qualifying tournaments in an attempt to win a spot in the US Open qualifying, eventually losing in the national event.

Pegula out-powered her opponent in the first set, but then Siegemund found her range to confound the American with a mixture of slices, moonballs and drop shots.

Pegula trains in Boca Raton, but is originally from Pittsburgh, and was sporting a Terrible Towel on changeovers in support of her Steelers in the AFC Title game. 

Tournament Director Rhett Rollyson said of Pegula, "Her tennis and her demeanor are well beyond her years."

Americans claimed the doubles title when Mashona Washington and Ahsha Rolle of Miami Shores defeated Canadians Sharon Fichman and Canadian Fed Cup teammate Gabriella Dabrowski 6-4, 6-4 in the final. It was the second consecutive doubles title in 2011 for Rolle and Washington, who plan to pair together at WTA-level events in the coming months.

Fifth Annual Stan Smith Pro-Am Returns to Vero Beach in Feb. 2011

Supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Boys and Girls Club of Indian River County, for the fifth year the Stan Smith Pro-Am tournament will return to Vero Beach, Fla., on Feb. 25, 2011, at The Boulevard.

This year Smith will be joined by fellow former U.S. Davis Cup players in Vero Beach, where six local clubs will compete against each other for the "Stan Smith Championship" trophy. The participating clubs will be John's Island, Orchid Island, Quail Valley, The Boulevard, Windsor, and The Moorings.

Each team will have co-captains with one celebrity professional and one local professional. Rounding out each team will be three men and one woman amateur.

Invited celebrity professionals in addition to Smith include Ivan Lendl, Dick Stockton, Brian Gottfried, Roscoe Tanner, Michael Pernfors and Ramsay Earnhart. Guests can purchase VIP seating, watch all of the matches and enjoy complementary passed hors d'ouerves, and an expanded silent auction.

Local pros joining the celebrities will be Joe Biedenharn, Magnus Gustafson, Ed Shanapy, Jim Buck, Tom Fish and Ron Perry. Proceeds from the event will help support the TEAM program (Tennis Education and Mentoring) at locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. For tickets please call the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at (772) 234-0441, and for information about the tournament please call Allan Klotsche at (772) 234-0441.

Pro Wheelchair Tennis Exhibition in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla., in Feb. 2011

The BaseLine Wheelchair Tennis Foundation and the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort will present a professional wheelchair tennis exhibition on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. (rain or shine) at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla. 

"The exhibition has been so well received in the past," said Bob Waldman, founder and president of BaseLine Wheelchair Tennis Foundation, organizing the exhibition for the fifth consecutive year. "The players thoroughly enjoy the ambience that is created by the resort and all the fans."

The evening exhibition at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort will also feature entertainment provided by the self-styled "That Guitar Man from Central Park," David Ippolito. Dr. Genevieve C. Norato from Venice, Fla., is a chiropractic physician who will also be in attendance to discuss health, wellness and fitness. The evening includes wine, beer, soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres for a $25 per person donation, and a live sports auction, which includes two courtside seats at the Louis Armstrong stadium and a behind the scenes tour of the US Open, will complement the evening's excitement. 

The matches will feature player Paul Walker of Lakeland, Doyle Mann of St. Petersburg, Sarah Casteel of Greenville, S.C., and Rich Hart of Palm Harbor. For more information go to www.BaseLinewheelchairtennis.org or call (917) 533-7792.

Tennis Foundation of St. Petersburg Receives USTA Florida 10-Under Grant

St. Pete Tennis Center
The Tennis Foundation of St. Petersburg has received a $1,700 grant from USTA Florida's "Share the Love" grant initiative to support 10 and Under Tennis in the St. Petersburg area.

The majority of the grant will be used for 10 and Under Tennis/QuickStart play format equipment.

"Our numbers have doubled and we currently have 75 students enrolled in the QuickStart program," said program director Jackie Keller. "The St. Petersburg Tennis Center is extremely grateful to USTA Florida for the Share the Love grant. We are proud to support this exciting program which we have been operating for two years."
The 10 and Under Tennis format, formerly known as QuickStart, is designed for children featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of 10 and Under Tennis in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

The Tennis Foundation of St. Petersburg was formed in 2001 by local citizens to save the historic St. Petersburg Tennis Center and manage it. Since 2001, the Foundation has increased membership by 500% and created successful new after-school and camp programs that teach over 200 youth, many from the inner city. 
USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida. USTA Florida's Share the Love grant program helps fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities include 10 and Under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to permanent 10 and Under courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

"We look forward to hearing of the future success of 10 and Under Tennis in St. Petersburg," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "It is with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these."

Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more information on the 10-and-Under Tennis play format in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com.

For more information about tennis programming and the Tennis Foundation of St. Petersburg call (727) 823-2225.






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