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Florida Tennis Briefs: Falconi Rising; UF Women Rolling; Delray Kick-Off

February 14, 2011 05:14 PM
Falconi_001Florida's Falconi Finishes Runner-up at USTA Pro Circuit Midland

Jupiter, Fla., native Irina Falconi lost in the final last weekend at the 2011 Dow Corning Tennis Classic, a USTA Pro Circuit event in Midland, Mich., falling to Czech Lucie Hradecka who won her second Midland title 6-4, 6-4.

The 25-year-old Hradecka didn't allow Falconi a single break point opportunity on serve throughout the match.

"For small people like me, you have to scamper more [indoors] because you're on your heels the whole time," the 5-foot-4 Falconi told USTA.com writer Joshua Rey. "All she needed was one break in each set. When she got that, it was really hard to break...I know I'll see her again, and hopefully I'm not playing on lightning-fast courts and I'll have a little bit more time."

Hradecka has now won 17 ITF Women's Circuit singles titles to go with 29 ITF doubles titles and nine WTA Tour doubles titles.

Falconi was presented with the tournament's Larry Reed Most Promising Newcomer award, and has been on the tour only seven months after playing at Georgia Tech.

"I've still got a ways to go," Falconi said. "It was a great week."

Falconi also reached the doubles final with fellow American Alison Riske, but were unable to play the final against American Jamie Hampton and Anna Tatishvili of the Republic of Georgia as Riske fell ill.

Florida Tennis Photo Op: Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek Win Indoor Intercollegiate Doubles Title
by Colette Lewis, zootennis.com

Growing up together in the Tampa area, Texas A&M seniors Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek didn't play much of their junior tennis competition indoors.

Texas A&M seniors Jeff Dadamo (left) and Austin Krajicek
(photo: zootennis.com)
Yet in November, the pair looked thoroughly comfortable on the surface, emerging with their first major collegiate title when they captured the men's doubles championship at the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate tournament in New York. Initially alternates in the draw before a late withdrawal put them in, the two 6-foot-1 left-handers got through some tight spots during the competition held at the Indoor Training facility at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

After handling the No. 3 seeds and defending champions from Stanford in the first round, Dadamo and Krajicek were in deep trouble in their semifinal match with Kevin King and Juan Spir of Georgia Tech. Trailing 6-2 in the third-set tiebreaker, the Aggies saved four match points to pull even, then added the next two points to earn a 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(6) win. Awaiting Dadamo and Krajicek in the finals were the fourth-seeded team, identical twins Chris and Marcel Thiemann of Ole Miss.

Dadamo and Krajicek got the only break of the match in the first set, then went on to claim a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory and championship of the National Indoor, one of the three major events on the collegiate calendar.

"We played a good match and had a good tournament overall," said the 20-year-old Krajicek, a Brandon, Fla., native who joined Texas A&M in January of 2008. "We played with a lot of energy and took it match by match. Got a little fortunate (in the semifinals), but a lot of times you need that."

"Last year we had a good streak of matches," said the 21-year-old Dadamo, a Tampa resident who joined the Aggies in 2009, after two years at the University of Florida. "We've been practicing pretty well and feel like we're playing pretty good doubles."

"Jeff and I played all last year and had success," said Krajicek, who also won the tournament's sportsmanship award. "We know we're a good team when we play well."

No. 2 Florida Women Top Undefeated Duke

Gator-Tennis.jpgLast weekend the No. 2-ranked University of Florida women's tennis team finished its toughest two-day stretch of the season against fellow-unbeaten No. 6-ranked Duke, upending the Blue Devils 4-2 to improve to 7-0. It was the teams second Top 10 win in two days after defeated No. 4 North Carolina.

"We learned a lot this weekend," said UF coach Roland Thornqvist. "We have a very young team and we learned a lot from these battles. I'm real pleased that we could win two matches our first time on the road with such a young team."

Florida's top-ranked pair of freshman Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) and sophomore Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) trailed their No. 1 match to Ellah Nze and Monica Gorny 7-3 before staging a comeback to clinch the doubles point.

In singles Will gave Florida a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against No. 25-ranked Nadine Fahoum at the No. 1 position. Oyen followed with a 6-4, 6-3 win against No. 71 Elizabeth Plotkin on court No. 3 and put the Gators one victory from capturing the team

Duke won the No. 6 and No. 5 courts to close the score to 3-2, before UF's Joanna Mather rallied for a 6-3, 0-6, 6-3 victory versus Ellah Nze at the No. 4 position to seal Florida's victory.

Florida returns to action on Feb. 17 when the Gators join 15 of the other top teams in the country in Charlottesville, Va., to compete for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships title.

"This was exactly what we needed to get ready for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships next weekend where the best teams in the country will play," Thornqvist said.

ATP Delray Beach Events Kick Off This Weekend

Upcoming ATP Delray Beach International Tennis Championship (ITC) events:

The Celsius "Tennis on the Ave" event this Friday (Feb. 18) will kick off the 2011 Delray Beach ITC and is presented by the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The second annual event begins at 5:30 p.m. and will have Grand Slam champions and Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Mats Wilander playing a match in the middle of Atlantic Avenue. Delray Beach Mayor Woodie McDuffie will be in the umpire chair and WJNO hosts Jim Edwards and Brian Mudd will be going live on site. The event, which is free to the public, will showcase Atlantic Avenue's restaurants, art galleries and boutiques as well as Delray Beach business opportunities. Anyone collecting a receipt from a Delray Beach business on Friday can exchange it at the Tennis Center for 20% off tickets for the tournament's opening matches that evening (up to four tickets per receipt).   
NEW DelrayITC.jpgFollowing Celsius "Tennis on the Ave," the Delray Beach ITC's opening ATP Champions Tour matches begin at the Tennis Center with Todd Martin playing Jimmy Arias at 7 p.m. and Mark Philippoussis meeting Pat Cash in the 9 p.m. nightcap. John McEnroe will open his Delray Beach play on Saturday (Feb. 19) night against Arias at 9 p.m. He plays Martin on Sunday (Feb. 20) at 7:30 p.m. and Boca Raton's Aaron Krickstein Monday (Feb. 21) at 7:15 p.m.  

The ITC's ATP World Tour main draw will be made on Friday, Feb. 18 at 3:00 p.m. with Monday's (Feb. 21) marquee matches announced at that time.

The third and final Delray Beach ITC qualifying tournament wildcard went to US Open Junior champion Jack Sock of Overland Park, KS. Sock, an 18-year-old high school senior, will be returning to Delray Beach where he won last year's singles and doubles titles at the USTA Boys 18's National Clay Court Championships hosted by the City of Delray. The first two wildcards were earned in the ITC's Survivor Series pre-qualifying tournaments by Eric Hechtman, a former University of Miami star, and Stefano Ianni of Italy. Also expected to play in the qualies is 18-year-old up-and-coming Australian Bernard Tomic, who reached the third round of the Australian Open in January.

The ITC qualifying tournament begins Saturday (Feb. 19) at 10 a.m. at the Tennis Center with the second round Sunday (Feb. 20) and final round Monday (Feb. 21). The top four players in the 32-player qualifying draw reach the ATP main draw.  

Top-seeded Andy Roddick will be playing his first Delray Beach match on Tuesday (Feb. 21) at 9 p.m. following the ATP Champions Tour final. Only a handful of reserved seats remain for Tuesday's night session. The 2011 Delray Beach ITC singles winner will receive keys to a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera in addition to the $75,000 winners check. The tournament's ATP World Tour prize money totals $500,000 and including ATP Champions Tour compensation, the total player payout exceeds $1 million.
Grandstand seats are free on Monday (Feb. 21) and Tuesday (Feb. 22) during the day sessions for anyone bringing in eight non-perishable food items OR a usable tennis racquet. The food drive is presented by Porsche (the goal is to fill up one of its display cars) and all donations go to the Community Food Pantry while the racquets are used in community tennis programs.

Deerwood in Jacksonville Hosts Tennis Cancer Benefit in April

The Deerwood Open Cancer Tennis Tournament will be held on April 22-24, 2011, at Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla. The tournament will include various on-site events and a player party, in addition to a pro exhibition featuring Todd Martin, MaliVai Washington, Brian Gottfried, and David Witt. 

The entry fee is $100 per team or $50 per person, with doubles divisions including Open, A, B, C, and D (women's only). Tournament participants will receive a tournament t-shirt, entry to the pro exhibition match, and a catered meal.

For more information go to https://www.memberstatements.com/tour/tours.cfm;jsessionid=2230cff4afca6772f9541e7317a161c0373eTR?tourID=81176

Winners Crowned at 9th Annual Tournament of Champions in Oldsmar

By Nancy Morgan, www.thetennisnews.net

The setting could not have been better, the weather more cooperative or the play more competitive when the 2010 champion doubles teams of charity tournament play were determined in February 2011 at the 9th Annual Tournament of Champions.suncoast tennis foundation logo

Sponsored by the Suncoast Tennis Foundation (STF) and staged at East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar, Fla., the doubles contest drew more than 100 players and a variety of spectators. The tournament not only established the 2010 winners but serves as the only fundraiser for the Suncoast Tennis Foundation, a non-profit community tennis association focused on expanding amateur community tennis for all ages and levels with special emphasis on youth.

"We estimate raising about $10,000 from the tournament through player fees, donations, raffle sales and sponsorships," said Judy Foster, STF's part-time executive director. "That's a little down from last year, but I'm very pleased given the state of the economy. The STF puts that money right back into the community through assistance in schools, offering youth scholarships and assistance with facilities' maintenance and equipment issues.

"It was especially encouraging to have so many during the tournament asking questions about STF and what we do and how we benefit tennis in the Pinellas. Also, I felt there was a sense of excitement many of the winners that their win qualified them for the 2011 Tournament of Champions."
Doubles winners were named in four women's divisions, four men's and three mixed.
Leading the women were Jane Robinson and Karen Olson in the 4.5 division, followed by the mother-daughter team of Mickie and Allison Gelestor in 4.0, Lori Heffner and Helene Newsome 3.5 and Tori Disalvio and Patricia Ryan 3.0. Jane and Karen reached the final against Dianne Albina and Stephanie Geshel after a semifinal win over Michelle Kiefer and Kathy Gray. They won the final by default. Mickie and her daughter Allison qualified for the Tournament of Champions at the Frenchy's Gumbo Tennis Classic held in November, just five weeks after Allison gave birth to her first daughter Mikaila Rae!

"We lost to Judy (Siracusa) and Amy (Pena) in the first round at Frenchy's, so winning here against them in the final was really nice," said Mickie. "Allison just started playing tennis about five years ago, but she's a natural. We know each other's game so well and we both just love to play."

Lori Heffner and Helene Newsome battled to a 10-point third-set tiebreak win in a 3.5 semifinal to win in straight sets over Donna Genet and Christine Campbell in the final.

"Helene and I just started playing together in October before the East Lake club championships (which they won!), and it just worked for us," said Lori. "Helene is real easy to play with and we both were able to make adjustments to our opponents and to any other playing conditions, like the sun. Now that we've played together and had this success, we hope to be able to play some more, maybe in the spring USTA league."

Tori Disalvio and Patricia Ryan beat Barbara Doten and Suzie Garon in the 3.0 final.

The men's 4.0 and 4.5 finals came down to three-set finishes with Michael Erbe and Tim O'Brien beating Chris Allen and Josh Melton in the 4.5 with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 score and John Kaneski and Bob Bolender beating Ron Tenney and Rob Schramm 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the 4.0. The Tampa team of Joe Curtis and David Robins beat Jason Horwitz and Rafal Kucharski in the open division and Ed Ostiguy and Jerry Walker won 7-6 (4), 6-2 over Terry Brady and Derek Mintzer in the 3.5 final.

"Tim and I have played together quite a lot over the last three years and have developed a pretty good strategy together," said Michael Erbe. "Tim has great hands, is a lefty, and we both like to get to the net. It was a close final and Josh and Chris played really well. It came down to swapping a lot of service breaks and with us breaking both of them at the end and both of us holding serve. It was a great match!"

In contrast to Michael and Tim, John Kaneski and Bob Bolender played their first tournament together at Frenchy's where they reached the final to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.

"We do play regularly in Dunedin, but tournament tennis is an entirely different animal," said John, a 16-year elementary teacher now at Cross Bayou. "We pretty much know what the other partner is going to do and have total trust. We try to pick up if the other is down and not playing as well and are very good at communicating.

"For me, playing this tournament was even more special because I had a real incentive to do well and share this with my dad, who had a major stroke in December. Plus, growing up on the Dunedin public courts, I wanted to represent that group well and to show that you can have success and not necessarily belong to an expensive club to do well."                          

Twenty-three teams competed among three divisions in the mixed doubles. Lisa Oonk and John Christison outlasted the seven other teams to win the 3.5 title, including a 6-4, 6-1 final victory over Sandy and Dan DeLosh. Jill DeLucia and David Halliday were challenged  to the limit in their last two matches, winning both in three sets, including a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win in the 4.0 final with Mickie Gelestor and Tony Henrion.

Karen Olson teamed with Craig Hajdich in the 4.5 mixed to win her second doubles title in the Tournament of Champions with a 6-3, 6-1 final win over Jane Robinson and Mark Taylor.

"Craig and I play quite a bit of mixed together and work well together," said Karen. "He usually knows what I'm going to do and I know what he's going to do. And, we both like to get up to the net and play aggressively."

This article is adapted from the Feb. 2011 issue of The Tennis News at www.thetennisnews.net.






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