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Florida Tennis Briefs: USTA Polk 4.0 Women Honor Soldier; US Open Playoffs-Women; More

July 30, 2010 11:17 AM
The USTA Florida Polk County 4.0 women
pegula 2010
Boca Raton's Jessica Pegula
kozlov forehand 2009
Stefan Kozlov
By Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com

USTA League Polk County Women's 4.0 Team Honors Captain's Soldier Son in Kuwait

The women's 4.0 USTA League tennis team from Polk County honored and surprised their captain, Carol Mahler, at the USTA Florida North Central Regional Championships in Daytona Beach on July 9-11, 2010, with their own version of "Operation Freedom."

Mahler's son, 1st Lt. Keith Mahler, is serving in the U.S. military in Kuwait. To show their support of Keith and the troops, the entire team wore red, white and blue shirts while competing over the weekend at the Florida Tennis Center. The American flag on the front of the shirts was designed to honored Keith Mahler, his wife Lindsay and his mother Carol. The words on the shirts read, "God bless America. God bless our troops. God bless 1st Lt. Keith Mahler. God bless Lindsay Mahler. God bless Carol Mahler."

Team members added, "Playing USTA League is helping the Mahler's as they persist through the time of separation and concern. The local 'tennis troops' and teammates from Polk County have rallied around to do their part. Hats off to Carol for serving her team as captain, Lindsay for being a great teammate, and Keith Mahler and the other troops for serving in the military."

Pegula Into Quarterfinals at US Open National Playoffs--Women's Championship

Boca Raton's Jessica Pegula advanced into the quarterfinals on Thursday after first-round play was completed at the Taube Family Tennis Center on the Stanford University campus. The 16-year-old Pegula defeated 25-year-old recent Louisiana State University graduate Megan Falcon of Baton Rouge, La., 6-0, 6-4.

Pegula came out firing, displaying the all-court game that propelled her to the final of a major ITF World Junior event in Brazil earlier this year, and took the first set from the more experienced Falcon 6-0. Pegula continued to dominate the match, taking a 4-1 lead in the second set before Falcon rallied and tied the score at 4-4. Pegula was ultimately too much for the former All-American and advanced in straight sets.

Top-seed Alina Jidkova of Boca Raton will begin the day of play on Friday, facing future USC Trojan Kaitlyn Christian.  No. 3 seed Brittany Augustine will face 15-year-old Canadian Evangeline Repic; No. 4 seed Courtney Dolehide will face Pegula, and No. 2 Alexandra Mueller will finish the day of play as she faces Maureen Diaz.
The winner of the US Open National Playoffs--Women's Championship will earn a wildcard into the qualifying draw of the US Open. The final will be shown live on Sunday on Tennis Channel, and live scoring is available throughout the week at the WTA Tour website.

Clearwater, Delray Beach Honorable Mentions in USTA Best Tennis Town Contest

The USTA announced it has officially awarded Clearwater and Delray Beach, Fla., honorable mentions and recognition as two of the nation's Top 10 tennis communities following the USTA's second consecutive search for the "Best Tennis Town" competition. As part of the honor, Clearwater and Delray Beach will each receive $2,000 in tennis equipment for community tennis programs.

The 2010 "Best Tennis Town" contest was the USTA's second nationwide search to identify the local area -- from small, rural towns to large, urban metro areas and everywhere in between -- that best exhibits the qualities of a great tennis community.

"The USTA is excited to see the passion and commitment to tennis that these towns have showcased through the 'Best Tennis Town' contest," said Kurt Kamperman, chief executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of all of the entrants and honored to pay tribute to a community with such a tremendous commitment to the sport of tennis at all levels of play."

Communities from all over the country submitted their entries for consideration on www.besttennistown.com between April 7 and June 28, 2010, and after carefully reviewing each submission, a panel of judges selected 10 communities as finalists for the 2010 "Best Tennis Town" title out of 82 applications. Each of the 10 finalist towns were profiled on www.besttennistown.com from July 16-26, each profile including the community's video submission, as well as an explanation of the impact of tennis on an individual, an organization and the community as a whole.

After a nationwide vote, Atlanta, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; and Richmond, Va., were announced as the top-three finalist cities (listed in alphabetical order).

The ultimate winner of the "Best Tennis Town" search will be announced during the 2010 US Open, which will be held from Aug. 30 through Sept. 12 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. In addition to the title, the winner of America's "Best Tennis Town" will receive a $100,000 grant from the USTA to be used for community-wide tennis programming and facility enhancements. The 2nd and 3rd prize winners will receive $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, to be used towards the same purposes.

The five other honorable mentions were awarded to Rome, Ga.; Rosemount, Minn.; Snow Hill, N.C.; Beaverton, Ore.; and Manchester Center, Vt. For more information on Best Tennis Town please visit www.besttennistown.com.

Florida's Kozlov Named to U.S. World Junior Tennis Team

The USTA announced that Pembroke Pines' Stefan Kozlov will be among the top American juniors who will represent the United States in the World Junior Tennis Competition Finals on Aug. 2-7, 2010, in Prostejov, Czech Republic. The event features 32 teams (16 boys' teams and 16 girls' teams) composed of players 14-and-under from 23 nations across the world. The U.S. girls' team captured its unprecedented third consecutive title last year, while the boys last won the title in 2008.

The United States is one of nine nations, along with Australia, China, Czech Republic, France, Japan, South Korea, Russia and South Africa, to send a boys' team and a girls' team to the World Finals. 

Joining Kozlov on the U.S. boys' team is Jordan Belga, Elk Grove Village, Ill.; and Noah Rubin, Merrick, N.Y., with the team coached by Michael Sell. The U.S. girls' team will be comprised of Gabrielle Andrews, Pomona, Calif.; Brooke Austin, Indianapolis; and Taylor Townsend, Stockbridge, Ga. The girls will be coached by Kathy Rinaldi.

Both the U.S. girls' team and the U.S. boys' teams went undefeated at the North/Central America and Caribbean Regional Championships in May to finish as the top qualifiers for the finals. Canada and Mexico finished second to qualify in the girls' and boys' competitions, respectively. Each team returns two members from the teams that competed in May; Kozlov replaces Daniel Kerznerman on the U.S. boys' team, while Townsend replaces Christina Makarova on the U.S. girls' roster.

Kozlov, 12, is the youngest competitor on either team and is currently the No. 6 player in the USTA Boys' 14s National Standings. In January, he won the AEGON International, one of the premier international 14-and-under events held in Bolton, England.






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