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Tennis Briefs: Aussie Open Wildcard Tourney; Florida Champs at WTT Nationals

November 11, 2010 09:32 AM
by Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com

Ryan Harrison (photo by USTA/Tom Grason)
Vandeweghe, Harrison, U.S. Players to Battle for 2011 Australian Open Wildcards

Remember the days when the most-hyped U.S. juniors were simply handed wildcards into Grand Slam events? Those days are gone under current USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe, who insists that the top up-and-coming hungry group of U.S. players must fight for their supper.

"Our philosophy is based on having our top emerging players improve through competition, and the wildcard playoffs allow these players to earn the opportunity to compete at the highest levels of the sport," McEnroe says.

With the 2011 Australian Open fast approaching, that philosophy will be in evidence on Dec. 17-19, 2010, when the top U.S. male and female players will be invited to compete at the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta for the USTA Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs. Americans Coco Vandeweghe and Ryan Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., last year's wildcard winners, headline the eight-man and eight-woman fields.

The USTA secured the Australian Open wildcard opportunity through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, where the two national tennis federations exchange wildcards for the 2010 US Open and the 2011 Australian Open. 

Six men have been offered a spot in the tournament: Jordan Cox (Duluth, Ga.), Harrison (Bradenton, Fla.), Denis Kudla (Arlington, Va.), Tim Smyczek (Milwaukee, Wis.), Jack Sock (Lincoln, Neb.) and Donald Young (Atlanta). The four women thus far invited to compete are: Jamie Hampton (Auburn, Ala.), Christina McHale (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Alison Riske (McMurray, Pa.) and Vandeweghe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)

The final fields for the wildcard playoffs will be determined in the upcoming weeks. For tickets and more information, go to www.australianwildcard.com.

Three Miami Teams Win Titles at World TeamTennis Rec. League National Finals

Three Florida teams took home crowns from the World TeamTennis (WTT) Rec. League National Finals, held Nov. 5-7, 2010, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif. A record 59 recreational tennis teams representing 17 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, competed for national championship titles in 11 divisions during the three-day tournament.

The teams advanced to the national finals by qualifying from their respective divisions in seven WTT Rec. League national qualifying tournaments held throughout the year. Corporate League teams qualified by winning their local league. The weekend kicked off with a players' Wilson Clinic hosted by tennis legend and WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.

The "Love Players 3.5" from Miami won the Senior 3.5 Division with a 4-0 round robin record. Team captain Pete Roscia of Miami has previously been on a Rec. Championship team, but it was the first title for most of his teammates. Other members of Love Players 3.5 are Siriporn Burke, Andrea Steinacker, and Willie Mays, all of Miami; Antony Van Smith of Palmetto Bay, Fla.; and Susan Culligan and Julie Weaver of Miami Beach.

The same-named "Love Players 3.5" of Miami also won the Super Senior 3.5 Division title, defending their title from last year with a 32-11 win over "Team Denlinger" of Lancaster, Pa. Team members of Love Players 3.5 are Pete Roscia (captain) of Miami; Lavenia Ferguson of Novelty, Ohio; Susan Culligan of Miami Beach; Tony Van Smith of Miami; and Delano Clare of Cleveland, Ohio.
The Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB) team from Miami claimed the Corporate 3.5 Division title with an exciting 28-27(4) tiebreak win over the New York State CD Topshots of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. MSSB finished with a 5-0 record, and the Topshots were 4-1. The MSSB team was led by Andrea Steinacker (captain) of Miami, with Jeff Blum of Miami; Luis Tascon of Key Biscayne; Tom Andrews of Hollywood, Fla.; Elyse Gainor of Miami Beach; and Rommy Chang of Miami.

Other Florida team results:

Senior 4.0 Division, 5th place, Aces of Miami: Michael Pradhan, Miramar, Fla.; Juan Zubillaga, Key Biscayne; Yuki Denmark, Miami; Siriporn Burke (captain), Miami; and Michael Norman, Miami.

Super Senior 4.0 Division, 3rd place, Love Players 4.0 of Miami: Nancy Gilbert, Cleveland, Ohio; Vivian Vila, Miami; Robert Hopson, Miami; Sergio Rotati, Coral Gables; Pete Roscia (captain), Miami.

Corporate 3.5 Division, 4th place, US Gas & Electric Matchpoint Tennis of Miami: David Antos (captain), Margate, Fla.; Reuben Harper, Miami; Show Pornpun Swangpun, Miami; Rita Zubillaga, Key Biscayne; Michel Laguerre, Miami.

Corporate 4.5 Division, 4th place, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney of Miami: Emiliano Lorenzini, Miami; Hugo Mantilla, Coral Gables; Josefina Gorostiaga, Key Biscayne; Anne Maryse Lopez, Key Biscayne; Donna Kass, Miami; Andi Steinacker, Miami; Rob Hopson, Miami; Marcelo Borrelli (captain), Miami.

All matches were played using the WTT format, a fun, fast-paced co-ed team format that encourages equal contributions from both genders, the same format used in the USTA "Tennis on Campus" league. A team has a minimum of four players, two men and two women. The WTT format uses five or six no-ad set matches: men's and women's doubles, men's and women's singles, and one or two sets of mixed doubles.






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