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Tennis Briefs: Florida TOPS'L QuickStart; U.S. Fed Cup Draws Germany; 15-year-old Duval Gets Pro Win

February 10, 2011 09:29 AM
USPTA District 1 Florida Meeting Features QuickStart Jamboree
USPTA Florida District 1 meeting attendees
USPTA members and QuickStart Jamboree participants
The TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort in Miramar Beach, Fla., hosted a USPTA District 1 Meeting & USTA QuickStart Jamboree on Feb. 5, 2011, featuring approximately 60 children age 4-12.

"We had a great USPTA District 1 meeting with our guest speaker George English, the tennis program coordinator for Region 1 for USTA Florida," said Joe D'Aleo, director of tennis for the TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort. "The main topic of discussion is how we can grow the game of tennis in our communities and our clubs through USTA Adult Leagues, Jr. Team Tennis and QuickStart Tennis. Some great ideas were exchanged among everyone, and the general consensus is that by working together as tennis professionals with our local league coordinators and team captains, we can move forward in growing the game in the Panhandle."

While the weather was a bit on the chilly side for the QuickStart Jamboree, parents enjoyed watching their children play to music to keep the feet moving, and USTA Florida provided drinks and snacks.

"Some of the professionals commented to me how they did not realize we had so many kids in our area interested in tennis," D'Aleo said. "I want to also thank Chris Petty and Patrick Morris of Sandestin Resort who brought over a group of kids to show off there tennis skills that have been in the QuickStart program for awhile."

Children were broken up into groups of 6-and-under, 7-to-8-year-olds, and age 9 and up.

"Everything went great with all the children doing the first practice session in the QuickStart manual, and then I let them all have the opportunity to rally playing on the 36-foot and 60-foot courts with all the right-size racquets and lower compression balls," D'Aleo said. "For most of the children that came out today it was there first experience to be out on a tennis court, and the parents could see first hand how much fun they were having. Today was a great success with kids signing up before they left at one of our local tennis facilities to begin QuickStart and be a part of a USTA Jr. Tennis Team."

U.S. to Face Tough Match-up vs. Germany in April Fed Cup Playoffs
mediawall-fed-cupThe draw for the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoffs, to be held on April 16-17, 2011, was made earlier this week, unveiling a difficult away tie for the U.S. at Germany.

U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez's squad has reached the final for the last two years, but after suffering a first-round defeat to Belgium in 2011, they are now facing an exit from the World Group unless they can overcome a young, talented German squad.

The Williams sisters are both currently suffering injuries, Serena (foot) and Venus (groin), but both have made themselves available, as both need to participate in Fed Cup play in 2011 to be eligible to also compete for the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics. Meanwhile Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Melanie Oudin have been fulfilling the singles roles in the absence of the Williams sisters, who have not represented the U.S. in Fed Cup play since 2007.

The German team is led by the streaking Andrea Petkovic, who is on the verge of crashing the Top 20 at No. 24. Also ranked in the Top 50 for the Germans are Julia Goerges and Angelique Kerber. The Germans can also call on veteran singles players Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Sabine Lisicki, who are building their rankings again after injuries.

In other Fed Cup World Group I Playoff matches, France travels to Spain, Serbia travels to the Slovak Republic, and Ukraine travels to Australia. The losers will drop to the World Group II for the 2012 year.

World Group II Playoff matches will see Estonia at Belarus, Sweden at Switzerland, Canada at Slovenia, and Argentina at Japan.

Florida's 15-year-old Duval Clinches First Pro Win

By Joshua Rey, USTA.com

After leaving Florida and landing in Michigan earlier this week, 15-year-old Victoria Duval said that she couldn't wait to play in the snow. 
Duval Victoria 2011
Florida's Victoria Duval
On Wednesday, she turned Stadium Court at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic into her own personal playground, falling to the surface and waving her arms in the shape of a snow angel after defeating Mashona Washington 6-3, 6-3 in a first-round match at the USTA Pro Circuit event.

The wildcard Duval delivered on her very first professional victory in a main draw, dictating play with her forehand against the 34-year-old qualifier.

"In the first three games I was tight," said Duval, who does not have a WTA Tour ranking. "But I said: 'You know what. I have nothing to lose right now. Just go for it.' I was so free and I hit so loose, which helped me a lot. Next round, I'm going to be even looser."

Washington entered the match with 16 years of professional experience, cracking the Top 50 in 2004 and reaching the Dow Corning Tennis Classic final in 2002. But while Washington scolded herself as she struggled to find the range on her shots, Duval appeared as if she were simply playing a practice match back at IMG Academies in Bradenton.

"You don't see very many pros get emotional like the juniors," said Duval. "I just said, 'I belong here and I have to do what everyone else does.' I stayed calm and it worked."

Leading 6-3, 4-3, Duval earned two break points by running Washington ragged behind the baseline before bringing the veteran to the net with a short slice. Though Washington reached that ball, she was helpless when Duval passed her with an inside-out backhand winner. Duval clinched the break, and then the match, by pushing Washington deep into the court and forcing forehand errors. Unable to contain the emotions she'd been bottling up for 76 minutes, Duval squealed as she raced to grab her towel, and then collapsed to the center of the indoor court.

The snow was outside, but Duval didn't care: She spread her arms wide as if she could penetrate the hard court and permanently leave an imprint of her body.

"I'm going down in five, four, three, two, one," Duval said she told herself. "I'm beyond excited. I can't even believe it."

After a quick call to her mother, Duval was handed another cell phone by a smiling Sabine Lisicki, who also trains at IMG. The man on the other line was Nick Bollettieri, who congratulated Duval on the first of many professional wins. Drawn to play a qualifier, Duval could have been matched against big-hitters Alexandra Stevenson, Ahsha Rolle or Alexa Glatch. She was happy to have faced Washington, a counterpuncher whom she believed could not overpower her. 'Turns out, she was right.

"I like the way she plays," said Duval, the No. 1-rated sophomore in the nation according to TennisRecruiting.net. "She doesn't have too many weapons, but also makes you earn every point. I like a good challenge and I was ready for anyone in the qualies. But she seemed to suit my game the best."

Duval said that she plans to play the French Open and Wimbledon junior tournaments this season after compiling a 32-11 singles record on the ITF Junior Circuit in 2010. She is making her eighth appearance at a professional event, having lost her pro debut 6-0, 6-1 to Rebecca Marino one year ago in Memphis. Who should await Duval in the Midland second round but the 6-foot-tall Rebecca Marino, who overpowered Alexa Glatch in a 24-minute first-set before surviving 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(5).

Also advancing on Wednesday were qualifiers Stevenson and Florida's Rolle, who have both won four matches in as many days. Stevenson, the 1998 Midland champion, flummoxed No. 8 seed CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-2. Rolle had an even easier time with No. 3 seed Evgeniya Rodina, running roughshod through the Russian 6-1, 6-1 in 51 minutes.

Stevenson and Stephanie Foretz-Gacon will meet in the second round on Thursday, while Rolle takes on Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal.

All eight second-round singles matches will be played on Thursday, highlighted by a 7 p.m. encounter between two of the quickest players on tour: No. 4 seed Anne Keothavong of Great Britain and Floridian Irina Falconi. After missing six months with a knee injury, Keothavong has worked her way back into the Top 100, while Falconi has flown up to No. 156 in just seven months as a professional.

For more go to www.USTA.com.






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