October 24th, 2016

Panhandle Tennis Blog: Spencer Wins Again; Local Adult, Junior Winners; More

Courtside Adult Tennis News Youth Tennis News

Destin’s Spencer Wins ITF $25K Futures in Houston

Wil Spencer in Houston.

Wil Spencer in Houston.

Destin’s Wil Spencer defeated Aron Hiltzik, a wild card entrant from the University of Illinois 6-4, 6-3 to win the ITF $25,000 Texas Tamale Company Houston Cup at Rice University’s George R. Brown Tennis Center on Oct. 16, 2016.

This tournament win was the biggest of Spencer’s professional career. As a matter of fact, since Spencer retired from the tour earlier in the year, he has come back to win two tournaments and make the finals of a third.

The Houston tournament included one of Spencer’s biggest wins ever when he defeated top-seeded Yuki Bhambri of India 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the semifinals. Bhambri is a former No. 1 junior in the world and the winner of the 2009 Australian Open Juniors tournament. Bhambri was ranked as high as No. 88 in the ATP in November of 2015.

In addition to defeating Bhambri, Spencer downed No. 6 seed Luke Bambridge (GBR) 7-6(6), 7-6(3) in the first round and No. 4 Jose Statham (NZL) 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 in the quarters.

Spencer has moved on to play the $25K Futures in Harlingen, Texas where he defeated No. 4 seed Sebastian Fanselow (GER) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round and fellow American John McNally 6-2, 6-0 in the second round on October 20.

 Great job Wil.

Weaver Finalist at Girls’ 16 USTA Closed Regional

Elena Weaver

Elena Weaver

Pace’s Elena Weaver, the top seed at the USTA Closed Regional in Norcross, Ga., was upset 6-3, 6-1 by #2 seed Katherine Lyman of Mount Pleasant, S.C.

The tournament was held at several sites in Norcross which is just south of Atlanta.

Weaver had won four matches before the final without losing a set, and had only lost 10 total games.

The USTA Closed Regional in Norcross included boys’ and girls’ 12, 14, 16 and 18 divisions.

Pensacola’s Patrick Ling won two matches in Boys’ 12 including an upset of the #6 Asa Wong of Johns Creek, Ga. Niceville’s Rachel McMullan played in the Girls’ 12.

Gulf Breeze’s Caraline and Collin Scheufler played in the Girls’ and Boys’ 18. Collin was 1-2 win-loss with an upset of the #7 seed, Reese Daly of Delray Beach.

UWF Men’s Team of Perot/Dumont Semifinalists at Oracle Cup

(from left) UWF Head Coach Derrick Racine, Alex Peyrot, Pedro Dumont, Assistant Coach Bruno Savi.

(from left) UWF Head Coach Derrick Racine, Alex Peyrot, Pedro Dumont, Assistant Coach Bruno Savi.

The University of West Florida (UWF) men’s doubles team of Alex Perot and Pedro Dumont, seeded #3, defeated #5-seeded Sami Kirberg and Patrick Sell from Rollins College 6-3, 7-5 to win the ITA Southern Regional Doubles Championships at Florida Southern College on Sept. 23, 2016.

That win propelled the Argo duo to one of college sports most unique events. The ITA Oracle Cup ran from Oct. 13-16, 2016 at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Club in Surprise, Ariz.  The Oracle Cup showcased many of the top players from NCAA Divisions II and III, along with junior/community colleges and NAIA representatives.

Formerly known as the Small College Nationals, the ITA Oracle Cup has history dating to 1986, and it is the only singles and doubles national championship event for the Division II and NAIA levels. This year, more than 8,000 players took part in a total of 60 regional tournaments to gain entry into the ITA Oracle Cup field.

The UWF doubles team’s win in the South Regional put them in the DII division with the seven other Oracle Region winners. Then, the doubles champion from the DII division advanced to the weekend’s ITA Oracle Cup semifinals and finals draws with the winners of the DIII, NAIA and junior college champs.

The four ITA Oracle Cup winners (men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles) receive wild cards into the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, held Nov. 3-6 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.

UWF cruised through their first two matches but trailed Azusa Pacific’s Pascal Engel and Oliver Frank by a set, 4-6, and were battling to hold serve late in the second set. But UWF broke serve to take the second set 7-5 and the match 6-2 to become the DII National Oracle Cup champion.

On Saturday Dumont and Peyrot faced Kevin Konfederak and Jordan Cox from Georgia Gwinnett, the NAIA champions, in the semifinals of the Oracle Cup Super Bowl. The Gwinnett duo were the defending champions of the Small College Super Bowl. Dumont and Peyrot put up a valiant effort but fell to the defending champs 6-4, 7-5. Gwinnet went on to win the Super Bowl 6-2, 6-0 over Seward Community College.

Congratulations to Pedro Dumont and Alex Perot for a terrific job at this fall’s ITA Oracle Cup. Their play spells good things to come in the spring tennis season.

84 Teams at Bud Light Charity Challenge

The 12th Annual Bud Light Charity Challenge Tennis Tournament drew 84 men’s and women’s doubles teams to Roger Scott Tennis Center on Oct. 14-15, 2016.

This event benefits Arc Gateway, an organization that provides the best possible life experiences for more than 800 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and Pensacola Sports, a private 501(c)4 not-for-profit agency focusing on education, inspiration and participation in various team, individual, amateur and professional sports activities.

Players enjoyed food, beverages, a chance to win tickets to the 2017 Miami Open, a silent auction, music and at least three tennis matches.

One of the unique concepts of this event is the “Letigan.” Players could purchase Letigans, or they got three free Letigans if they registered early to use in their matches. Letigans allowed a team to force a point to be played over. All the matches were no-ad, so if a team just lost the game point, they could use a Letigan to force the point to be played over. A team could only use one Letigan per point and three Letigans per match. I’m sure all tennis players could think of a time when they needed a Letigan!

Women’s Divisions Winners:

Bud Light Lime – Rachel Trahan/Kristy Miller; Bud Light – tie, Debbie Wroten/Claudia Simmons and Shaner Crooke/Daisy Turner; Amberbock – Janet Olliff/Debbie Smith; Budweiser – Janis Thomas/Diana Waters; Mich Ultra – Michelle Petersen/Tricia Hafdahl; Woodchuck – Jennifer Houston/ TrishClifton; Victory – Karen Penn/Elena Sise; Blue Point –Heather Reese/Anne Elidemir; Land Shark – Rhoda Beckman/Bonnie Adams; Red Hook – Jacquie Wallace/Prebble Baker.

Men’s Division Winners:

Goose Island – Allen Litvak/Scott Baehr; Founders – Ethan Rhone/Bobby Corbett; Natural Light – Carl Miller/Mike Ghiroso; Boulevard – Ronald Green/Andrew Hillman; Shock Top – Brad Bradford/James Johnson; Pensacola Bay – Charlie Skelton/Nina Bubelova.

Wachob a Singles Finalist, Golden Slam Doubles Winner at USTA National Women’s 70 Indoors

(left) Brenda Carter, Betty Wachob.

(left) Brenda Carter, Betty Wachob.

Panama City’s Betty Wachob traveled to Vancouver, Wash., and grabbed two important medals for her trophy case.

Wachob, the #2 seed, was the singles finalist in the USTA National Women’s 70 Indoor Championships, losing to #1 seed Brenda Carter of Charleston, S.C., 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 earning the Silver Ball. Wachob downed the #3 seed Carolann Castell of Kirkland, Wash., 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals.

But she and Carter, the #1 seeds in doubles, teamed to beat the #2 seeds Peggy Andry (New Orleans) and Castell 6-3, 6-1 to capture the Gold Ball and the Golden Slam for 2016.

The duo won the clay, grass, hard, and indoor Women’s 70 Doubles Championships which make up the Golden Slam.

Congratulations ladies.

Fisher, Meyering, Strickler Brothers, Ullrich and Wesley Win at Mobile Tennis Center Fall Junior Tourney

(left) William Meyering and Evan Fisher.

(left) William Meyering and Evan Fisher.

Six Panhandle juniors traveled to Mobile, Ala., on Oct. 8-9, 2016 and all six won hardware at the Mobile Tennis Fall Junior Championships.

Christian and Noah Strickler of Miramar Beach won the Boys’ 10 and Boys’ 12 singles respectively. Both boys played in round robin draws and were 4-0. Christian’s toughest match was 5-4(5), 5-3 over Nash Thomas of Spanish Fort, Ala., while Noah’s toughest win was 6-1, 6-3 over Edward Ladd of Mobile.

William Meyering of Gulf Breeze was the #2 seed in the Boys’ 14 singles and he defeated #3 seed Carson Walker of Theodore, Ala., 6-1, 6-4 in the finals. Meyering was 3-0 in singles. Pensacola’s Evan Fisher, also playing in the Boys’ 14 singles, won a main draw match, lost in the main draw and then won three consolation matches, including 6-0, 6-0 consolation final win over Nicholas Short of Daphne, Ala.

Meyering and Evans then teamed up in the Boys’ 14 doubles to win the title 8-6 over Short/Walker.

Kaila Ullrich of Destin and Kerrigan Wesley from Ft. Walton Beach each did well in the Girls’ 12 singles. Ullrich, unseeded, won three rounds to reach the finals before falling 6-3, 6-1 to top-seeded Grace Swain of Mobile. Wesley won two rounds of singles including a 6-3, 7-5 upset of Mobile’s Maitlin Young.

Ullrich and Wesley then teamed to win the Girls’ 12 doubles defeating Fiona McGill of Fairhope, Ala., and Swain 9-8(3) in the final.

Humeda and Sarazin Win at NorthRiver Yacht Club Fall Clay Court Challenge in Tuscaloosa

Sami Humeda.

Sami Humeda.

Pensacola’s Sami Humeda, unseeded, played three close matches, including a 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 final win over #2 seed Kyle Norris of Vestavia, Ala., to take the trophy at the NorthRiver Yacht Club Fall Clay Court Challenge in Tuscaloosa.

Pensacola’s Sophie Sarazin lost her first round Girls’ 12 match but stormed back with three straight set wins, including a 6-2, 6-2 topping of Montgomery’s Reilly Taylor in the consolation final.

Other area players to make the trip to Tuscaloosa with the McClelland Tennis Academy included Girls’ 14s Mallory Douglas and Kelly Imhof of Pensacola and Girls’ 16s Anna Robinson and Mary Sherrill, who upset the 3rd seed in three sets, both of Pensacola.

Max Frederick and Nicholas Herman of Pensacola played the Boys’ 10. Frederick was 2-2 in the tourney.

In addition to Humeda, Gulf Breeze’s William Meyering and Destin’s Brody Miller played in the Boys’ 14. Meyering won a round in the main draw.

Weaver Wins G18 Consolation at Level 5 in Lake Cane

Elena Weaver.

Elena Weaver

Pace’s Elena Weaver bounced back from a 6-4, 6-3 first-round loss to #2 seed Ysabel Rico of Miami to win six matches, including a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over #15 seed Jessica Stefan of St. Petersburg, in the consolation quarterfinals and a 6-2, 7-5 beating of Alexandra Yepifanov of Aventura in the consolation finals at the USTA Florida Level 5 tournament at Lake Cane.

Five other area players participated in the Level 5s which were held in the Orlando area at Red Bug Park in Casselberry and Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

Panama City Beach’s Alisa Popov played in the Girls’ 14 at Red Bug Park. Jack Mills from Niceville played the Boys’ 14 and Elizabeth Nowak of Pensacola played the Girls’ 16, both at Sandlando Park.

Caraline and Collin Scheufler of Gulf Breeze played the Girls’ and Boys’ 18s with Weaver at Lake Cane.

All the draws for this Level 5 were 64 except for the Boys’ and Girls’ 12. These particular Level 5s are quite hard to gain entry.