June 12th, 2014
Panhandle Blog: May Tennis News Round-up
The past six weeks have been fruitful for many different tennis players in the USTA Florida Region 1/Panhandle area.
The University of West Florida (UWF) men’s team went undefeated for the season and won their 3rd NCAA Division II National Championship. Alexa Guarachi, a former All-American at the University of Alabama and a Destin resident, won her first professional doubles title at a $10,000 Futures Tournament in Turkey. Pensacola’s Will Neuner, currently playing tennis for Florida Atlantic University, partnered with teammate Richard Meade to win the USTA National Men’s Open Clay Court Doubles. And, at Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola the first three days of the 37th Annual Pensacola Sports Association’s (PSA) Racquet Round-Up drew 510 kids!
UWF Wins 3rd NCAA Division II Men’s Tennis National Championship
On May 17th at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla., UWF defeated Hawaii Pacific (HP) 5-3 to win their 3rd NCAA Division II Men’s National Championship. UWF finished the season 29-0 while Hawaii Pacific finished 23-1.
UWF swept all the doubles points from HP although the #3 doubles match of UWF’s Domenico Sano/Elio Latella versus HP’s Yann Renault/Adriano Locorotondo went down to the wire with UWF winning 9-8 (9-7).
Starting the singles play Bruno Savi, UWF’s #1 player and the number 1 ranked player in Division II all year, faced HP’s Petr Michnev, the number two ranked player, and won 6-2, 6-2. With UWF up 4-0 a seeming rout was on. This writer was watching on the Internet at NCAA TV and there was a rousing chat going on between 2 UWF fans and and an HP fan. One fan of each side said he was a former player. The HP fan said watch out for the HP singles players. This match was far from over. And was he ever right.
HP won the #’s 3, 4 and 5 singles in straight sets and was up the first set at #2. UWF had won the first set at #6. The next hour or hour and a half swung back and forth as UWF’s #13 ranked Tony Rajaobelina battled tooth and nail with HP’s #15 ranked Jaume Martinez-Vich at #2 singles. Meanwhile at #6 UWF’s Elio Latella couldn’t put away HP’s Clemens Graute. Finally, UWF’s Rajaobelina pulled out the 5th point to win the championship with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Latella was still battling at 7-5, 6-5 when the final point was won.
At the tourney, UWF’s Savi was named ITA National Senior Player of the Year while UWF Coach Derrick Racine was named the ITA National Coach of the Year.
UWF head coach Derrick Racine sat down for an interview with WUWF’s Bob Barrett to reflect on the undefeated, national championship season. To hear this interview click on the link below:
Guarachi Wins First Professional Doubles Title in Turkey
Former University of Alabama All-American and Destin, Fla., resident Alexa Guarachi won her first-ever professional doubles title at a $10,000 Futures in Antalya, Turkey on May 18. Guarachi teamed up with former Northwestern University player Kate Turvy to defeat #2 seed Bonic (Serbia) and Hermoso (Mexico) 6-3, 7-6(8).
The duo also beat the #3 seeds in the tourney. Guarachi was also unseeded in the singles and beat the #2,#5 and #7 seeds before falling in the final 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to #8 Oceane Dodin of France.
Neuner wins 2014 USTA National Men’s Open Clay Court Doubles
Pensacola’s Will Neuner joined Florida Atlantic teammate Richard Meade to win the USTA National Men’s Open Clay Court Doubles Championships on May 23 at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Club in Ft. Lauderdale.
Neuner and Meade downed #1 seeds Ty Trombetta (Hallandale, Fla.)/Carlos de Bracamonte (Golden Beach, Fla.) 7-5, 6-4 in the finals. The Owl duo also won three set matches over #4 seeds Powell/Tomczak and Becena/Caruana in the quarters and semis respectively.
UWF’s Kochanova and Faure Earn ITA All-America Honors
The University of West Florida women’s tennis team had two players named to the 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America teams. Monika Kochanova (Slovakia) and Laure-Eline Faure (France) were named to the All-America team for the first time in their respective careers.
Kochanova finished the season with a 16-4 record at No. 1 singles and ranked 6th nationally.
Faure (Toulouse, France) finished the season with a 12-6 record at No. 2 singles and 23-2 record at No. 1 doubles.
Kochanova and Faure ended the season ranked No. 5.
Edge Named USPTA Florida Division 2014 High School Coach of the Year
Pensacola Washington High School boys and girls tennis coach, Michael Edge, was named the 2014 USPTA High School Coach of the Year at the USPTA Florida Division Annual Convention held May 27-June 1 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
37th Annual PSA Racquet Round-Up Begins in Pensacola
The 37th Annual Pensacola Sports Association’s Racquet Round-Up began with a bang June 3-5 at the Roger Scott Tennis Center.
Five hundred ten children attended the first three days at Roger Scott. Began in 1977, this free tennis clinic offers complimentary tennis instruction to any child between the ages of 6-12 in several areas of town. Each year the Racquet Round-Up introduces the game of tennis to well over 400 young people.
The program includes locations at Roger Scott, Hollice T. Williams Courts in downtown Pensacola (June 11), University of West Florida (June 19), Pensacola Naval Air Station (June 23), and Gulf Breeze High School on July 17-18.
Players each receive a goodie bag after their clinic. There are also refreshments at all the sites. Over the years several Pensacola-area tennis players that got their starts at Racquet Round-Ups eventually played tennis in college on scholarship.