August 19th, 2014

Panhandle Blog: 40-Point Tourney; Area Players Shine at USTA Nationals


Area Players Shine at National Events while 40-Point Tournament Tried in Pensacola

Emerald Coast tennis players Betty Wachob (Panama City) Scott and Jacob Baehr, Derrick and Austin Racine and Chris Ephron (all of Pensacola) and Elena Weaver of Pace all shined at various USTA national tournaments around the country.

Roger Scott Tennis Center also tried out the new USTA 40-Point Tournament. With 18+ USTA Leagues in full swing in July, all area tennis clubs were packed.

Wachob Wins two Silver Balls While Baehrs Capture Bronze Ball at USTA National Grass Court Tournaments

Betty Wachob (left) and Toni Novack at W65s National Grass

Betty Wachob (left) and Toni Novack at W65s National Grass

Panama City resident Betty Wachob won two silver balls at the USTA National Womens 65 Grass Court Championships held July 21-27, 2014 at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia, PA. Wachob, seeded 4th in her draw, defeated second seeded Molly Hahn (Belmont, MA) 6-1,6-1 in the semis before falling to top-seeded former tour player Anne Guerrant (Gilbert, AZ) 6-3, 6-0.

In doubles, Wachob teamed with a new partner, Toni Novack (Naples, FL). The tournament seeding committee thought enough of the duo to seed them #1. After cruising through the draw to the finals they were upset 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a terrific match by Hahn and Victoria McEvoy (Cambridge, MA) the #2 seeds. Still, it was a great tournament for Betty winning two Silver Balls.

Jacob (left) and Scott Baehr at 2013 Grass Courts

Jacob (left) and Scott Baehr at 2013 Grass Courts

Scott Baehr and his son, Jacob, made their second appearance at the USTA National Father/Son Grass Court Championships held July14-16, 2014 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill, MA.

Last year, the Baehrs were unseeded and lost in the quarters to the Sakey’s from Pensacola. Then Baehrs won three straight matches. In 2014, the Baehrs came into the draw as the 3rd seed. The Baehrs defeated #5 Woldmoe’s (Fishers, IN) 7-6(8), 7-6(4) in the quarters. In the semifinals, the top-seeded Morse-Karzens (Wilmette, IL), a perennial favorite at the grass courts, handled Baehrs 6-4, 6-2. However, Scott and Jacob came back to win going away 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-1 over the Fraziers (LaCanada, CA) to capture their first National Bronze Ball.

There will be more National Balls for these two I’m sure.

Racines, Ephron and Weaver Also Impress at National Tournaments

Derrick (left) and Austin Racine at the 2014 Father/Son Clay Court Nationals

Derrick (left) and Austin Racine at the 2014 Father/Son Clay Court Nationals

Derrick and Austin Racine, Chris Ephron and Elena Weaver also played in National level tournaments in July. The Racine’s were one of the 5-8 seeds at the USTA National Father/Son Clay Court Championships held July 18-20, 2014 at the Cincinnati Tennis Club in Cincinnati, OH.

The Racines won two rounds handily before falling 6-0, 6-3 in the quarters to the top-seeded Weinackers (Birmingham, AL). In the quarterfinal play-off, Racines lost 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to the Grangers (Lake Forest, IL) another 5-8 seed.

One of the top junior tournaments in the world is the USTA Boy 16-18 National Championships held at Kalamazoo, MI, on July 30-August 10.

Chris Ephron (left) and Davey Roberts at Kalamazoo

Chris Ephron (left) and Davey Roberts at Kalamazoo

Chris Ephron played both singles and doubles with Davey Roberts (Palm Coast, FL) in the event. The draws were 128 with a full feed-in consolation. Ephron lost a close 7-5, 7-6 to the 18th seed in his opening match. Ephron won two consolation matches before falling 6-4, 6-2 to Josh Marchalik (NJ).

In the 128 doubles draw, Ephron and Roberts got a first-round bye and then won their second round match 6-4, 6-1. In the round of 32, the dropped a 6-2, 6-4 decision to #13 seed VanEmburgh and Wolf.

Elena Weaver (left) and Renee Tharpe (former University of West Florida player and supporter) in Atlanta

Elena Weaver (left) and Renee Tharpe (former University of West Florida player and supporter) in Atlanta

Elena Weaver played at the USTA National Girls 14 Hardcourt Championships at the Peachtree City Tennis Center in Atlanta on August 2-8, 2014. The Girls 14 championship was a 128 compass draw which guaranteed each player at least four matches. Weaver won her opening round 2 and 2 before falling 6-0, 6-2 to the #6 seed and eventual tournament winner Caty McNally (Ohio).

Weaver then lost 6-4, 6-3 to the 17th seed before winning three straight set matches to reach the final of her compass draw. There, Weaver came up two points short to fellow Floridian Angelica Blake (Boca Raton) 2-6, 6-1, 13-11.

For Ephron and Weaver it’s just an honor to get into these gold ball USTA National Championship tournaments. Based on their results this year and continued hard work, they should be able to improve these showings every time out.

Pensacola Tries Second Ever Florida 40 Point Tournament

On July 26 at the Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola, the second-ever Florida USTA 40-Point Tournament was played. This format is designed to have half-day tournaments in a round robin format and get several matches completed in the morning (singles) and after lunch for doubles.

The format is 40 points. Each team or player serves 5 points, switches sides after 10 points and play continues until 40 points have been completed. Points won are tallied at the end of all the round robin matches to get winners and runners-up in each division.

A nice turnout of 44 players came to Roger Scott on Saturday. They participated in three divisions: the Women’s 3.5 Doubles, the Mixed Doubles 3.5 and the Rainbow division which included a mixture of 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 players.

The format got mixed reviews from “Great for a hot summer day” to “Sucks”! The most common complaint was difficulty keeping score. Players used to either no-ad scoring or regular tennis scoring had a hard time keeping track of 15-13 type of score.

One player said of the 40-point system that there was no opportunity to “reset” as in a regular tennis match. Once the other team gets to 20 points, there’s absolutely no chance to win. In a regular match, one can blow the first set, and still regroup in the second set.

Most of the players felt that playing some format was better that not playing! Tournament Director Stephen Allison did an outstanding job.

Winners were as follows:

Women’s 3.5 Doubles: 1. Donna Underdonk/Susan Jason 2. Erin Gliddon/Kim Andrews

Mixed 3.5 Doubles: 1. Brad Bradford/Renee Baggett 2. Tim and Whitney Summerall

Rainbow Division: 1. Tayloe Moore/Jen Pfeifler 2. Terry Thrash/Susan Nitterauer

Rainbow Division winners Pfeifler (left) and Moore

Rainbow Division winners Pfeifler (left) and Moore

Rainbow Division runner-up Nitterauer (left) and Thrash

Rainbow Division runner-up Nitterauer (left) and Thrash