January 31st, 2017

Panhandle Tennis Blog: Jan. USTA League, Junior and Adult Tournament Updates

General News Courtside Adult Leagues Adult Tennis News Junior Tournaments Youth Tennis News Blogs

Okaloosa/Walton Wins Second Consecutive USTA Florida Men’s 18 & Over 9.5 Combo Sectional Title

9.5 Men, (l to r), Nick Vlahos, Jason McLemore, Caleb Windholtz, (sitting) Mark Hurst, Chip Thomas, Mike Matisons, Marvin Colley.

The USTA Florida League Men’s 18 & Over 9.5 Combo team from Okaloosa/Walton, captained by Jason McLemore and representing Rosemary Beach Racquet Club, won its second consecutive title at the 2016 USTA Florida League Sectional Championships in Orlando at the USTA National Campus on Jan. 13-14, 2017.

The 9.5 division had four teams and three of them tied with two wins and one loss. The local team won the tiebreaker by having one more match win than the other two teams. These guys are quite a strong team as evidenced by their back-to-back victories. The team of Mike Matisons and Caleb Windholtz won all three of their matches. Great job guys.


Escambia Women’s 18 & Over 6.5 Combo Team Wins Sectional Title

Women’s 6.5 Team (l to r) Melissa Paravalos, Ingrid Hewitte, Elena Sise, Rachel Trahan, Kristy Miller, Anne Elidemir, Kenzier McIntyre, Kim Andrews.

The Women’s 18 & Over 6.5 Combo team from Escambia County/Roger Scott, captained by Kim Andrews, defeated Polk/Winter Haven 2-1 to win the 2016 USTA Florida Sectional Championship at the USTA National Campus in Orlando on Jan. 6-8, 2017.

The team was one third-set tiebreaker from sweeping the final. The ladies defeated South Miami Dade/Doral Park 2-1 in the semifinals. They won their flight 4-0.

Both the teams of Ingrid Hewette/Elena Sise and Rachel Trahan/Melissa Paravalos won all six of their matches to lead the way to victory. Congratulations ladies.


Escambia Women’s 18 & Over 5.5 Combo Team Runner-Up at Sectionals

Women’s 5.5 Team, (l to r) Deborah Reese, Lisa Struck, Julia Elliot, Karen Penn, Cass Lievrouw, Michelle Patterson, Becky Spillar and Kathy Ross.

The Women’s 18 & Over 5.5 Combo team from Escambia County/Roger Scott, captained by Cass Lievrouw, was runner-up in a six-team round robin in the 2016 USTA Florida Sectional Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando on Jan. 13-15, 2017.

The Roger Scott ladies tied with South Miami-Dade with a 3-2 record but defeated the Miamians 2-1 in their head-to-head match. Karen Penn and Deborah Reese went 4-0 to lead their team.

All in all, it was a great start to 2017 for the USTA League teams of the Panhandle.


Very Cold Weather Hampers First 2017 Panhandle Junior Tournament

The first USTA Florida junior tournament of 2017 was held at the Bluewater Bay Tennis Center on Jan. 7-8, 2017 and it was COLD.

The original first-round match times were set for 9 a.m. and the temperature was right at 32 degrees, and with a wind of 20-25 m.p.h. Tournament Director Gary Bertoldo moved the start back to later in the morning when it was marginally warmer.

Surprisingly, even though the draws were small, only two players withdrew due to the cold. The tournament was completed on Sunday. For complete results, click here


Junior Level 3 Weekend in Central Florida

The weekend of Jan. 14-17, 2017 was the USTA Florida Junior Level 3 tournaments at various venues around Central Florida. All these Level 3 tournaments had 64 draws and carried the same point totals as the “Bobby Curtis” State Junior Sectional Championships held in June. So, these tournaments were really big deals early in the junior tennis season. Ten Panhandle players got into these prestigious tournaments.

The best performance of the 10 came from Pensacola’s Annalisa Smith in the Girls’ 14 held at Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club in Largo. Smith was unseeded in her event but went 6-2 for the tournament. She won a main draw match then lost 6-2, 7-6(3) to #3 seed Hope Moulin of Lithia. Smith then won three consolation rounds in straight sets. In the consolation quarterfinals, Smith downed #13 seeded Marissa Pennings (Clearwater) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. She followed that with a consolation semis win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 over Cecilia Alcobe-Garibay (Miami). Smith finally stumbled in the finals but again in three sets losing 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 to Sophia Wang (St. Pete). All in all, it was a terrific tournament for the Smith.

The next best performances by area players included two wins and two losses for Pensacola’s Patrick Ling and Justin Lyons in the Boys’ 12. Also in the Boys’ 12 were Evan Fisher (Pensacola), William Meyering (Gulf Breeze) and Carlo Ghiglino (Pace).  Pensacola’s Gabriella Goyans played the Girls’ 12 while Gulf Breeze’s Collin Scheufler played the Boys’ 18. Pensacola’s Elizabeth Nowak and Gulf Breeze’s Caraline Scheufler played the Girls’ 16.


Gordon Smith Wins Boys 16 at Seminole Lakes “Happy New Year”

Annalisa and Gordon Smith.

Pensacola’s Gordon Smith, the older brother of the previous piece’s Annalisa Smith, was an alternate for the Boys’ 16 that was held in Lakeland.

When he wasn’t in the draw by the Lakeland deadline, he entered at Seminole Lakes and was the #1 seed in the Boys’ 16. Since Seminole Lakes was only three miles from Bardmoor, the logistics were better.

Gordon had a fine run in the 32-draw tournament at Seminole Lakes Racquet Club. Smith only lost two games in his first two matches before beating #4 seed Jinge Yang (Wesley Chapel) 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 in the semifinals. In the finals, Smith topped #3 seed Christopher Riley (St. Pete) 6-2, 7-6.

That resulted in a fine 10-2 weekend for the Smith siblings!


Panama City’s Betty Wachob a Singles Finalist and Doubles Winner at Ballenisles Grande Dames

The Les Grandes Dames Senior Women’s tournament circuit is a series of prize money tournaments throughout the year at various sites around Central and South Florida. The year’s first of these tournaments was held Jan. 18-22, 2017 at Ballenisles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens.

Due to the prize money, many of the nations’s and world’s best senior women players enter these events. Ballenisles was no different as 133 ladies played in the age 40s-80s singles and doubles.

Panama City’s Betty Wachob was the #1 seed in the Women’s 70 singles and the #1 seed with Charleen Hillebrand (Harbor City, Calif.) in the Women’s 70 Doubles. Wachob’s singles draw included 19 players. Wachob downed #3 seed Susan Kimball (Oaks Bluff, Mass.) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals but was upset 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the finals by Ft. Lauderdale’s Carol Clay, the #4 seed.

Wachob and Hillebrand breezed through the doubles draw until the finals where they won 6-3, 7-5 over Kimball and Lee Delfausse (Concord, N.H.).

Panama City’s Pam Percy played in the Women’s 60 singles and Santa Rosa Beach’s Anita Page won a match in the Women’s 60s singles and played Women’s 60 doubles with Ruth Light of Cammack Village, Ar.


USPTA Florida Panhandle Bringing Youth Tennis to Local School P.E. Classes

On Monday Jan. 23, Tops’L Beach and Racquet Resort Director of Tennis,Joe D’Aleo went to Butler Elementary School in Walton County with his wife Jessica D’Aleo to teach the PE classes 10 And Under Tennis (TAUT) to the K-4th grade. 

There were approximately 140-150 kids per class for a total of over 750 kids exposed to tennis in one day!  It was a great day not only for the kids but also for the education of the Butler PE coaches to learn very simple drills for large groups. The skills imparted included eye-hand coordination with toss-bounce-catch, Lobster traps (catching drills), and then some fun Survivor Island drills!  A few months before D’Aleo had stopped by the school and found out that a prior PE coach took all the equipment that had been gotten for them from a USTA Florida grant.  So, D’Aleo informed the staff that after the first of the year he would come to teach the classes and donate nets, balls, hoppers and over 60 rackets so that the program could be started again on behalf of USTA Florida and TOPS’L. 

D’Aleo said, “I always enjoy giving back to a game that has done so much for me and it is always a highlight to see the joy and happiness on the kid’s faces having so much fun! At the end of each class, Jessica and I got so many hugs, thank you’s, and hope you come back soon, that we look forward to the next time.

“I would highly recommend all tennis teaching professionals to reach out to your local schools. Teach some P.E. classes and donate your old equipment in order to Share the Love when you replace your equipment!” D’Aleo said.


Frattini Runner-Up at UTR/REEL Tennis Open in Tamarac

Former University of West Florida player Felipe Frattini was the runner-up in the 64-draw prize money UTR/REEL Tennis Open Prize Money Championships Series 1 held in Tamarac, Fla.,  on Jan. 14-16, 2017.

Frattini won five matches in straight sets to reach the final including a 6-1, 6-3 over #2 seed Jericho Grollman (Lake Mary) in the round of 16. However, Frattini came up against also unseeded Gonzalo Escobar of Bradenton and lost 6-2, 6-1. Unfortunately, prize money was only paid to the winner.

Elena Weaver of Pace, Fla., also played in this tournament in the Women’s Open division. The 15 year old won her opening round. Then she defeated #3 seed Ellen Ashley of Plantation 6 -2, 6-4.

However, Weaver dropped her quarterfinal match 6-7 (11), 6-4, 6-4 to Renata Lombera of Port St. Lucie.