February 8th, 2016

Tennis Briefs(3): Pinellas Crowned 2015 USTA Florida League Champs; More

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Pinellas County Wins Most 2015 USTA Florida League Sectionals Championships


The Pinellas 65 & Over Women’s 8.0 champs

Pinellas County is the 2015 USTA Florida League County Champion, crowned after the final 2015 Combo leagues finished in January 2016, advancing a total seven teams to USTA League Nationals.

Pinellas started hot right out of the gate in 2015, winning two titles in the first USTA Florida League Sectionals at the 65 & Over Championships. Months later they would relinquish the lead to Duval County, but after cleaning up at the 40 & Over Championships in July they re-took the No. 1 spot and never looked back.

Finishing with seven USTA Florida League Sectionals titles, Pinellas was comfortably ahead of a three-way second-place tie between Broward, Marion and Orange/Seminole counties, all with five titles each.

More than half of Pinellas’ titles came from the legendary St. Pete Tennis Center, established in 1928, where Chris Evert won her first pro title and players such as Bill Tilden, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Doris Hart, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court, Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King, and Martina Navratilova have graced the club’s courts over the years.

Adding to Pinellas’ winning tally were sectional-winning teams from Largo’s Shipwatch Tennis Club, Clearwater’s McMullen Tennis Center, and Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

Pinellas County graphic1Here were Pinellas’ seven sectional title winners (in order of victories):

Shipwatch Tennis Club, Largo — 65 & Over Men’s 8.0
Season Roster: Stephen Churchill Mullis (captain), Todd Whitney, Dennis Rowen, Patricio Dillon, Wendall Walker, Jim Kennerly, Anthony Ruggiero, Hank Houser, Ronald Thomas, Richard Armstrong, Charles Harris, Robert Mullis, Henry Van Drunen, Mike Carrigan, Tim Kahle

McMullen Tennis Center, Clearwater — 65 & Over Women’s 8.0
Season Roster: Sharon Carlile (captain), Nancy Morgan, Beverly Fisher, Ria Graham, Judith Siracusa, Patti Prestera, Deborah McCleery, Frances Strazzulla, Susan Hobbs, Marion Murch

Innisbrook, Palm Harbor — 40 & Over Men’s 3.5
Season Roster: Richard Frizalone (captain), Arthur Burns, Malcolm Slive, Marcus Griffin, Dean Smith, John Christison, David Felix, John Turk, Mark Eisner, Glenn Benjamin, Mark Stys, David Slater, Luis Oliart, Christopher Wyman, Richard Waddick

Pinellas County graphic-stateSt. Pete Tennis Center — 40 & Over Women’s 4.0
Season Roster: Janet Matthews (captain), Virginie Khare, Ann White, Ellen Johnson, Kay Caldwell, Clara Reynolds, Teresa Thompson, Tammy Trace, Jaclyn Turner, Kim Fernald, Norma Rizzo, Gabriela Montero, Nancy Bahls, Frances Strazzulla

St. Pete Tennis Center — 40 & Over Men’s 4.5+
Season Roster: Josh Melton (captain), Michael Rothberg, Randall Meisner, Alejandro Mucino, Ronald Wiser, Ignacio Molina, David King, Chris Canfield, William McMahon, Motez Robinson, Craig Hajdich, Richard Larcomb, Fernando Gonzalez, Rhett Rollyson, Peter Vandenboom, Drew Wager, James Smiechewicz, Michael Erbe, Chris Thomas

St. Pete Tennis Center — Mixed 40 & Over 9.0
Season Roster: David King, Chris Canfield, Kristy Williams, Kim Cashman-King, Karen Brenneman, Michael Rothberg, Josh Melton, Drew Wager, Gayle Brennan, Ignacio Molina, Stephanie Wager, Maki Smith, Sharon Benson

St. Pete Tennis Center — Mixed 55 & Over 8.0
Season Roster: John Green (captain), Linda Riffe, David King, David Biren, Clark Higgs, Ellen Johnson, Sandy Trail, Kay Caldwell, Lynn Brien, Johanna Pruitt, Rhonda Smiechewicz, Mary Paul, Joseph Starnes, Christine Jones, Charlene Knetsch, Brian Kenney, Albert Alhadeff

Pinellas County will take USTA Florida League bragging rights into the 2016 sectionals season, which will kick off with the 2016 65 & Over championships on April 8-10 at the Florida Tennis Center.

Here are the final 2015 USTA Florida League Sectional Championship standings:


1. Pinellas County (7 titles) — 65 & Over M8.0, W8.0, Mixed 40 & Over 9.0, 40 & Over W4.0, 40 & Over M3.5, 40 & Over M4.5+, Mixed 55 & Over 8.0

2T. Broward County (5) — 55 & Over W4.5, 18 & Over W4.0 & M5.0+, 18 & Over W4.5, Combo 18 & Over M7.5
2T. Marion County (5) — 40 & Over W3.0, 18 & Over M2.5, Mixed 18 & Over 7.0, Combo 18 & Over W5.5, Combo 18 & Over W8.5
2T. Orange/Seminole counties (5) — Mixed 40 & Over 7.0, 18 & Over W3.0, 18 & Over W3.5, Combo 18 & Over W7.5, Combo 18 & Over W6.5

5T. Duval County (4) — 65 & Over W6.0, 55 & Over W4.0, 55 & Over M3.5, 18 & Over W2.5
5T. Hillsborough County (4) — 55 & Over M4.0, 40 & Over W4.5+, 18 & Over W5.0+, Combo 50 & Over M8.5
5T. Indian River/St. Lucie/Martin counties (4) — 65 & Over W7.0, 55 & Over W3.5, Mixed 18 & Over 8.0, Combo 50 & Over W7.5

8T. Alachua County (3) — Mixed 18 & Over 2.5, Combo 50 & Over M6.5, Combo 18 & Over M6.5
8T. Leon County (3) — 40 & Over M3.0, 18 & Over M3.5, Combo 18 & Over M5.5
8T. Miami-Dade County (3) — 40 & Over M4.0, 18 & Over M4.0, 18 & Over M4.5
8T. Lee/Charlotte counties (3) — 65 & Over M7.0, Combo 50 & Over M7.5, Combo 18 & Over M8.5

12T. Sarasota/Manatee counties (3) — 55 & Over M4.5, Mixed 18 & Over 9.0, Combo 50 & Over W8.5
12T. Volusia/Flagler counties (3) — Mixed 40 & Over 6.0, 18 & Over M3.0, Mixed 55 & Over 7.0

14T. Collier County (2) — 55 & Over W3.0, Combo 50 & Over W6.5
14T. Escambia County (2) — Mixed 40 & Over 8.0, 40 & Over W3.5

16T. Brevard County (1) — Mixed 18 & Over 10.0
16T. Clay County (1) — Mixed 18 & Over 6.0
16T. Okaloosa/Walton counties (1) — Combo 18 & Over M9.5

For more info on USTA Florida Leagues go to www.ustaflorida.com/leagues.

U.S. Fed Cup Beats Poland, Leaves Hawaii Legacy

Fed-Cup-2016-HawaiiVenus Williams and the U.S. Fed Cup team swept Poland 4-0 over the weekend in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, then the USTA left a little something for residents to remember the Fed Cup visiting the Island’s ocean-side resort.

The elder Williams sister clinched the tie after a singles win on the second day, following opening-day singles wins by Williams and Sloane Stephens. Williams in the finale recorded a 6-1, 6-2 win over Poland’s No. 2 player, Magda Linette, followed by Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe in the doubles beating Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Paula Kania 6-1, 7-5. After the U.S. went up 4-0, the fourth singles match went unplayed.

The U.S. squad advances to the World Group Playoff in April and a chance to move back into the elite World Group for 2017.

“The goal was to get a win any which way we could,” said U.S. team captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “I think it’s great we were able to win all matches. We mentioned this at the beginning of the week — team competition is different. The pressures are different. The expectations are different. It was a big match-up because now we’re one step closer to getting back into the World Group next year. This was very important.”

As part of the USTA Fed Cup Legacy program, the USTA will refurbish the tennis courts at the Old Kona Airport Park, in partnership with Hawaii County. A grand opening is expected in November when the facility will unveil the refurbished courts, new lighting and three 36-foot kid-friendly courts.

For more info go to www.usta.com/Pro-Tennis/Fed-Cup/FedCup.

Velotti Wins Palm Coast USTA Pro Circuit Stop

VelottiNo. 8-seeded Agustin Velotti of Argentina defeated No. 3-seeded Juan Carlos Saez of Chile 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the Sunday final of the $10,000 Men’s Futures Tournament at Palm Coast, a USTA Pro Circuit event held on clay at the Palm Coast Tennis Center in Palm Coast, Fla.

It was a tough week for American players, as none of the 13 in the 32-player singles draw advanced past the second round. Missing from the draw was Palm Coast’s own former Wimbledon juniors champion Reilly Opelka, who is currently sidelined with a stress fracture injury.

Velotti, ranked No. 432, upset the No. 341-ranked Saez by breaking serve early in the third set before the Chilean brought it back on serve at 3-3. Velotti then won the next three games and the title, his sixth Futures-level championship and first since 2014. In the semifinals Velotti upset No. 6-seeded Belgian Clement Geens 7-5, 6-3, and Saez upset No. 2 seed Facundo Mena of Argentina 6-4, 6-3.

Saez won the doubles title with Nicolas Jarry of Chile, in the final defeating Hungary’s Peter Nagy and American Wil Spencer 6-1, 6-2.

The Futures circuit in Florida will next travel to Plantation for two weeks starting on Feb. 15, and Boca Raton the week of Feb. 29.

Since 1979, 17 USTA Pro Circuit alums (including five Americans) have achieved the No. 1 world singles rankings. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport, Pete Sampras, Justine Henin, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi are among the game’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

For more info go to www.usta.com/Pro-Tennis/Pro-Circuit.