Posts Tagged ‘Alessandro-Damiano Ventre’

2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Open

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Hey Tennis Friends!

Last weekend, one of my local tennis venues had its third annual USTA sanctioned Open event. What follows is my comprehensive press coverage, as well as my video report, from the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

GREAT WEATHER, GREAT TENNIS

RIVERSIDE, CA (Oct. 24, 2013) – The main draw has begun at the iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships at Andulka Park Tennis Center, in Riverside. The 1:30pm afternoon start accommodated many of the players who traveled from all over Southern California to be a part of the “Battle of the Pros”

In first round action, Moreno Valley resident, and RCC tennis standout, David Stanko made easy work of his opponent Abhit Singh of Los Angeles, 6-0, 6-1.

David Stanko keeps his eye on the ball during the early rounds at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

David Stanko keeps his eye on the ball during the early rounds at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


“We had some blowouts, which is typical of the first round, but we also had some great matches”, said Director of Tennis, Larry Loeb. “David Stanko won pretty handily, but he’s got a tough one tomorrow against Alessandro Ventre, who is from Riverside, and is one of our top seeds, and an excellent player, so, it should be a good match.”

Despite the foggy morning, by the time the matches began, the sun came out to mild temperatures to finish the afternoon, blending into a much cooler evening session.

“This weekend, we have zero chance of precipitation, which makes a tournament director really, really, really, happy!”, boasted Loeb, “We had a really good three-setter between two college kids today and look forward to some great action tomorrow. It’s going to be beautiful all weekend and we hope that everyone comes out for the marvelous weather and the high level of tennis.”

Players in men’s and women’s singles and doubles are competing for a minimum of $4,500 in total winnings. Proceeds from this event will benefit Let’s Teach, Inc., which provides life skills to socio-economically disadvantaged youth through the sport of tennis.

TOP SEEDS BREEZE THROUGH

RIVERSIDE, CA (Oct. 25, 2013) – The first full day session of main draw action
saw no upsets of the seeded players at the iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships at Andulka Park Tennis Center, in Riverside. The foggy 8:00am start burned off to a wonderful day of high level tennis. Tournament Director Larry Loeb declared that this event has, “Some of, if not thee best tennis ever played in Riverside!”

In an early women’s singles quarterfinal match, the number two seeded Kaitlyn Christian, of Orange, rolled over Claremont’s Victoria Santoro 6-1, 6-0. A pretty easy match for one half of the number one ranked college doubles team, and USC senior. “I made a friend today!”, said Christian, “I want to get better at singles. It’s my main goal. Doubles is easier when you have another person out there, I just want to get a few matches in before the (ITA Nationals).”

The biggest match of the day session was a women’s singles quarterfinal match between Hemet resident and Andulka teaching pro Bay Daniels, and former North High School star and UCR freshman Jasmine Almaguer. Under the eighty degree midday sun, center court drew the biggest crowd, turning the “Battle of the Pros” into the “Battle of the Inland Empire”.

Almaguer looked comfortable in the first set, taking control of the points at key moments, even though these players had never met before. “I prefer not knowing who my opponent is, and not knowing anything about them. Just going out there with a clear mindset, and then figuring it out on the court”, assessed Almaguer, who took the first set.

Jasmine Almageur cranks back for her backhand at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Jasmine Almageurcranks back her backhand at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


In the second set, it was Daniels who seemed to be the better player. She had not played a tournament in five years, and was a little nervous in the first set because of that. “I didn’t give up (in the second set). I wasn’t as nervous. I started to relax and wasn’t really doing anything different with my game”, said Daniels. Almaguer would disagree, “She started playing smarter, more shots, more angles, more spin.
I just relaxed too much. I thought I had it, then obviously, I lost it .” Almaguer’s second set loss forced a third and deciding set.

“After losing that second set I was pretty frustrated, I should’ve wrapped it up, but I let it slip”, confessed Almaguer. Daniels looked to make easy work of her younger opponent in the third set, “I was up 5-2, but when it got close, I got nervous.”, said Daniels, “I couldn’t serve as good as I was in the previous sets. I was just exhausted and my body was aching.”

After three tough sets, and nearly three hours, the match came down to a tiebreak, with Daniels saving a few match points, which didn’t bother Almaguer too much, “I knew if I played smart, and if I kept fighting, it was just a matter of closing it up.” Almaguer finally took the match 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6). “I’m going to go get some physical therapy and come in fresh tomorrow”, said Almaguer, “I’m excited to play!”

On the men’s side of the draw, the number one seed, Kyle Dandan, from Los Angeles, defeated San Carlos’ Daniel Morkovine 6-2, 6-0 in a men’s Round of 16 matchl. “He had a pretty good serve and got a lot of balls back, I was just lucky enough to put them away”, said the 2012 Santa Clara University grad. While a standout at SCU, Dandan helped take his team to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history, and they reached the highest ranking ever, 29th. “I am very proud of those achievements.”

Looking forward in the draw, Dandan said, “I’ve played those guys and we’ve had some tough matches, so, I’m expecting them to play their best.”

SOME MEN’S SEEDS FALTER,
WOMEN’S SEEDS HOLD UP

RIVERSIDE, CA (Oct. 26, 2013) – It was a tough day on the men’s side of the draw at the iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships at Andulka Park Tennis Center, in Riverside. In a full-scheduled day, two rounds of singles were on the board, which resulted in many upsets.

First up in the men’s singles quarterfinal round, top half of the draw, the number eight seed, Logan Smith, downed the number one seeded Kyle Dandan 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4.

In another three set marathon, Sierra Leon’s Tim Kpulun, the number three seed, fell to the number six seed, Israel’s Amit Inbar 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2).

In the men’s quarterfinal bottom half, unseeded Frenchman Maxime Tabatruong moved into the semis after only four games, up 3-1, as the number two seeded Xavier Smith retired from fatigue of a recent broken hand.

Wrapping up the quarterfinal matches, former Cal Baptist University standout and Riverside resident, Alessandro Ventre, had a tough first set as he took on the number four seed, Sebastian Rivera. Seeded number five himself, after a closely contested tiebreak first set, Ventre moved into the semifinal, over Rivera, 7-6(6), 6-2.

In women’s singles semifinal action, Riversider Jasmine Almaguer’s run came to a halt at the hands of the number one seeded Bettina Radke, from Germany. Despite some exciting points, Radke dominated the UCR freshman 6-0, 6-1.

In the other women’s semifinal, the number one college doubles player in the nation, Kaitlyn Christian, had her hands full with Katie Kuosman. Kuosman, from Colorado, and now a player for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, did not allow herself to be rolled over by the two-time ITA doubles champ. “It was a little bit tougher than yesterday”, said Christian, “I played a really good opponent. She gave me a good match.”

Kaitlyn Christian stretches out to get a backhand back in play at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Kaitlyn Christian stretches out to get a backhand back in play at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


Christian won the first set, giving up three games. She was up 5-1 in the second, when Kuosman started rallying back, taking two more games off of the number two seed. “I got a little bit tired toward the end, I don’t think I ate a big enough breakfast”, said Christian, “She played really well, and I was losing a little bit of energy out there, so I was just happy to close it out with my serve.” Christian moved into the final, against Radke, with a 6-3, 6-3 win.

In the first men’s semifinal, Alessandro Ventre, had a game plan, “I think I started pretty well, hitting the lines a lot, hitting the ball early, and being aggressive.” Ventre’s big serve helped him dig out against Maxime Tabatruong of a number of points when he was down.

Alessandro Ventre looks in good form at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Alessandro Ventre looks in good form at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


Ventre, originally from Brazil, reflected on his time at CBU, “My time there was nice. I played there three seasons and had really good fun, and really good matches. I had people I really care about around me, in a different place, and sharing those moments was really cool.” Ventre moved into the final over Tabatruong 6-3, 6-2.

The biggest surprise of the day happened in the second men’s semifinal, where sixteen year old high school junior Logan Smith, of Carlsbad, took out former UCLA team standout, Amit Inbar. After two tough sets of masterful play, the number six seeded Inbar ran out of energy in the third, catapulting the number eight seed, Smith, into Sunday’s final against Ventre with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.

Here is my video report featuring highlights and interviews from Saturday’s event:

Women’s doubles finalists are UC Riverside’s Jasmine Almaguer / Courtney Pattugalan versus Katie Kuosman / Victoria Santoro, both CMS team members.

Men’s doubles finalists are former UCLA players Amit Inbar / Maxime Tabatruong versus Skyler Butts / Neel Kotrappa, both CMS team members.

WARM TEMPS, SIZZLING ACTION

RIVERSIDE, CA (Oct. 27, 2013) – It was championship day at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships at Andulka Park Tennis Center, in Riverside. The four day professional tennis event had its largest crowd ever, including Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, who participated in the ceremonies. “The City of Riverside is really proud of this investment, and to have this continued professional footprint here in Riverside”, said Bailey.

First up on center court, Bettina Radke and Kaitlyn Christian, seeded first and second respectively, came out firing for the women’s singles final in front of the early morning crowd. The first set was peppered with drop shots and short angles where neither player was able to dictate play for too long, without the other coming back. Christian, the number one college doubles player in the nation, was able to hold her break and take the first set.

(L to R) Tournament director Larry Loeb, runner-up Bettina Radke, women's singles champ Kaitlyn Christian, emcee Marcus Tennis at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

(L to R) Tournament director Larry Loeb, runner-up Bettina Radke, women’s singles champ Kaitlyn Christian, emcee Marcus Tennis at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships. Photo credit: Kristy Gladding


In the second set, Radke’s lack of recent matchplay got the best of her as the college-match-tough Christian took control of the match. Radke had a few games with the scales tipped against her, and certainly had her chances to pull them out, but Christian was too solid, winning the championship 6-4, 6-1.

The men’s singles final brought sixteen year old high school junior Logan Smith, against former top Cal Baptist University player Alessandro Ventre. Ventre won the coin toss, elected to serve, and began blasting his serves. “I just came out to play more aggressive”, said the fifth seeded Ventre, “Really trying to take care of that first serve, as well as being aggressive on the second serve.”

Logan Smith winds up his backhand at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Logan Smith winds up his backhand at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


Ventre went up 4-1, but Smith, ranked number five in SoCal boy’s 18s, had shaken off his final round jitters, and started breaking back. Ventre took it in stride, “I always get a little concerned, but I knew the problem there was me. I missed balls that I shouldn’t have, then he’d come out with one good shot to break back. So I knew that if I could avoid those really bad options I could stick with my game plan.” Blistering serves from both players saved break points throughout the match.

The twenty-eight year old Ventre took the first set with a close 7-5 win. Smith held his own at the beginning of the second set, but, Ventre’s strategy was working too well, “I tried to move in as much as I could, not to get into the rallies too much. I wanted to be the one dictating the points, and it worked, pretty much, for the whole tournament.”

Alessandro Ventre powers through to the men's singles championship at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Alessandro Ventre powers through to the men’s singles championship at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


Despite, or perhaps because, of the twelve year age difference, Ventre took home the championship trophy by taking the second set 6-3. “I just wanted to show him that he’d really have to fight against an older guy, to play, and if he wanted to win he really would have to deserve it.”

Next up for Ventre is vacation time in his home country of Brazil, then a couple of futures, before coming back to compete in the United States next spring.

The women’s doubles was the first of the finals that pitted college against college. The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team of Katy Kuosman and Victoria Santoro went up against the team from University of California Riverside, Courtney Pattugalan and John W. North high graduate Jasmine Almaguer.

Pattugalan/Almaguer did not come out as strong as in their previous match, where they did not give up any games. “Honestly, we were struggling in the very beginning”, said Almaguer, “We were down 1-2, the games were really close, and we realized that we were making a lot of mistakes.”

The Highlanders were able to talk it out during the changeovers, “We were playing the wrong way”, said Almaguer, “Then we realized we just need to play smart, get the ball in play and wait for the opportunities, instead of just trying to put a ball away.” Their strategy worked, as they were able to overcome the initial deficit and take the first set.

Jasmine Almaguer cuts the point short with a backhand volley as her partner, Courtney Pattagalan, looks on during their women's doubles victory at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Jasmine Almaguer cuts the point short with a backhand volley as her partner, Courtney Pattagalan, looks on during their women’s doubles victory at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


The second set may have looked easy, but, it was just solid work by the junior, Pattugalan, and the freshman, Almaguer, “After we got a feel for our game and got comfortable, we went on a roll, and it all came together.” Pattugalan/Almaguer won the championship 6-2, 6-1.

Almaguer was grateful to be playing in front of a hometown crowd, “To see this amount of people here in Riverside watching us, I was nervous. I double faulted the first time (serving). It was really cool to see this group of people, it was a good environment!”

For the final match of the day, the fans were treated to an exciting showcase of professional level men’s doubles. The CMS team of Skyler Butts and Neel Kotrappa went up against the number four seeds, UCLA alumni Maxime Tabatruong and Amit Inbar. Butts/Kotrappa had not dropped a set in their run to the final, and since they were both eliminated in the earlier rounds of the singles draw, they were more rested than the singles semifinalists Tabatruong and Inbar, who each had to play two singles and one doubles match the previous day.

Maxime Tabatruong slices at the net as his partner, Amit Inbar, watches from the back court during their championship win at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Mamime Tabatruong slices at the net as his partner, Amit Inbar, watches from the back court during their championship win at the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.


Butts/Kotrappa had the trophy in their sights as they took the first set from the former Bruins. Tabatruong/Inbar would not fold that easily, taking the second set and forcing a third full set in this standard format tournament.

It may have dwindled a little, but it sure was a mighty crowd that witnessed nearly ninety minutes of lighting fast doubles action, with reflexes that would make a club-level player question whether they could even step onto the same court as these young men.

Tabatruong/Inbar stepped it up in the deciding set, taking home the championship trophies and prize money 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. Tabatruong/Inbar were very complimentary to their opponents, and the tournament, in their post match acceptance speeches, with Inbar making a sincere off-court observation, “It’s not about the prize money, it’s about the experience.”

Fore more picture of players in action, please visit the event’s official Facebook page: Facebook.com/AndulkaParkAdultOpen

That concludes my reports from the 2013 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Tennis Championships.

Located in Riverside, California, here is the link where you can find more information about Andulka Park Tennis Center:

AndulkaTennis.com

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

- Marcus Tennis

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2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Open

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Hey Tennis Friends!

Last weekend, one of my local tennis venues had its second annual USTA sanctioned Open event. What follows is my comprehensive press coverage, as well as my video report, from the four day event known as the iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

FROM THE US OPEN, TO RIVERSIDE,
COMPETITION IS STILL TOP LEVEL

RIVERSIDE, CA., (Oct. 25, 2012) – Temperatures in the low 80s defy the fall dates on the calendar for the second annual iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships. The weather is not much different from the temps in New Haven, Connecticut this past August, where Murietta resident Dante Cipulli competed for a spot in the US Open. As part of the National Championships, Cipulli won the Southern California sectionals this past June, before heading to the East Coast, “I had a good feeling that I was going to do well, better than last time.” Cipulli had made it to Nationals once before, but got eliminated in the first round.

This year, after some tough matchplay, he made it all the way to the quarterfinal round, “I didn’t play very well in the quarterfinals, lost 6-4, 6-4, but the experience itself was great!”

Today, he had a much easier time as he won his first round match at the iTennis/Andulka Park Open, in Riverside, by downing San Bernardino’s Alex Ofori 6-2, 6-0. As the number three seeded player at this USTA sanctioned event, he appeared to be in pretty good form, considering he hasn’t played an event since the US Open National Playoffs.

Dante Cipulli skillfully caresses a forehand during his dominating first round at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

Instead, he has been working at the Murietta Tennis Club, as part of a team of instructors, “I’ve been training a lot of competitive juniors, which is what I have a passion for. It’s what I do best.”

When focusing back on the opportunities during this weekend’s local event, he said, “It’s been a very busy summer and I’m excited to play some more tournaments!”

Other top seeds cruised through their first round matches, including:
Riverside’s (2)Alessandro Ventre over Zeke Hindle of Los Angeles, 7-6(5), 6-3;
Defending champion (1)Brain Battistone over Chula Vista’s Adrian Ortiz, 6-1, 60;
and current Men’s 40s USTA National Champion (4)Oren Motevassel over Cathedral City’s Vladimir Branisteanu, 6-4, 6-0.

To accommodate the full draw of 64 for the men’s portion of this tournament, winning players will have to play two matches on Friday, maybe more, if they are also playing doubles. The women’s draw also begins on Friday, featuring a handful of Southern California players competing against players from as far away as Washington State and Canada.

WHEN THE WIND BLOWS,
A COUPLE OF SEEDS WILL FALL

RIVERSIDE, CA., (Oct. 26, 2012) – Breezy, hot, and early is a great way to begin the second day of the iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships. A difficult day for the men’s draw, as two rounds had to be played today, in order to accommodate the large draw for a short schedule. Surviving the Round of 32 were top seeded defending champion (1)Brian Battistone, (2)Alessandro Ventre, and (4)Oren Motevassel. The number three seed, Dante Cipulli of Murietta, was knocked out by the powerful Spaniard, and former San Diego State star, Javier Pulgar, 6-1, 6-1.

The women’s side of the draw began with the Round of 16. Riverside North High School standout Jasmine Almaguer took on the number three seed, Canada’s Hannah Sulz. Hailing from Vancouver Island, BC, where there are scant juniors to compete with, Sulz has spent the summer training and playing Open and ITA collegiate level tournaments in Southern California. After Moreno Valley’s Almaguer dropped the first set, 6-2, she mixed up her game, “She was up 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, then I was able to tie at 4-4.” assessed Sulz, “I think I just got a little tight in the second set and she started getting more balls in, getting into a rhythm.”

Hannah Sulz stretches out for a backhand during her Round of 16 match at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships.

“A lot of people were cheering for her, it was hard” observed Sulz, about the mostly local spectators, “She had a lot of support, but, it was fun for me to play on center court, because I don’t get too many opportunities to play in front of a crowd.”

The wind kicked up in the afternoon, and had a determinate factor on Sulz’s game plan, “It was really windy. I was trying to put a little more top spin on my serve, and groundstrokes, and remind myself not to go for the lines, ’cause with the wind factor, it could just as easily blow the ball off the court!”

In the end, it was Sulz’s consistency that enabled her to close it out, by taking the second set 7-5, “I got it together and reminded myself to keep making balls in.” A recent high school graduate, Sulz, had kind words about Almaguer, who is a senior at North, “I thought that she was a very consistent player, she was really smart. It was a really competitive match. I’m excited, and I’m really happy to be back tomorrow!”

The men’s singles Round of 16 was tough for all of the players, since they each had earlier matches in the day. Alessandro Ventre, a former Riverside resident and previously part of Cal Baptist University’s now defunct tennis program, is the only seeded player who made the Round of 16, that did not make it through to the quarterfinals. He was downed, 6-3, 6-3, by Denny Fafek of Mountain View.

Defending singles champion Brian Battistone won both of his singles rounds in straight sets. Ten minutes after his second round of singles, he waived the required “suitable rest” in favor of moving right along to his doubles match, with partner Trent Aaron.

After a slow first set, Battistone/Aaron took control of the second set, by not giving up any games, over Riversiders Eliot Moreno and Ramon Soto, 7-6(4), 6-0.

The #1 seed and defending champion, Brian Battistone, stretches out his two handled racket to hit a winner during the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

Immediately following that match, Battistone/Aaron waived their rest option, and went right into their quarterfinal doubles match against Bo Hardt and Ryan Stanbury, from Santa Monica and Los Angeles, respectively. Hardt/Stanbury took the first set 6-2, while Battistone/Aaron turned the tables by taking the second 6-2. The format called for a 10-point tiebreak, in lieu of a third set, and Battistone/Aaron battled through to win 10-7.

After two singles, and two doubles matches in one day, the number one seed in singles and doubles, Battistone, said, “I felt fine, all day, as long as I was hydrating and snacking on food bars. I feel like it’s better for me to continue playing, as opposed to cooling down and having to warm up again.” On his return to this Riverside tournament, “I love it here. This is such a fantastic facility, so many nice people. I’m really happy to be back!’

Since his last match ended at 7:30pm, that leaves a quick night’s rest before his Saturday morning singles quarterfinal against the number seven seed, Tyler Pham, of San Diego.

The tournament continues though the weekend, with singles and doubles matches beginning at 9:00am Saturday, and finals beginning at 9:30am on Sunday. Free entry and free parking make this a must see event for all tennis fans!

FEW SURPRISES
IN THIS OCTOBER EVENT

RIVERSIDE, CA., (Oct. 27, 2012) – The weather could not have been more perfect for the the third day of the iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Tennis Championships. Under the 80º temps and a slight breeze, the men’s quarterfinals began at 9am with a rematch from last year’s Round of 16. The number seven seed, Tyler Pham, took on the number one seed, and defending singles champion, Brian Battistone. Despite Battistone’s eight-plus hours on the courts yesterday, he made easy work of the Rancho Bernardo High School grad by moving into the semifinal 6-1, 6-4.

In other men’s quarterfinal action, former Top 200 ATP player (4)Oren Motevassel defeated UCLA senior (7)Alex Brigham, 7-6(5), 6-2, as unseeded Denny Fafek of Mountain View, took out the number six seed, Russian Georgy Chukhleb, 6-3, 6-4.

The longest match of the morning was a three hour show-stopper battle between Mitchell Maroscher and Javier Pulgar. Maroscher, the number eight seed, came out to the Inland Empire on vacation from Ohio. Visiting relatives coincided with the event, so, he got a chance to get some West Coast competition in. Down 4-1 in the first set, Maroscher was able to turn it around and pull out a tiebreak win in that set. Pulgar, who played four matches the previous day, recovered in the final two sets, to advance to the semifinals 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2.

In women’s quarterfinal action, the four top seeds, in the relatively small draw, made it through. (4)Zsuzanna Fodor d. Ashley Anderson, 6-3, 6-2, (3)Hannah Sulz d. Lea Winkler, 6-2, 6-4, (2)Elisaveta Pironkova d. Lindsay Puder, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, and (1)Kaitlyn Christian d. Tara Simpson, 6-1, 6-2.

Here is my video report featuring highlights and interviews from Saturday’s event:

In the afternoon women’s singles semifinals, Zsuzanna Fodor made quick work of the number two seeded Elisaveta Pironkova, 6-0, 6-2.

The other half of the women’s draw was more of a struggle. Canadian Hannah Sulz only gave up two games to USC tennis team’s Kaitlyn Christian, in the first set. The second set was a reversal of fortune, as Christian blanked Sulz, forcing a full third set.

The #1 seed, Kaitlyn Christian, flexes her fitness during her semifinal match at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

“I was able to turn it around with a lot of positive energy and getting a couple more balls back.” reflected Christian, who only gave up two games in the third. Moving into the finals with a 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 win, and playing nearly back-to-back matches may be too much for some players, “I’m used to it from the juniors, and college tennis gets us ready for this,” said Christian, “It’s a lot of fun, I enjoy every second of it!”

Regarding tomorrow’s final, Christian surmised, “I’ll try to go to bed early tonight, . . . I’m just excited to get one more match in!” Early would be a good idea, as the women’s final has been moved up to 8:30am, Sunday, to accommodate the player’s schedule.

The bottom half of the men’s semifinals had an unfortunate result. After Denny Fafek took the first set, 6-4, Javier Pulgar retired from the match. Much like some of the other players, Pulgar had multiple matches on multiple days, but, his previous two singles matches went to full three sets.

The top half of the men’s semifinals pitted Oren Motevassel against Brian Battistone. A contentious match of breaks of serve and break-backs, Battistone was able to keep Motevassel at bay, despite his unconventional style, “He’s a little bit unorthodox compared to the players that play these days, and he’s really quick” said Battistone, after he advanced into the final, 6-4, 6-3.

#3 seeded Oren Motevassel keeps his eyes on the ball during the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

“I’ve had some battles with Oren in the past. He’s such a crafty, tough guy to play. I have a lot of respect for his game.” Making the final round two years in a row gives Battistone a good feeling, “I grew up not too far from here, in Palm Desert. I still spend a lot of time in Southern California, so, it’s a good opportunity for me to come out and try to get a little streak going.”

The tournament finishes up tomorrow, Sunday, with final matches beginning at 8:30am for the women’s singles final, 11:00am for the men’s singles final, with women’s and men’s doubles finals following.

NO LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON
WHEN THERE’S A CHAMPIONSHIP ON THE LINE

RIVERSIDE, CA., (Oct. 28, 2012) – The early start to the women’s championship in no way appeared to be as easy as a Sunday drive. The number four seed, Zsuzanna Fodor, and the number one seed, Kaitlyn Christian, came out firing like it was 1977!

Slice forehands, slice backhands, lobs, and drop shots made this final so much more exciting than just two baseliners going at it. It wasn’t that USC’s Christian failed to put away her first two set points, Fodor, a six-time Hungarian national champion, just kept battling back with her shot variety. Christian finally found her way, taking the first set 6-4.

After Fodor won her first service game of the second set, she broke Christian in the next, going up 2-0. Breaks of serves and extended action points would be the deciding factor in Fodor’s 6-1 second set domination.

Because of time constraints, the third set was a ten point tiebreaker, which went down to the wire as Zsuzanna Fodor bested Kaitlyn Christian to win the 2012 championship 4-6, 6-1, [10-7].

Zsuzanna Fodor comes in for an extreme backhand slice during her championship winning match at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

In her post match speech addressing the crowd, the runner-up, Christian, noted, “We have similar game styles, and that’s to yank people out on the court with drop shots and slices, so, it’s fun to play somebody who has a similar style, you don’t get that too often.”

Asked how she felt after her tough win, Fodor only had one word, “Tired!” After a chuckle from the crowd, she continued, “That was a great tournament! This is a beautiful venue!”

The men’s singles championship did not disappoint, either. It was more of a Sunday afternoon football game, than anything else. Unseeded Denny Fafek started out slow against the number one seed, Brian Battistone, by only taking three games away in the first set.

Denny Fafek crushes a forehand during the championship match at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

But, in true, exciting sports action, he changed it up in the second set, was able to keep on par with the defending champion. Utilizing powerful aces, Fafek was able to make a comeback, and bring the second set into his court, by winning it in a tiebreak, 7-2.
The third, and final set began with a few early breaks of serve on both sides of the net. The former Palm Desert resident, Battistone, was able regain control of the match and win the singles championship for a second year in a row. Final score after two and a half hours: 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3.

After eight matches in four days, Fafek declared, “Definitely the toughest match out of all of ‘em. I give huge credit to Brian. He’s a great competitor!”

Defending singles champ Brian Battistone creates his own style of play with his two-handled racket during his repeat championship victory at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

Battistone returned the compliment, “Honestly, I felt like I got lucky today. Denny’s just such a good player, such a great talent.” On his repeat win of this championship, “It’s a thrill to be back here. Not just because of the result, but, because of all of the great people I met.” Battistone nearly didn’t make it to this tournament, because of other commitments, but was thankful that he was able to fit it in, “It’s so fun to come back. It was a blast!”

Fafek then left the venue, only to return later in the men’s doubles championship match.

The action didn’t let up, as the women’s doubles championship followed immediately. Ashley Anderson and Elisaveta Pironkova took on Bettina Radke and Hannah Sulz. Both Sulz, and Pironkova, had made it to the semis of the singles the day before.

Very aggressive play by both teams, kept the crowds attention as Radke/Sulz took the first set, 6-4.

The second set was equally close, however, Anderson/Pironkova figured out their edge, and won, 7-5.

Bettina Radke serves as Hannah Sulz is poised at the net during their doubles championship victory at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.

By the way, if the last name “Pironkova” sounds familiar to tennis fans, . . . yes, she is the younger sister of Bulgarian Fed Cup and Olympic team member, and WTA player Tsvetana Pironkova.

After saving one match point in the deciding third set, Anderson/Pironkova fell to Radke/Sulz. After two hours and fifteen minutes, the extremely competitive match was over, and Radke/Sulz were the champions with a final score of 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

The final match of the day, and the tournament, was the men’s doubles championship round. Singles finalist Denny Fafek, and his partner, UC Riverside’s Jimmy Roberts, took on the freshmen from Claremont McKenna College, Skyler Butts and Lestter Yeh.

Jimmy Roberts is at the ready as Denny Fafek serves out the set in their doubles championship victory at the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Open Championships.


The freshmen kept up with their opponents for most of the first set, only to lose by one break, 4-6.

The second set began with equal fervor, but, in the end, Butts/Yeh were not up to the task. Fafek/Roberts had practiced together all summer, and their teamwork and efforts were just enough to pull away when they needed to. Fafek/Roberts became the men’s doubles champions, besting the youngsters 6-4, 6-2.

That concludes my reports from the 2012 iTennis/Andulka Park Adult Tennis Championships.

Located in Riverside, California, here is the link where you can find more information about Andulka Park Tennis Center:

AndulkaTennis.com

High Definition slow motion footage provided by Karl Rosenstock.

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I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

- Marcus Tennis

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2012 USTA Pro Circuit – Costa Mesa, CA

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Hey Tennis Friends!

The USTA Pro Circuit has a new stop in Costa Mesa, California. I went down to check out this Futures event, and filed this report:

The results for the matches that I featured are:

Tennys Sandgren d. Chris Wettengel 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3)

Bjorn Fratangelo d. Alessandro-Damiano Ventre 6-2, 6-4

Nicolas Meister / John Peers
d. Tennys Sandgren / Di Wu 7-5, 6-1

Vahid Mirzadeh / Phillip Simmonds
d. Brian Battistone / Chris Wettengel 2-6, 6-3, [10-8]

The matches begin at 10:00AM, today, Saturday, March 24, so, if you are in the area, you can watch these matches!

Costa Mesa Tennis Center
880 Junipero Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-0211

Be sure to share GroundsPass.net with your other Tennis Friends using the social networking buttons, below.

Subscribe for FREE to this site, my Twitter feed, and/or friend me on FaceBook.

I’ll see you next time, with more tennis, . . . outside the lines!

- Marcus Tennis

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