Week #2 of the SWFL Pro League sponsored by Summit Broadband and Ritzman Tennis Courts will feature the top two teams in the standings, Blagojevic Group & Harborside Dental (BG/HD- 10 points) and ProGraphx (PG- 7 points) going head-to-head. Both teams emerged victorious at both the 4pm and 5:30pm sessions during Event #1 at Palmira Golf & Country Club. The third and fourth-place teams, Raymond James and Welch Tennis (RJ/WT- 4.5 points) and Dina Marie Realty & Cedar Brook Financial (DMR/CBF- 3 points), respectively, will battle to gain ground on the leaders. One of the very cool things about the SWFL Pro league is that we often have special guests make cameo appearances. This Friday at Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club, starting at 4pm, we have a couple of favorites that will be making cameo appearances.
BG/HD vs. PG
Former Court 1 all-star Scotty Harrington (sub) will team with his old doubles partner, Mike Curran on Court 1 for BG/HD against Sergio Rebolledo and Nick Maurillo (sub) PG. It’s the second week in a row that Mike will have his hands full with one of his former students, after stumbling against Mike Wardell last time out. Curran and Harrington were once one of the top doubles team on the USPTA circuit, but that was before Mike had facial hair with gray in it. I wouldn’t count the uh experienced duo out though, because both Curran and Harrington can still ball, and experience has to count for something, right? Yet, Sergio is on top of his game these days, and Maurillo is a former standout at Auburn, who has yet to reach his 30th birthday. Being a senior myself, I’m feeling for the old guys.
Some of the more competitive matches in the SWFL Pro League this season will be played on Court 2. Sam Desimone and Corey Knapp of BG/HD were involved in one of the best battles of Event #1 against Frank Fourgeau and Luke Andreae, finally prevailing 10-6 in the match-tiebreak, after the dropping the first set 4-6, and taking the second 7-5. Sam and Corey will have another tester this week against Joel Hampton and Paul Segodo of PG. Joel lost his final set in a tiebreak playing with Elliot DeBolt last session, and will be looking to go scoreboard against Sam and Corey. I suspect that’s going to be a tough task, but who ever said Pro League was supposed to be easy. Corey and Joel both bring exceptional kick serves to the contest along with their all-around skills, and Paul can bring the heat on serve and his forehand. I don’t know Sam’s game, but given that he and Corey took out Frank and Luke, it has to be good. Should be a fun contest to watch.
Talk about fun contests to watch, PG’s Jeff Diggs and Tom Fisher (sub) will take on the most experienced duo in the SWFL Pro League this Friday. Mike Barnes and Larry Gagnon bring more than a few doubles titles and at least a century’s worth of competitive tennis to the court for BG/HD in this matchup. Diggs and Fisher will bring their relative youth and athleticism to bear against Gagnon’s renowned wizardry at net, and Barnes’ all court prowess. As far as Court 3 matchups go, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Mike Lawver and Pat Glaunert will be trying to post another two points for BG/HD after their thrilling match-tiebreak win over Matt Maloney and Christian Karlovits in Week 1. This week they will face Jim “Katman” Katterfield and Rick Calton, who dropped their first contest against Charles Nelson and yours truly last time out. Katman and Rick had Charles and me on the ropes in the first set before dropping it in a tiebreak, and should being the same competitiveness to the table against Mike and Pat, who have already proven their competitive metal. More tiebreaks are probably in the offing in this even matchup.
Mixed Court 1
Dominique Levin and Jeff Timmer of PG will be looking to continue their winning ways after taking their first contest in straight sets at Palmira. BG/HD’s Captain Christie Pollin and Rob Vinal were the only duo across the entire League in Week 1 to post a 6-0 set, but will be challenged to repeat that performance against a team that will be hard-pressed to come up short all season. If any team can give Levin and Timmer a run for their money, it will be Pollin and Vinal. Both are athletic and ultra competitive, so this should be one of the highlights of the early session.
Mixed Court 2
There’s not much drop off in talent for PG at the second mixed doubles slot, as Kerry Kendrick and Dave Dekeersmaker bring plenty of heat to the court in their own right. They will match up against Carolyn Lawver and Dan Moening of BG/HD, who posted a nice win against Christie Bradley (sub) and Commissioner John Ramsey in Week 1. Kerry and Dave posted a straight-set win over Angie Guillette and Armor Persons in their first match, and will join their mixed teammates in the quest to remain undefeated.
RJ/WT vs. DMR/CBF
Jonas Kushner (sub) will be another special guest making a Court 1, cameo appearance. He will be teaming with Paulo Barros for RJ/WT, against DMR/CBF’s Manny Encalada and Jean Luis Perez (sub). Once again, experience will be challenged by the reflexes of youth. Perez is just closing in on his 20th birthday, Manny is barely north of 30, and both can ball. I haven’t followed pro league stats in a while, but when I did, Manny was the
only player to have posted an undefeated season a few years ago with Tyler Owens. I imagine Jonas has quite a bit more practice IN court than ON the court, as his other identity, Jonas Kushner, Esq. has most of his attention these days. However, having been pummeled by Jonas on the court, and knowing that Paulo is an ITF nationally ranked player, I’m not willing to count out the not-quite-senior citizens on Court 1 for my team.
RJ/WT Captain Shawn Hedrick will be making his debut this season, and Robbie Greenlaw (sub) one of the Cape Coral’s talented juniors who was a high school Player of the Year Finalist in 2014 will join him on Court 2. Shawn and Robbie will have their hands full with former League Commissioner Frank Fourgeau and the lethal and legendary forehand of Luke Andreae, who will be playing for DMR/CBF. Frank and Luke will be looking to post a victory after coming off last session’s tough match-tiebreak loss. Spoiling Shawn’s debut wouldn’t bother them one bit either.
John Jerome and Oliver Stenger of DMR/CBF will also be seeking to put points up on the board for their team after taking a tough tumble last session against the super-senior stalwarts Mike Barnes and Larry Gagnon 4-6, 5-7. Across the net for RJ/WT, however, will be the racquets of Todd Wise, one of the more experienced and knowledgeable players in the League, and youthful Jimmy Martineau, the player who retired me from night-time tennis. After a close match-tiebreak loss with a sub last session, I know that Todd has no intentions of going 0-2 on the season either. Jimmy will be looking to go 2-0 to follow up a close victory on Court 2 last week against Joel Hampton and Elliott Debolt.
Matt Maloney and Paul D’Amico of DMR/CBF both bring challenging serves to the court against Charles Nelson, Jr. and T. A. Niles of RJ/WT. It will be the battle of the forehands with Charles and Matt bringing wicked weapons to the court on that wing. I’ll be the wily vet looming at the net, trying to take advantage of the opportunities Charles’ forehand should create (if it doesn’t win the point outright like it did most times last session). Both Matt and Paul will be hungry for a win, after Matt’s heartbreaking loss to Mike Lawver and Pat Glaunert, 8-10 in the match-tiebreak, and Paul’s mixed doubles loss. Three of the four players involved played tiebreaks last session, and it would be no surprise to see this one go to a match-tiebreak as well.
Mixed Court 1
My teammates Renee Deane and Alex Hermeto will be seeking some redemption on Mixed Court 1 after going down in straight sets to the dynamic duo of Dominique Levin and Jeff Timmer. It won’t get much easier, as they will face DMR/CBF’s top team of Kimberly Jones and Christian Karlovits. Last session my teammates had to face a player who went undefeated in international play this past summer (Dominique), and this week they have to go up against a former WTA player who won matches at all four Grand Slams! Where’s the love? Fortunately for our team, Renee and Alex don’t really care about credentials, and they’ll be out there battling regardless.
Mixed Court 2
On Mixed Court 2, there is real potential for a match tiebreak as none of the talented individuals playing in this match will want to go 0-2, and the matchup has to be considered relatively even. DMR/CBF Captain Erica Cossairt and League Commissioner John Ramsey will take on the hard-hitting Angie Guillette and the venerable Armor Persons of RJ/WT. Will Angie and Armor be able to handle Big John’s heavy top on the forehand? Will Armor’s serve-volley game carry the day? Angie’s big forehand and Erica’s quickness around the court could both prove troublesome for the other side. It all adds up to another terrific Pro League match.
You will probably see this elsewhere in days to come, but the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge will be back at Bonita Bay on Saturday, November 12 at 2pm. You can find more details on Facebook or at the event website. Meanwhile, see you at Gulf Harbour for SWFL Pro League on Friday.