While the ATP and WTA were hosting the Sony Ericsson Open this week, Beach Tennis USA (BTUSA), along with the ITF, hosted a tournament on the grounds of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami to showcase the sport to all the fans in attendance. Some of the best players in the world came out to Key Biscayne and here is a recap ...
The first day of the Key Biscayne event started out in exciting fashion with the first ever singles event held in the United States being played. Even with many of the pro competitors choosing to preserve their energy for the doubles event (the big money tournament), 20 competitors signed up to give Beach Tennis singles a try.
We saw some great singles matches that day and witnessed beach tennis grow. In other parts of the world, singles events have been common routine of most beach tennis tournaments, and now finally the U.S. is following that trend. Two American competitors (and doubles partners in the main draw) advanced to the finals of the men's tournament. Stephan Sayoc from Buffalo, N.Y. and Marty Solokas from California entertained with quick and exciting ball exchanges. In a very even match, Sayoc ended up having a slight edge on his doubles partner Solokas, taking home the trophy with an 8-6 win.
Saturday was the busiest day of the tournament, as the match schedule was packed to the limit, with 25 men’s and 12 women’s teams (74 pro competitors) singed up for the professional draw. Competitors from South America, the United States, Aruba, St. Martin, Italy, Czeck Republic, Holland and other international destinations gathered on the beach of Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, right across from the Sony Ericsson Open to battle for the trophy and prize money.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams were divided into groups for a round-robin pool play on Saturday, which meant at least five matches for each player that day. Not an easy task in the hot weather of Florida and moving in the sand.
On the men’s side, three American teams (Marty Solokas & Stephen Sayoc, Mike Edison & Brett Johnston, and
Dan Johnson & Brian Johnson) managed to make it through the tough competition to the round of 16 single elimination draw, which was held the following day.
The world’s number one ranked team of Alex Mingozzi/Mateo Marighella from Italy, as well as the number two seeds, Mazzarone & Folegatti also of Italy, cruised through the first day.
In the women’s tournament, both top-seeded teams of Joanna Cortez & Samantha Barijan from Brazil and
Nadia Johnston & Nicole Melch representing the U.S. ended up advancing as the top teams out of their pool play.
The final day of this wonderful and exciting event started and now it was single elimination. The American teams did not fare too well on Sunday though against the top duos from around the world. Johnson & Johnson were defeated 9-0 by Mazzarone & Folegatti of Italy, Johnston & Edison defeated 9-1 by Guadgin & Mueri of Italy and Solokas & Sayoc defeated 9-2 by Strano & Font (ITA/BRA).
The semifinals and finals were shifted from Crandon Park to the center court on the Sony Americans Ericsson site to be showcased. On the women's side Cortez & Barijan (BRA) defeated Marilou & Claudia (BRA) 9-2 and Johnston & Melch knocked out Labrit & Carien (St. Marteen) 9-5 in two very good semifinal matches.
Running very short on daylight, the women’s finals went out on the court later than expected, cutting them short on time. The top seeded Brazilians came out of the box really sharp, winning the first set easily 6-0, only to find themselves in a very even match in the second set. Johston & Melch started to play up to their potential, taking the second set 6-4. Due to the lack of daylight, the third set was not to played out, but decided in a 10 point tie-breaker, having the Brazilians come out on top of team USA 10-4.
On the men's side in an all-Italian battle in the finals, World Champions Alex Mingozzi & Mateo Marighella (ITA) showed no mercy on their countrymen Dicori & Tronci, defeating them in two straight sets 6-2, 6-3. The match was played at the highest of levels and all those watching were in awe of this growing sport.
Long Island Tennis Magazine and BTUSA will be joining forces for atleast 6 tournaments this summer in Long Beach, N.Y., including the Nationals from Aug. 18-21. Other tournaments are expected along other beaches of Long Island as well. Keep a lookout for tournament schedules, league play, open court time, and all information in Long Island Tennis Magazine.
Whether you are a pro, amateur or a junior, we hope to see you all down in Long Beach on the beach with us ... summer is right around the corner!