Beach Tennis USA, along with Long Island Tennis Magazine, kicked off the summer beach tennis season on the weekend of June 4-5 with its first of five Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge Tournaments. The challenge included all levels of beach tennis play, from amateur to professional, and for the first time, men’s singles in addition to all the doubles play. Great weather brought a big turnout which made for a great weekend at the new beach tennis location in front of the Allegria Hotel on National Boulevard in Long Beach, N.Y.
In the Men’s Professional Doubles draw, two of the top three seeds were upset in the quarterfinals, setting up an unexpected semifinal match between beach tennis newcomers Anthony De Ingeniis & Geoffrey Daniel and beach tennis veterans Bob Considine & Yan Lavrovsky. While De Ingeniis & Daniel were teaming up for the first time, the duo showed great teamwork all day, but Considine & Lavrovsky were too much for the newcomers in the semis, as they won in straight sets. In the finals, the top seeds Whitney Kraft & Devin Wakeford awaited the team of Considine & Lavrovsky. Kraft & Wakeford showed no rust from the offseason and won the first title of the year convincingly in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1. The title was the fifth consecutive Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge win for the team of Kraft & Wakeford dating back to last year’s tournaments.
In the first Beach Tennis USA Pro Singles Tournament held in New York, form held through the early rounds, as the top seed Stephen Sayoc and the second seed David “The Iceman” Sickmen went undefeated through pool play. In the semis, Sayoc and Sickmen won in straight sets, setting them up to face off in the finals. Both sides competed at a high level, but Sayoc who came down from Buffalo, N.Y. to compete in the event, would pull out the win in straight sets to take the first ever singles title in NY. Sayoc also won the first U.S. singles title in Miami in March.
In the Women’s Pro Doubles Division, Ashley Hornishny & Lisa Goldberg advanced to the final over two beach tennis newcomers, college tennis players Monica Gorny from Duke University & Melissa Coughlin from SUNY Albany in three sets. Waiting for them in the finals was the top seeds and tournament favorites, Nadia Johnston & Nicole Melch. Melch & Johnston took care of business quickly, defeating Hornishny & Goldberg in the finals, 6-1, 6-0, to capture their fifth straight Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge Championship.
The Amateur Doubles Division saw Gary Spitz & Robert Sokoloff take the title, as they defeated the team of Monica Gorny & Dr. Myles in straight sets. Spitz & Sokoloff will now look to step up in class and challenge the big boys while playing in the Pro Division at the next tournament.
In the Amateur Singles Division, Jimmy Lorenzo defeated Tyler Hoffman in straight sets. In the Mixed-Doubles Division finals, Anthony De Ingeniis & Barbara “Babs” Drozdzik took on Yan Lavrovsky & Katya Chirkina. Lavrovsky & Chirkina quickly took the first set 6-0, but were not able to keep the momentum and fell to the team of De Ingeniis & Drozdzik, 0-6, 7-5, 7-5.
The weekend saw not only heated competition, but many new faces came down to Long beach to rent paddles and give the sport a try. The next Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenges will be held the weekends of July 16-17, Aug. 6-7 and Sept. 17-18 at the Allegria Hotel on National Boulevard in Long Beach, N.Y. The international tournament will be held the weekend of Aug. 19-21, also in Long Beach, N.Y., and will feature competitors from around the world.