The final leg of the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge was the most successful of all, as the tournament, the magazine and the sport of beach tennis continues to grow. Thirty pro beach tennis teams, between the men’s and women’s draws, competed on Saturday, Aug. 7 and another 20 amateur teams competed on Sunday, Aug. 8.
Juniors and those trying out the sport for the first time were drawn in by all the fun being had by the tournament players, and they came down the Long Beach and played for fun. With the sun out, the ocean a few steps away, food, drinks and 60 players a day, everyone who came out had a great time.
On Saturday, the pros were out and ready to compete. The men’s pro tournament saw the top-seeded team of Whitney “The Sandman” Kraft & Devin Wakeford looking to remain undefeated by winning their third tournament of the summer together. But the competition was not going to make that an easy task for the team of Kraft & Wakeford. After very tough pool play competition, the level of play got even higher in the semifinals. Kraft & Wakeford took on the third-seeded team of Bob Considine & Marc Altheim and were victorious, 6-2, 6-3.
The other semifinal match was a down-to-the-wire battle, as the number two seed, Team Top Gun of David “The Iceman” Sickmen & Jared “Maverick” Rada survived an upset scare and defeated sixth-seeded Gerry Ashley & Elliot Rosenbloom, 6-4, 4-6 7-6(7-2) in a match that took over a hour.
The crowd then gathered on center court for the finals to see if the defending champs could get knocked off. Early on, things were status quo, as Kraft & Wakeford rolled to a 6-1 win in the first set. Team Top Gun was not going down without a fight though, as Sickmen & Rada came back to win the second set, 7-5 on an overhead smash by The Iceman in which the scream that accompanied it was heard across the beach. The momentum couldn't be sustained though, as in the deciding set, Kraft & Wakeford pulled it out 6-3 giving them the title.
In women’s pro play, you have the team of Nadia Johnston & Nicole Melch, and there is the rest of the field. Johnston & Melch remained undefeated this summer, by sweeping the Challenges. In the semifinals, Johnston & Melch defeated the team of Lisa Templefelde & Anastasiya Shevchenko in straight sets, while Ashley Hornishny & Lisa Goldberg defeated Jami Ashley & Jennifer Petersen in straight sets as well. In the finals, it was more domination from Johnston & Melch as they defeated Hornishny & Goldberg easily, 6-0, 6-1.
On Sunday, there was advanced amateur play, as some of the pros returned to join up with the amateurs. Pool play saw some great battles, and in the end, four teams advanced to the semifinals.
In one semifinal match, the top-seeded team of David “The Iceman” Sickmen & Anthony “Stretch” Pastecchi defeated the team of Marc Altheim & Mitch Druckner, 6-3, 7-5. In the other semifinal, Rob Feinerman & David Mate defeated Anthony Chan & Jimmy Lorenzo, 6-2, 6-2. In the finals, it was The Iceman & Stretch coming out on top with a 6-3, 6-3 straight-set victory over Feinerman & Mate. The duo of Iceman & Stretch didn't drop a set in the amateur tournament.
On the junior side, the finals saw Keiran Patton & Michael Costelloa defeat the team of Brendan & Shane Pues, 6-2.
The next beach tennis tournament in New York will be the Nationals, which will take place over Labor Day Weekend in Long Beach, N.Y. The National Tournament is a huge event, with a large draw and $10,000 in prize money, along with major ITF World Ranking Points. There will be events on both Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, with top teams coming into New York from a number of foreign nations, including Italy, Holland, Aruba and the Czech Republic, highlighted by the top beach tennis-ranked team in the world, Alex Mingozzi & Matteo Marighella from Italy. This is a weekend in Long Beach you will not want to miss, either as a player or as a fan.
For more information, visit www.beachtennisusa.net.
Scenes From the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge
August 7-8 in Long Beach, N.Y.
The team of Nicole Melch & Nadia Johnston en route to winning the women’s beach tennis pro tournament
The team of Whitney “The Sandman” Kraft & Devin Wakeford, eventual men’s pro winners, in their finals match of the fourth leg of the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge
Team Top Gun, Jared “Maverick” Rada & David “The Iceman” Sickmen, finalists in the fourth leg of the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge
Barbara Drozdzik and her partner in beach tennis action at Long Beach
The team of Jay Wass & Darrin Cohen enjoying some beach tennis action
Lisa Templefelde & Anastasiya Shevchenko, finalists on the women’s side of the bracket
Jimmy Lorenzo & Anthony “Stretch” Pastecchi getting a taste of beach tennis action in Long Beach, N.Y.
Elliot Rosenbloom & Gerry Ashley in semifinals play in the men’s pro bracket
Jennifer Peterson gets ready to serve
The beach tennis courts in Long Beach, N.Y. were busy during the fourth leg of the Long island tennis Magazine Challenge
The team of Daniel Kresh & Dan Harris take part in some beach tennis action
Bob Considine & Marc Altheim play on the men's pro bracket in the semifinals
Beach tennis action, live in Long Beach!