| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

Ramazan Nureev (left) and Milo Hauk (right) captured the Men's Pro title at the Long Island Tennis Challenge on Saturday afternoon. 

The 2017 Long Island Tennis Magazine Summer Series got underway on Saturday afternoon as the first installment of this year’s Long Island Tennis Challenge took place at Engineers Country Club in Roslyn.

The event once again brought together some of the top tennis players in our area for a day of competitive tennis with a social atmosphere on a crisp, cool afternoon.

The men’s amateur division saw a number of familiar faces which made for competitive and heated round-robin play. When it was all said and done, the duo of Chris Colesanti and R.J. Narciso took on Jonathan Klee and Lionel Goldberg in the one-set final.

“They are a tough team to play, especially on clay, with the way they are able to create angles,” said Narciso. “So we knew it was going to be a tough match.

R.J. Narciso (left) and Chris Colesanti (right) won the Men's Amateur championship in a tightly contested final tiebreaker.

The three-time champion pair of Klee and Goldberg opened up a 3-0 lead after the early break, but Colesanti, a former champion of this tournament himself, and Narciso were able to fight back and bring the set back on serve.

At 5-6, Narciso notched a big hold of serve to tie the score and force the championship into a deciding tiebreak.

The biggest point in the breaker would come with Colesanti and Narciso leading 4-3, when a Colesanti backhand volley spun and landed on the line and out of the reach of Goldberg or Klee.

A few points later, Colesanti and Narciso closed things out to win the title.

“I think it was mental toughness,” Colesanti said of what pushed them through in the end. “We had a lot of times where we blew some easy shots, especially myself. But we kept fighting through, never gave up and stayed positive.”

The two have been playing together since around 2009, and that chemistry is one of the key factors in their victory.

“We complement each other really well,” said Colesanti. “He has a good return, a huge forehand, and I have good net play and a good overhead. We are very familiar with each other and know one another’s games.”

It was a family affair for Narciso, who soon after his win watched his sister Joyce capture the Women’s Amateur championship with Kerri Weingard. The pair defeated Jackie Gaines and April Mongelli 7-5 in a tightly-contested final.

“It was a really great match,” said Weingard. “It kept going back and forth, we were able to squeak it out in the end.”

The pair had a chance to serve for the final with a 5-4 lead, but Gaines and Mongelli were able to break Weingard’s serve thanks to a wonderful volley by Mongelli to knot things at 5-5.

Joyce Narcisio hits a backhand during her and Kerri Weingard's Women's Amateur division title match. 

But Narciso and Weingard broke right back, however, to jump ahead 6-5, and Narciso served out the match in the ensuing game.

“We have a lot of fun playing together and I think that helps us stay focused on court,” said Narciso. “That’s probably our best asset.”

“The tournament was amazing,” added Weingard. “The level was very high all day and everyone here was nice.”

In the afternoon, the Men’s Pro division took to the courts with local college players from St. John’s, St. Bonaventure, Adelphi, Hofstra, Fordham and Sacred Heart and more which made for an intense and highly competitive round-robin draw.

Former champions Dimitar Pamukchiyan and Cory Seltman advanced past round-robin play and past Roey Heymann and Mikey Nelson to meet Ramazan Nureev and Milo Hauk in the final.

Nureev and Hauk edged Josh Lefkowitz and Fabian Carchi in their semifinal match.

The match began with a service game from Hauk which ended on a volley winner from Nureev to give the duo the early 1-0 lead. The two carried that momentum into the next game as they were able to break Pamukchiyan in the next game, and Nureev held serve to consolidate that break and build a 3-0 advantage.

From there, Seltman and Pamukchiyan were forced to play catch up and were unable to get the break they needed. The net play from Hauk and Nureev allowed them to win the match’s key points in the biggest moments, and the pair continued to serve well to come out on top with a 6-1 victory.

Ramadan Nureev gears up for a forehand during the semifinals of the Long Island Tennis Challenge. 

“We served well, returned well and volleyed well,” said Hauk. “When we got the early break we were able to keep it relaxed and it worked out.”

We'd like to thank our sponsors USTA, USTA Eastern, Sportime, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, South Shore Auto Sales, 30fifteen, inPhorm, Connecticut Open, New York Empire and PGA Tour Superstore. 

CLICK HERE to see more photos from 2017's first Long Island Tennis Challenge.