The third and final Long Island Tennis Challenge of 2017 hit the clay courts of Engineers Country Club in Roslyn on Saturday afternoon as players in three different divisions competed for titles.
The day began with a free clinic provided by pros from Sportime Roslyn to allow the players to get warmed up before the competition started.
In the Women’s Amateur Draw, former champion Jerilyn Jud and her daughter, Christina, defeated Corinne Moschetti and Jennifer Leggio in the first semifinal, setting up a finals matchup against Simone Cranes and Alison Sands, who had defeated Jackie Gaines and April Mongelli in the other semifinal.
The Jud duo looked to jump ahead early in the final and did so by breaking Cranes’ serve in the opening game. After Jerilyn Jud held serve, the pair broke Sands’ serve to take the commanding 3-0 lead, and bumped it to 4-0 after a hold by Christina.
Jerilyn Jud hits a backhand during her and Christina Jud's win during the Women's Amateur Final.
The next two games would results in holds of serve, and some good net play by the Jud’s in the seventh game set up match points for the pair, and they converted on their first try to win the title 6-1.
“Christina has an all-around game. She’s extremely steady from the baseline and was able to set me up at the net, and then when I was back I was able to set her up at the net,” said Jerilyn. “It was just a combination of working together.”
The mother-daughter combo had not played much doubles together prior to the tournament, but were able to figure out each other game’s as the matches went on, resulting in their solid play in the semifinals and finals.
“We never really played together, but we figured it out,” added Jerilyn. “Once we settled in it was a lot of fun.”
Lionel Goldberg entered this installment of the tournament looking to defend his title and win it for a fifth time overall, but would have to do it with a new partner, Todd Selter, as Goldberg’s usual teammate, Jonathan Klee, was out of town for the tournament.
After a dominant run in pool-play, Goldberg and Selter entered the final four as the favorite to win it, but got off to a slow start in the semifinals against Bart Kaplan and Harlan Levine.
Despite the slow start, Goldberg and Selter forced the match into a tiebreaker, and played their best tennis of the match in the breaker, winning seven of the nine points to advance to the finals.
Lionel Goldberg hits an overhead during the Men's Amateur Final.
“We spent a long time waiting for that match and started slow because of it,” said Goldberg. “But we came into ourselves a little bit. We took it point by point instead of getting overwhelmed. We just stayed with it.”
The two carried that momentum into the finals against Chuck Silverstein and Ed Kornstein, who had ousted Michael Mueller and Dennis Reisman in the other semifinal. Goldberg and Selter came out firing, breaking Kornstein and Silverstein in each of their first service games and notching holds to open up a 4-0 lead.
But Kornstein and Silverstein did not go quietly, breaking Goldberg and Selter both en route to winning three straight games to cut the deficit to 3-4. Goldberg and Selter halted the momentum by breaking Silverstein’s serve in the ensuing game, and Goldberg proceeded to hold serve in the ninth game to close the match out and win his record fifth Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge title.
“You just have to bear down and look forward instead of behind you, and realize that even though you had an early lead, we know how it is, how quickly things can change in these matches,” added Selter. “We just didn’t want to beat ourselves. Keep the ball in the court and try to break down their weaknesses.”
Todd Selter and Lionel Goldberg talk to the media after winning the Men's Amateur Division title.
The final draw of the day brought together some high-level doubles players which included current ATP Tour players as well as former and current college standouts, making for a thrilling afternoon of tennis.
Miguel Reyes-Varela, who is currently ranked #351 in the world in doubles, partnered with Vasili Caripi and the pair powered its way into a semifinal matchup against Miki Nobuzawa and Danilo Vukotic, who play for Farleigh Dickinson.
In the other semifinal, former St. John’s players Gustavo Loza and Michael-John Every took on Dymtro Kovalevych and Bozo Zaputovic, two pros from Christopher Morley Tennis.
When the dust settled, Reyes-Varela and Caripi took on Loza and Every in the final. The match played host to phenomenal tennis as neither team budged early, and each player held serve in their first service games to bring the final to 2-2.
Vasili Caripi (back) and Miguel Reyes-Varela (front) teamed up to win the Men's Pro Division crown.
That is when the match met its turning point, as a backhand winner from Reyes-Varela broke the serve of Every for a 3-2 lead. The pair would not be broken throughout the whole set, and would notch one more break at 5-3, once again on Every’s serve, to wrap up the 6-3 victory and win the $650 cash prize.
“Getting that break was definitely key and allowed us to control the match and set the tone,” said Reyes-Varela. “It really made it simple for us to stick to our plan and it worked out. We tried to just get a lot of balls in and make our first serves.”
The pair hadn’t played much tennis together, but got a practice session in the day before the tournament which helped them develop a little chemistry.
“We had a good practice session yesterday and Miguel told me what he wanted from me,” said Caripi. “He is such a good player so I just stuck to the game plan he wanted to have and it worked.”
Reyes-Varela and Loza are good friends off of the court, and it was Loza who extended the invite to him to play in the Long Island Tennis Challenge.
“I was lucky to be around here and with Gustavo, and they invited me to play in the tournament,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place to play at and was very well-organized. I think all the teams really enjoyed it. There was great competition and it was a lot of fun.”
Long Island Tennis Magazine would like to thank our sponsors USTA, USTA Eastern, Sportime, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, South Shore Auto Sales, 30fifteen, inPhorm, Connecticut Open, New York Empire, Inside the Zone Sports Performance Group and PGA Tour Superstore.