Most people like good chocolate chip cookies; but if you had 10 or 15 at one sitting, that would probably be too much (for MOST people). This week was the fifth tournament in the Florida winter series (my fourth) being played at the new Lakewood National club … with the Pelican Bay Club doubles championships bracketing the week at each end!
Pelican Bay Round Robin
Everyone knows the secret to winning doubles: picking a great partner. So, Bob Wilkie and I teamed up for this annual event, starting with a four team round robin last weekend. While we were not the strongest team of the group, we survived in our last 8-game pro set on Sunday (three hours of tennis) to be one of the two teams moving on to the finals this Sunday.
Lakewood National Tournament
After three days of “regular” Naples tennis on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I drove two hours north to “the fastest growing planned community in the United States,” Lakewood Ranch for the fifth winter tournament. Thanks to my good friends Mike and Maryann Russell, who live just a few minutes from the venue, I had great housing.
I also had a great partner, pro-veteran Hank Irvine, who was seeded #1 in singles and doubles (Hank did verify his seeding by winning the singles). This was NOT a round robin but traditional single-elimination format.
Playing in a Hurricane
Our first-round match was on Thursday vs. colorful Wendall Walker and Charley Coflin. It was the strongest wind I have ever played in, with gusts up to 45 miles per hour! (Hurricane force winds start at 65 mph). But Hank and I were able to persevere for a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
On Friday, the winds were less of a factor; but our opponents were more of a factor. We faced Roland Klieve and Terry Tezlaff (who had once beaten Hank in singles). They took the first set at 6-4 and continued rolling to a 4-1 lead in the second set. Hank (as many of the top players can do) raised his level; and we took 12 of the next 15 games for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 come-from-behind semifinal win.
A Weekend of Two Finals
In the Saturday finals, we faced the team of Ray Brodeur (who I played with nearly 50 years ago on the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance tennis team!) and Bill Berry – who survived a three-set semifinals vs. Bob Royden and Doug Dancer the day before.
They were tired and we were solid; so we cruised to an easy straight set finals victory.
Today, Bob Wilkie and I will be underdogs in the Pelican Bay Club Championships Open Doubles final at 12:30 vs. the team that beat us last week 8-5 in the pro-set round robin.
For more on other matches at this past week’s Lakewood National tournament, click HERE.
For the draws for next week’s USTA tournament at the Meadows in Sarasota (where I am happily again teamed with Hank Irvine), click HERE.
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