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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stewart Posts Big Win in Rock Hill $25K; Thiem Gets First ATP Top 100 Victory; Sanchez-Casal Academy Revives in Naples; Photos From Smash Hits

Fifteen-year-old Katerina Stewart, who turned pro this summer, got the best win of her career today at the $25,000 Pro Circuit event in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Stewart, a Miami resident, qualified, then defeated No. 3 seed Heidi El Tabakh of Canada, the WTA's No. 146, 6-3, 6-4 in their first round match today. 

Rock Hill is only Stewart's second Pro Circuit event; she reached the quarterfinals of her first, the $10,000 tournament in Amelia Island, last month. 

Pan American Closed finalist Carol Zhao, who had no day off between Saturday's singles and doubles finals in Tulsa and the start of qualifying in Rock Hill on Sunday, has now played singles matches ten days in a row, along with five doubles matches. Today Zhao defeated wild card Cory-Ann Avants, a local wild card, 6-3. 6-0. Zhao's doubles partne Erin Routliffe also qualified, and had she won today, they would have played each other, but Routliffe was beaten by No. 6 seed Chi Chi Scholl 6-2, 6-0.  Grace Min and Allie Kiick are among the seven US women advancing to the second round.

At the $15,000 Mansfield, Texas Futures, Texas A&M freshman Harrison Adams, a wild card, defeated No. 3 seed and ATP No. 236 Samuel Groth of Australia 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 in yesterday's first round. Adams is one of seven Americans to reach the second round, and none of them play each other Thursday.

At the ATP tournament in Vienna, Austria, 19-year-old Dominic Thiem, the 2011 Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl champion, picked up his first ATP Top 100 win, defeating No. 51 Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-6(3), 6-3.  Thiem, who was given a wild card into his home country's event, qualified and reached the quarterfinals of a Challenger last week in France, a result that boosted his ATP ranking to a career-high of 394.

I received a press release today announcing the new Academia Sánchez-Casal in Naples, Florida, and it confused me for a moment because I knew they had already been in business in Naples a few years ago, and then were no longer there.

Thanks to google, I was able to find this Gulf Coast Business Review article from June that explained what had happened.

Academia Sánchez-Casal had operated a Naples branch from the Naples Bath & Tennis Club for three years until the academy ran into a disagreement with the club’s previous owner in 2010. 
Current seller PB-CRE Asset III LLC, an affiliate of The Private Bank, acquired the property in lieu of foreclosure from former owner Tennis Realty LLC in March.

“We’ve been trying to get back in there for quite a while now,” says Arantxa Gallastegui, general manager of the Naples club. “We ran into some problems with the operator of the club and had to close [the Naples branch]. We’re going to reopen it just like it was before with the tennis academy and a club for members.”

The press release touts the club as the "largest clay court facility in the US." I am certain it will be Har-Tru, not the red clay found at the famous Barcelona facility.

If you missed the Mylan World Team Tennis Smash Hits fundraising exhibition last night, here is an account with photographs, courtesy of professional photographer and tennishorts.com principal Susan Mullane.  Count me surprised that Christina McHale and Samantha Crawford beat Taylor Townsend and Martina Navratilova 5-0 in women's doubles.