The USTA's 2018 5.5 and Open National Championships again came and went without a hitch, another weekend of exhilarating tennis in Las Vegas. The tournament, held annually at the Darling Tennis Center, benefits the American Cancer Society and is organized by Rob Kinas, a Las Vegas-based attorney who beat mantle cell lymphoma.
The big surprise of the year happened before the tournament, when perennial men's open champion New York Athletic Club decided not to field a squad in 2018 -- leaving the event wide open. The favorite was the California Tennis Club, and they marched to the finals to take on Intermo Pop, which the CTC had beaten earlier in the round-robin stage. But the second meeting proved different. Tyler Browne and Nicholas Brunner earned the sole point for CTC, with a 6-3, 7-6 doubles win over brothers (and Arizona and Fresno State head coaches respectively) Clancy and Luke Shields. Intermo Pop took the No. 2 doubles, with Thomas Schoeck and Jason Weir-Smith besting Corey Pang and JT Sundling 6-4, 5-7, 1-0. And a third-set tiebreaker also decided the singles, with Intermo Pop's Damien Hume defeating Andre Dome 7-6, 4-6, 1-0 to seal the 2018 open championship for Intermo Pop.
In the women's open, NorCal's Olympic Club was undefeated in matches, though they were tested in 2-1 victories over the likes of NYAC Pantic, which finished in 2nd place, and SoCal Quan and NorCal Sweeney. Israeli Nadine Fahoum, a Duke graduate, was dominant playing singles and doubles for the Olympic Club, which also boasted Maya Jansen, who won back-to-back NCAA doubles championships at the University of Alabama, and former U.C. Santa Clara standout Katie Le.
In the women's over-40 open, SoCal MacGregor was undefeated, winning all three of their matches 3-0. SoCal O'Connor took second place, finishing 2-1. McGregor's strong squad consisted of captain Cammy MacGregor (once ranked 75 in the world professionally), Jennifer Dawson (a former University of San Diego No. 1), Millie Yablonicky (ranked as high as 93 internationally in over 40's), Gee Gee Garvin (former No. 1 for Brigham Young University), Amanda Parson Siegel (ranked as high as 32 in singles and 4 in doubles internationally in the seniors), Debbie Spence-Nahim (once ranked as high as 35 in the world as a WTA professional), Tracie Currie (a former U.C. Santa Barbara standout and accomplished senior player), and Jenny Keller.
In the men's over-40 open, Intermo Maccanello beat Florida Beardsley 2-1. Ben Coates and Carlos Angle cruised to a 6-0 win in the first set before Florida Beardsley's Jeffrey Mager and Richard Beardsley retired. Intermo also took the No. 2 doubles, with Tim Blenkiron and Roger Pettersson downing Florida's Christopher Henderson and Christopher Muller 7-6, 6-3. Florida Beardsley prevailed at No. 3 doubles, with Andrew Lake and Scott Allen beating Igor Santana and Michael Bastin 6-3, 6-0.
In the men's 5.5, NorCal Tong (representing the California Tennis Club) and Southern Sergey faced off in the final. Sergey Belov, a Winthrop graduate, prevailed in the singles over CTC's Shaun Chaudhuri (a former Harvard player) 7-6, 6-4. But NorCal Tong swept the doubles with Julian Cheng (Cornell) and Pablo Pires De Almeida (University of San Francisco head coach) won 6-3, 6-4 over Southern Sergey's Kyle Johnson (DePaul) and Dananjaya Mayadunne (Francis Marion) at No. 1 doubles. At. No. 2 doubles Joel Kusnierz (St. Mary's) and Rong Ma (BYU-Hawaii) downed Evegny Siesarev (Gardner-Webb) and Alexander Miller (William & Mary).
As for your reporter, after several years at 5.5 NorCal Wachter stepped up to the open division and made a nice run to the semifinals before falling to the California Tennis Club.
See you in September, 2019!
2018 Nationals - Pics of the Winners
Our National Team Championships - 2017 - Recap
2017 Nationals By Paul Wachter
Another year, another glorious September weekend of tennis at the 5.5 and Open National Team Championships in Las Vegas. The three-day annual event at the Darling Tennis Center, benefits the American Cancer Society and is organized by local attorney Rob Kinas, who beat mantle cell lymphoma.
The Women's Open was dominated by a formidable Eastern NYAC squad, which cruised through the round-robin stage, dropping only a single singles match and finishing undefeated in doubles. In the final, NYAC faced the California Tennis Club of San Francisco, with NYAC winning all three matches in straight sets. In singles, Krista Hardebeck, a former top-300 professional and Stanford graduate, recorded a 6-3, 6-1 win over CTC's Cristina Visico, who played for the University of California-Berkeley. In No. 1 doubles, NYAC's Kyle McPhilips (UCLA, once ranked 706 professionally) and Tennis Magazine journalist Nina Pantic (Missouri) defeated Kady Pooler (Arizona State, once top-1000 professionally) and Carol Erickson (Cal Poly).
In the Open Men's field, it was a familiar Final Four. In one semifinal, a rematch of the previous year's final, Nor Cal Tong (whose home court is the California Tennis Club) beat Texas Hayes 3-0, with each of the three victories coming in straight sets. (Nor Cal Tong won the 2016 event.) Meanwhile, in the other semifinal, Eastern NYAC, the team that has dominated the past decade but was upset in the 2016 semifinal, advanced with a 2-1 victory over Eastern Walsh.
The men's final, featuring the same clubs as the women's, didn't disappoint. Former Stanford standout Maciek Romanowicz, a Polish native, teamed with recent University of Virginia All-American and current professional Ryan Shane to take the No. 2 doubles for Eastern NYAC. They won 7-6, 6-2 against Matthew Berry, a former University of San Francisco player, and J.T. Sundling, who had an impressive collegiate career at Texas Christian University. The deciding match was at No. 1 singles, a closer battle, featuring Eastern NYAC's Michael Redlicki, a former University of Arkansas player who cracked the top 1000 professionally, and Nor Cal Tong's Andre Dome, who had a highly-decorated record at Cal Poly and reached a career high professional singles ranking of 426 in 2015. Redlicki prevailed in a third-set tiebreaker. Eastern NYAC retired from the No. 1 doubles late in the match with NYAC's tandem of Michael Shabaz and Connor Smith, both former collegiate standouts and accomplished professionals, trailing recent Cal Poly grad Corey Pang and former Cornell No. 1 Nicholas Brunner. It was a welcome and familiar return to the title for NYAC team captain and master recruiter Jeffrey Appel.
In the Men's Over-40 Open final, Southern Gamble faced Nor Cal Olympic Club after both teams advanced with 2-1 wins in the semifinals. Southern Gamble claimed the No. 1 doubles, as Thomas Mozur and John Hall knocked off Olympic Club's David Smith and James Vanreusel. Olympic Club 6-2, 7-5. At No. 3 doubles, Southern Gamble's Toby Curtis and Matthew Rowe defeated Olympic Club's Mathew Holt and Jeff Urban. With the match decided, Southern Gamble retired from the No. 2 doubles match with Jordan Gedlitschka and Morgan Shepherd trailing Olympic Club's Albert Chang and Marco Magnano.
MidAtlantic Chiu and Intermo Harbaugh faced off in the final of the 5.5 Men's field after both survived 2-1 wins in the semifinals. At No. 1 singles Intermo's Willie Dann (a former No. 1 player for Rice University) beat MidAtlantic's Jordan Krasner (Washington & Lee) in a third-set super breaker. MidAtlantic came back with a win at No. 1 doubles with William Beck (Virginia Tech) and Andrew Orban (University of Maryland) defeating Jerad Harbaugh (Colorado University) and Lewis Miller (Kalamazoo College) 6-3, 6-4. MidAtlantic sealed the match with a win at No. 2 doubles. Christopher Chiu (Maryland) and Michael Scherer (Brown) beat John Haywood (Williams College) and Julian Seelan (Kalamazoo) 6-4, 6-2.
As for your humble correspondent, my 5.5 team advanced to the semi-finals, losing 2-1 to MidAtlantic Chiu. But we had to default a doubles line ¾ a couple of early flights back to the Bay area for two players ¾ which leaves me encouraged we may finally grab the title next year. See you in September!
2017 Nationals - Pics of the Winners
Our National Team Championships - 2016 - Recap
2016 Nationals By Paul Wachter
It was another successful fall weekend in Las Vegas featuring captivating, heart-wrenching tennis at the USTA's 5.5 and Open National Championships, the best non-professional team event in the country. The 2016 tournament at the Darling Tennis Center was the XXth year of the event, which benefits the American Cancer Society, and is the brainchild of Rob Kinas, a Las Vegas-based attorney who beat mantle cell lymphoma.
Perhaps the weekend's biggest story at the Darling Tennis Center was the undoing of the New York Athletic Club, a perennial men's open powerhouse, which won five of the six previous titles and typically features current and recently-retired professionals. Facing a strong Texas team, Texas Hayes, NYAC prevailed in the singles match but lost both doubles. The last match on court, a doubles match featuring a current professional and three ex-pros, was decided in a dramatic tiebreaker that saw both teams fail to convert match points. But ultimately, the Texas team featuring Travis Helgeson, a former top 500 player, and Pete Stroer, a former Futures tour player, prevailed.
Waiting for Texas Hayes in the final was NorCal Tong, a team composed of members of the California Tennis Club. California's Andre Dome, who was ranked as high 426 in the world in 2015, claimed a close win against Texas's John Weigand. Texas's Alberto Francis, a former top-300 player, and Joe Morris, a former University of Texas standout, took the second doubles, tying the match. But on this day Helgeson and Stroer couldn't repeat their heroics, and it was the California team of Tyler Browne, a former University of California-Berkeley captain, and Nicholas Brunell, who played for Cornell, that clinched the championship with a straight-set doubles win.
"Only a few pointes separated us, and we were fortunate to win the critical points," said NorCal captain Ron Tong.
In the women's open, both Southern Zawacki and NorCal Lao (like the men's champions based at San Francisco's California Tennis Club) emerged undefeated after group play. Southern's Ewa Radzikowska, a former Polish professional who played collegiately at Oklahoma State, posted a 6-3, 6-1 win over NorCal's Marisue Jacutin-Mariona, once the Philippines' top-ranked women's player who now lives in Los Altos, California. NorCal struck back in No. 1 doubles, with Francesca La'O (an ex-Filipino pro) and Lauren Barnikow (former pro and Stanford graduate) claiming a straight-set victory over Tammy Zawacki (who played at Seton Hall) and Nanely DeMartini (a Peruvian ex-pro). Southern's No. 2 doubles team, a sisters' combination, captured the deciding final doubles point. Katrina Gildermeister-Barnes and Marissa Gildermeister-Chapin (who both played for North Carolina State) defeated NorCal's Alison Jane Rauh (who played at Davidson) and Carmen Pop (a William and Mary alumna) 6-0,6-4.
"We felt it was a great accomplishment," Katrina Gildermeister-Barnes told a Georgia newspaper after the win. "Especially since the other players were younger and some were rated higher than we were."
The men's open over-40 final saw Southern South Carolina take on Southern Gamble in the final. The format for this tier is 3 doubles matches, and South Carolina's imposing No. 1 double tandem of Martin Zumpft (a former top 300 professional born in Germany) and Phil Whitesell (a University of Southern California graduate and also a champion beach tennis player) took a 6-2, 6-2 win over Gamble's Michael E. Weidl (who played at University of North Carolina-Greensboro) and Marius Andersen, a Swedish native who attended Pacific Lutheran. Southern South Carolina won another straight-set victory at No. 2 doubles, sealing the championship. Charly Rasheed (who played at Mississippi State) and Ramon Bernal (an ex-pro who grew up in the Dominican Republic) took down Gamble's Johan Gedlitschka and Morgan Shepherd (who both played at Boise State). Gamble prevented a shut out by taking the No. 3 doubles as Toby Curtis (a British native who played at the University of Utah) and Thomas Mozur (University of Tennessee) beat South Carolina's Brian Burke (South Carolina State) and Chris Waters (University of South Carolina).
In the 5.5 men's event (which your humble chronicler played), hometown Intermo Alenik met SoCal Tong-Ortiz (yet another California Tennis Club-based team) in the finals after both teams claimed 3-0 semifinal wins. Patrick Brian Kawka (a recent Brigham Young University grad) got Alenik off to a good start in singles with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Ray Wu (Cornell). But SoCal Tong-Ortiz evened the match with a win at No. 1 doubles. Jason Pickett (San Francisco State) and Max Ortiz (UC-Santa Cruz) prevailed 6-3, 6-4 over Alenik's Trento Alenik (Villanova) and Frideric Prandecki (North Carolina State). The deciding No. 2 doubles was a nail-biter. Alenik's 18-year-old Vance twins, Jack and Jamie, needed a super tiebreak to defeat Daniel McCall (fresh off playing for Duke) and Fernando Rodriguez (University of San Francisco).
See you next year!
2016 Nationals - Pics of the Winners
2016 Nationals - September 30 - October 2
On September 30 - October 2, 2016, the National Team Championships and the 40+ National Doubles Championships will be taking place at the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas for the Open Men, Open Women, 5.5 Men. Over 400 players on 40 teams from around the country will be participating.
Our National Team Championships - 2015
2015 Recap - by Paul Watcher
Skilled tennis players from throughout the country convened in Las Vegas on the last weekend of September 2015 to compete at the highest levels of amateur league competition and to benefit the American Cancer Society. The event, spearheaded by Las Vegas attorney and mantle cell lymphoma survivor Rob Kinas, is now in its XXthyear, and features many current and former professionals. The 2015 event saw several categories of play: men's Open, women's Open, men's 5.5, women's Over 40 and men's Over 40.
In the Open men's level, the New York Athletic Club (NYAC) team breezed to the championship, surrendering only a single doubles match throughout the tournament.
The team, captained by Jeffrey Appel, was comprised of several professionals, including California-based Jason Jung, who was ranked 194 in the world in singles shortly before arriving in Las Vegas. NYAC won 3-0 in the finals over another New York-based team captained by Harry Walsh.
NYAC's lone loss came in the semifinals, against San Francisco-based Olympic Club, when Olympic's brother combo, Nate and Scott Schugg, defeated Daniel Cochrane and Adam El-Mihdawy in doubles. Appel's NYAC team has won five of the six past Open-level national championships.
"It feels great to be a part of this accomplishment," Appel said. "It's important to prove that strong tennis does exist in New York, and I enjoy keeping those thoughts alive."
In the Open's women division, which exclusively featured round robin play, it was the Illinois-based team captained by Brown University player Julie Flanzer, which emerged with the best record. Midwest Flanzer edged out NorCal Sweeney in game scores, as both teams finished with a 3-1 record.
In the men's 5.5 championship, Las Vegas-based Intermountain Alenik won 2-1 over Midwest Moorin. Ismail Lemtouni, a St. Leo University Graduate, prevailed in No. 1 singles, while Clayton Alenik and Lew DeLeon took the No. 2 doubles for the winning side. For the finalists, Midwest Moorin, the No. 1 doubles team of Ricky Heath and John Stone edged out a win in a super tiebreak.
Southern-Cal MacGregor won the Over-40 women's Open division, taking all four of their round-robin matches. The team was captained by Cammy MacGregor, who was once ranked as high as No. 75 in the world in singles and No. 38 in doubles. Another Southern California team, SoCal-O'Connor, finished second.
In the Over-40 men's Open division, whose format featured three doubles matches and no singles, Middle States Marshall won the Championship match against Southern Gamble. Among the victors was David McPherson, who coaches the Bryan brothers, and Ellis Ferreira, who won the 2000 Australian Open doubles title and the 2001 Australian Open mixed doubles championship.
Our National Team Championships - 2014
Your source for all information related to the annual National Team Championships held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
2014 Nationals - September 26-28
On September 26-28, the National Team Championships and the 40+ National Doubles Championships will be taking place at the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas for the Open Men, Open Women, 5.5 Men. Over 400 players on 40 teams from around the country will be participating. The players party will be on Friday, September 26 th . The teams are able to expand their rosters to a maximum of 10 players through September 10 th . If you are interested in joining a roster, contact our tournament director, Sue Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
2013 Nationals - September 27-29
On September 27-29, the National Team Championships will be taking place at the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas for the Open Men, Open Women, 5.5 Men and Over 40 Doubles. Over 400 players on 40 teams from around the country will be participating. The players party will be on Friday, September 27 th . This year's theme is country line-dancing so polish your cowboy boots. The teams are able to expand their rosters to a maximum of 10 players through September 10 th . If you are interested in joining a roster, contact our tournament director, Sue Johnson at email@example.com