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Beans do things together, even winning tennis titles

Squeezed in among kids, home-schooling duties and business responsibilities was a tennis miracle for Yvette and John Bean last weekend.

In the inaugural 2000 K-Swiss Masters Championships, Yvette won the 3.5 division and John captured the 4.0-minus title.

Yvette, who lost just one match in the regular season, qualified for the Masters as the top seed while John was the fifth _ and last _ seed.

There's more to this story, however. John was recovering from his second stress fracture in a foot, and Yvette had endured double ACL surgery a year ago.

"I guess I've been competitive all my life and John has been my motivating force," said Yvette, 36. "I would not be playing tennis _ and certainly not at the 3.5 level _ without his coaching and support."

Yvette had played a little tennis growing up with her four brothers in New York but nothing serious until she spied John playing at the Cheval Country Club in Lutz. John, 45, had played off and on during his youth, and when he was 31 he was lured to the courts and has remained there since.

"When I got into tennis I found that the social aspects, the competition and playing doubles with friends were great," said John. "It's great to network, to get exercise and know that you're in a sport for a lifetime."

The Beans are a team on and off the court. Coordinating life with three children under the age of 6, managing affairs of a personal business and scheduling time for tennis take teamwork, not to mention stamina. Just six months after Yvette's surgery, the two were out on the courts hitting.

"We set our priorities, worked together and managed our time," said Yvette. "But again, I couldn't have done what I did without John's support."

In the Masters championships, Yvette was first off the court with a title and the $200 first prize. With the pressure on, John responded with a straight-set win in the final and his own $200 prize.

"The Masters concept is really good and fair," said John. "The playoff idea encourages players at all levels to be competitive and forces players to get out and start playing."

Joining the Beans from the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club as Masters champions was Pete Jernigan in the 4.0 division. Jernigan, who directed Yvette's therapy from surgery at his rehab center, outlasted Clearwater's Kamran Rezapour 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Other three-set winners included Laura Hungiville (3.0), Debby Beardsley (3.5-minus), Dana Vicander (4.0-minus), Leanne Hoffman (4.5-minus), Mary Beth Servie (4.5), J.D. Smith (2.5) and Jeff Pippen (3.5-minus).

Straight-set champions were Hope Plunket (2.5), Fran Cooperwasser (4.0), Tracy Viebrock (5.0), Michael Steiner (3.0), Philip Carollo (3.5), Gary Needleman (4.5-minus), Mark Whitnell (4.5), Matt Laccabue (5.0) and Greg Tournant (5.5).

CHALLENGE AT CLEARWATER: The fourth U.S. Tennis Association Challenger of Clearwater continues this week for aspiring women professionals at the city's McMullen Tennis Complex. Players with world rankings between No. 107 and No. 242 are competing in a 32-draw singles competition and a 16-team doubles draw.

The Challenger circuit was introduced in 1982 to provide players more opportunities to hone their games while earning ranking points. Lindsay Davenport, Lisa Raymond and Chanda Rubin are among those who utilized the circuit to help launch their professional careers.

Call the complex at 669-1919 for playing times.

JUNIORS AT SPTC: Three unseeded area players captured singles titles in last month's SPTC Junior Championships.

Lauren Saltiel of St. Petersburg surprised opponents in the girls 12-and-under competition at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center, defeating top seed Allison Sakiotis of St. Petersburg in a third-set semifinal tiebreaker and eliminating No. 2 seed Zoe Kent of Valrico 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Katherine Waldthausen of Palm Harbor eliminated the top seed in a semifinal match and went on to win the girls 14 title in three sets, and Bardmoor trainee Emiliano Azcurra outplayed No. 1 seed Billy Stagg of Palm Harbor to reach the boys 14s semifinal, where he eliminated St. Petersburg's Christian Yepes, then won the final in three sets.

Yepes went on to win the boys 14s consolation, as did Federico Nunez in the 10s, Brett Apter in the 12s, Diana Fodor in the 18s, Allison Sakiotis in the 12s and Lindsay Dvorak in the 10s.

MIXED PLAYOFF: Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg hosts the Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club's 7.5 senior mixed doubles team in a winner-take-all match for the District 12 championship. The district winner advances to the state tournament April 14-16 in Palm Coast.

Playing for the Racquet Club are Diana and Marshall Craig (captain), Rosemary and Steve Uebel, Susan and Bill Young, Bette and Tony Damouny and Sheila and Nick Routh.

Bardmoor's squad includes Pat and Frank Bellcourt (captain), Sylvia and Bob Hagerman, Mickie and John Gelestor, Erika Boardman, Cini Malone, Liz Dunlop, John Beda, John Bauer and Bob Simister.

SUPER SENIOR CIRCUIT: The USTA Florida Section Super Senior Grand Prix Circuit makes it way to Pinellas with the first of four men's singles and doubles events Feb. 7-13 at the Racquet Club.

Points are earned for each match won, with the top four in points in each age division recognized at the end of the circuit year. Age divisions range from 55 to 90 in five-year increments.

Last year, area singles winners were Ed Hamilton (60-and-older), Bob Meyerdierks (70s) and Jim Vuille (90s). Doubles winners included Hamilton and Dave Krebs in the 60s and Meyerdierks and Lyn Abbot in the 70s.

Finishing among the top four in singles were Krebs, Mike Panayotti (70s) and Alex Swetka (80s); in doubles were Tom Avirett with both John Benn and Don Wray (75s) and Vuille and Larry Sloane (85s).

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