The competition was intense, yet the atmosphere was full of congeniality in the ninth annual fund-raiser for the Good Samaritan Clinic in New Port Richey.
Staged at the Paul Kronk Tennis Club in Crescent Oaks, men's, women's and mixed doubles competitions were directed by the club's teaching professional Matt Kleber.
"This is the fourth year we've hosted this tournament and the third in a row," said Kleber. "This was another good one. There was a lot of cheering and quite a crowd hung around to watch other matches. There may not have been any better talent this year, but there was certainly a high level of competition."
Among the three-set winners were Sherry Theriault and sister-in-law Renee Hutchisson in the women's 3.5. Advancing to the final among a field of eight teams, Theriault and Hutchisson rallied from a first-set tie-break loss to defeat Judy Morris and Lolita Shull 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3.
"This was my first time to play in this tournament and to win was great," said Theriault. "We don't have any special style or strategy, we just cover the court well, communicate with one another and don't get on one another when we're not doing well.
"The tournament ran so well. When it was time to get on the court, the courts were ready. Of course, we then played our final match for over two hours. The courts were in good condition and there was plenty of food any time we wanted it. Best of all, it was for such a good cause."
Also playing to a three-set championship was Valerie Custer and Ann Salem, who beat Cathy Angel and Suzanne Ryan to win the women's 3.0 5-7, 6-0, 6-1. Defending men's 4.0 champions David Parris and Sam Ledwitch rallied to beat Reinhardt Lauderbach and Conrad Berhorster 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
"The tournament and the monies raised was down some from last year, which we expected after September 11," said Barbara Holton, executive director of the clinic. "But we are always grateful for whatever we get. It was a fabulous weekend with beautiful weather and Crescent Oaks really outdid themselves."
In years past, the tournament has collected up to $300,000 for the free clinic. The clinic provides medical and dental care for local people who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, or have no insurance.
This year, according to Holton, more than $50,000 will be donated to the Good Samaritan Clinic from the tournament efforts.
In the women's 4.0 final, Michelle Buric and Pam Robinson beat Wendy Kall and Sylvia Bell in straight sets, as did Linda Stanikas and George Lai against Arnie and Bev Tennenbaum in the mixed 3.0 doubles. Ou Oshima and Neal Barnes defeated Cheryl Cravener and Skip Parker 6-2, 6-3 for the mixed 4.0 title.
Parker teamed with Ed McGinley to defend their men's 3.5 title and eliminate Joe Gari and John Kuhn 6-3, 6-4 in the final.
"Last year was my first time to play in this as my wife Linda and I had moved here from Virginia," said Parker. "Ed and I have played together in the senior league so we kind of know how each other plays.
"Ed is a big guy and I cover the court pretty well. If I can set up the ball for Ed, he's up at the net to put it away."
Mary Jane Evertz and Kevin Manning beat teenager Keri Goldberg and Daclyn Mansfield in the mixed open doubles division.
Sandy Lamy and David Wisotsky battled to a 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 victory in the 3.5 mixed doubles over Dee Dolson and Mike Lyman. Lamy and Wisotsky eliminated Marilyn Linker and Parris in one semifinal and Dolson and Lyman beat Debbie and Ed McGinley in the second to face off for the championship. Wisotsky, who played nine matches in the two-day event, teamed with George Oullis to win the men's 3.5 consolation title.
In all, there were 24 mixed doubles teams, 22 women's and 24 men's.
JUNIOR NOTES: Stacia Fonseca teamed with Sierra Poske of Ponte Vedra Beach to win the girls 16-and-under state doubles title. Miranda Gutierrez and Brianna Williams of Tampa finished third ahead of Erin Heeder and Kaela Kennedy of St. Petersburg. Jamie Mera and Lindsay Dvorak finished second to Seminole's Alexandra Cercone and Keri Frankenbeger in the girls 12 in a four-team round robin. Patrick Gleason and Michael O'Green were first in the boys 18 four-team round robin. Connor and Macale Smith reached the boys 12 semifinal round and then placed third overall, beating Lutz's Kilip Kamath and Justin Herzig in the playoff. ... Tanner Brown was a finalist in the boys 10 singles in the Top Gun Satellite Circuit last month in Tampa. Also reaching the championship round were Nicole Wellman (10), Ross Van Boven (18), Ryan Clisset (14) and Alex Bartholomew (12). Derek Redmon won the 14 consolation title. Kimberly Renspie captured the girls 12 round-robin competition.
NET NOTES: The Westin Innisbrook Resort named its club champions last month in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Cheryl Cravener (3.5) and Ria Graham (4.5) won in women's singles, Rob Hamill (4.0) and Malcolm Slive (3.5) in the men's. Slive teamed with Mike Lyman to capture the 3.5 doubles and Phyllis Gary and Joan Holland won the women's 3.5. Mixed doubles winners included Wendy Kall and Bruce Blubaum in the 4.0 and Reme Johnson and Lyman in the 3.5. ... Saddlebrook Resort is among the contenders for the Feb. 8-10 USA vs. Slovak Republic matchup in the Davis Cup. The U.S. Tennis Association has until Dec. 3 to determine its choice.
COMING UP: A Top Gun Satellite Circuit is Saturday through Monday at Train Smart Tennis in Tampa. Call Alan Williams, (813) 962-4253, to enter the singles-only state-sanctioned tournament. ... The Pete Wolfberg 13th Annual Championships begins Saturday at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center for juniors in state-sanctioned singles competitions. Call Al Sarmiento, (727) 360-2643, or the center, (727) 823-2225. ... Cheval Country Club hosts its Winter Classic for adult singles Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Call the club, (813) 948-2282.