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Tourney raises funds, level of competition

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County benefited by about $17,000 from the ninth annual Frenchy's Gumbo Tennis Classic last weekend in Clearwater.

The players profited, too, with lots of competition and plenty of food.

A draw party opened the three-day tournament, which consisted of men's, women's and mixed doubles events. Clearwater's head teaching professional, Tomas Ollestad, directed the nearly 300 competitors.

"I've directed lots of tournaments over the years, and this one was quite competitive," Ollestad said. "When the players stepped on the court, they wanted to win."

Patricia Grohman and Susanne Reynolds, last year's runner-up in the women's 3.0 division, defeated Melody Hayslett and Melody Raetz 6-2, 6-4 in the final. (Please see complete results below.)

"We had some tough matches, but we hung in there," Grohman said. "This was our second time to play Frenchy's, and it was fun."

Grohman and Reynolds are doubles partners in Tuesday's Advantage League and Wednesday's Racqueteers.

"It definitely helps that we play together regularly," Grohman said. "Now that we've won the 3.0, we have to move up to the 3.5 next year for Frenchy's."

Ruby Johnson and Gina Roberts captured the 3.5 title in straight sets. Donna Roberts and Theresa Lawrence were straight-set winners in 4.0. Anh ThuBurks and Joan Simmons battled through two tie-break sets for the 4.5 championship.

Straight-set winners among the men were John Ramdeen and Mike Ivey (3.0), Drew Giovanis and Curtis Hook (3.5), Franz Henikl and Eric Watson (4.0) and Sabir Mukerjee and Ilie Bou Kheir (5.0). It took three sets for Scott Chambers and David Heeder to win the 4.5.

"This was the first time that Dave and I played together," Chambers said. "It turned out that our games were quite compatible. I'm pretty good at the net, and Dave's superior on the overheads."

After winning the first set in a tie-breaker and losing the second 6-4, Chambers switched to the backhand court and put Heeder on the forehand side.

"We decided to change for the third set, and it worked," Chambers said. "The third set came down to just one break at 4-all. That team was good, and it was a really tough match."

Maureen Sternberg and Mike Lyman needed three sets to take the 3.5 mixed crown. Two-set winners were Charlotte Tao and Art Griffith (3.0), Diane Ostrander and Dean Bryan (4.0), Paula Castoro and Brian Cooper (4.5) and Jennifer Dent and Kevin Manning (5.0).

"I've been playing in a men's doubles league and practicing getting to the net," said Dent, a Countryside High School senior. "We played well together."

GOLDMAN TOURNEY: Pam Robinson and Michele Buric won the women's doubles title in the ninth annual Ariel Goldman Memorial Classic at the Paul Kronk Tennis Club in Crescent Oaks.

Three-set winners included Valerie Custer and Ann Salem (3.0) and Renee Hutchisson and Sherry Theriault (3.5).

Defending 3.5 men's champions Ed McGinley and Skip Parker won three matches to retain the title. David Parris and Sam Ledwitch rebounded from a second-set loss to win the 4.0.

In mixed doubles, Linda Stanikas and George Lai won the 3.0 and Sandy Lamy and David Wisotsky 3.5. Wisotsky teamed with George Ouillis to take the men's 3.5 consolation prize.

SENIOR PLAY: Bob Meyerdierks finished first among the men's 75-and-over singles players in the Fall Classic in Venice.

Meyerdieks then paired with Jim Mackey to defeat Bud Steckman and Sam Dixon in doubles. Other area finalists were Hank McCusker (70 singles) and Will Roeper (60).

Don Mathias reached the 60 semifinals before losing to Roeper.Dave Krebs qualified in the 65 bracket, then made it in doubles with Bob Seiy. Fred Hesse and Bill Herring qualified in the same division.

Lynne Hesse finished second in women's 60 doubles with Dottie Frost and in 55 with Janet Crouse.

JUNIOR NOTES: Patrick Gleason and Michael O'Green were first in the boys 18-and-under four-team round robin of the USA Tennis Florida State Doubles Championships.

Other winners were Alexandra Cercone and Keri Frankenberger (12) and Kelly Nelson and Alli Pillinger of Coral Springs (18).

Erin Heeder and Kaela Kennedy of St. Petersburg were third in girls 16.

LEAGUE UPDATE: Safety Harbor Spa II leads the women's Suncoast Singles A Division entering the final matches Nov. 30.

Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club is first in the North B Division and plays at East Lake I on Friday in its last match. Countryside meets host East Lake II.

B Division playoffs begin Dec. 7 for the North and South teams.

FUNDRAISER: Safety Harbor Spa is having an off-court challenge for league teams Dec. 15 during the first annual "Create your own Gingerbread House" fundraiser.

Proceeds will go to the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross. For information, call 446-2358.

THIS WEEKEND: A 12-hour "Strokes for Freedom" series of clinics is scheduled for 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Each player's $50 donation will go to the New York City Police Foundation. For information, call 894-1000, Ext. 2856. St. Petersburg Tennis Center will have its 13th annual Pete Wolfberg Championships for juniors Saturday-Monday. Call 360-2643 or 823-2225. The Top Gun Satellite Circuit for juniors begins Saturday at Arbor Green Tennis and Fitness in Tampa. For information, call (813) 962-4253.

COMING UP: The third annual Time Warner Mixed Doubles Team Classic is Feb. 8-10 at McMullen Tennis Complex.

Six-player squads comprise three mixed doubles pairs representing A, B and C divisions. For information, call 669-8824.