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Senior doubles teams ready to hit courts

Senior Doubles League action has gotten under way for some teams, while others will open after the holidays.

Sponsored by the U.S. Tennis Association, the men's and women's three-position doubles teams battle for local championships to advance to state competition. State winners represent Florida in national tournament play.

Pasco County players are among the challengers for bragging rights and are scattered among the men's 3.5 division and the women's 3.5 and 4.0.

New Port Richey's is playing on Dunedin's 3.5 team in the North division and will face former teammates on both the Weston Innisbrook Resort squad and the Phil Green Tennis Academy. Dick Willets is captain of the Innisbrook team of 10 and Joe Gari is captain of the eight-player PGTA squad.

Joining Willets are Joe Bailey, Jerry McDowell, Ellis Gant, Harry Zimmerman, Donald Bergner, Robert Barry, Les Drew, Bob McKenzie and Fred Ostrowski. "We have a good time playing and some of us have played together for some time," Willets said. "As we get older, though, the competition gets tougher. We could use some younger legs to run down some of those balls."

Returning to Gari's team are Ken Hogle, Glenn Merrer, Dick Lashley, Richard Hough, Ed McGinley and David Wisotsky. Former Chicago resident Carlo Mugavero is new.

"This season is kind of unique for us," Gari said. "We lost two of our players _ Willie Coquelet and Bill Schieman _ when they were moved up to the 4.0 level."

Also moved to a higher level this season are Debra McGinley and Maureen Sternberg. Both are on the PGTA 4.0 team. The two will face off during the season with fellow Pasco County player Ria Graham, who is on the Treasure Island Rec 4.0 squad.

Innisbrook's 3.5 women's team is made up of Sue Luidens, Judy Murphy, Bonny Boosales, Jean McKenzie, Phyllis Gary, Nancy Kraemer, Josie Doucette, Marilyn Linker, Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Reme Johnson, Shirl Aherns and Anne Hammond.

Last year, the Innisbrook women's 3.5 team advanced to state and the PGTA's 3.5 men won their division but were eliminated in a district playoff.

This year, 12 senior women's teams are in the 3.5 and seven in the 4.0. The men's 3.0 has four teams; the 3.5 has 13 in three divisions and the 4.0 has 10 teams in two divisions.

NET SHOTS: In this month's designated junior singles tournament, Wesley Chapel's Marc Spicijaric won the boys 16-and-under title in straight sets. Area players reaching the round of 16 were Miranda Gutierrez and Brianna Williams in the girls 18, Paige Kensrue in the girls 14 and Bryan Jowers in the boys 16. Playing to the round of 32 were Andrea Meythler and Zoe Kent in the 16; Linda Tien (18); and Brendan and Kimble McKay (14).

New Port Richey's Ria Graham won the women's 40-and-over singles title in this month's Adult Championships at Weston Innisbrook Resort.

Main-draw entries in this month's Eddie Herr International Junior Championships include area players Alexandra Cercone and Alexis Kreplickin in the girls 12; Christina Liles and Yumi Hasegawa (14); Alexandria Liles (18); Tanner and Tyler Brown, Juan and Rodrigo Ferraez, Christopher Gupta, Miguel Muguruza, Joel Samaha and Kosuke Hasegawa (boys 12); Spicijaric (16); Sukhwa Young and Jose-Luis Muguruza (18).

Main-draw competition for the international junior event begins Nov. 25 at the IMG/Bollettieri Sports Academy in Bradenton.

COMING UP: The Turkey Bowl Super Series for juniors is Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the Cheval Country Club in Lutz. Call Francis Cooke, (813) 948-2282, by Monday's deadline. Train Smart Tennis NTRP Masters is Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the Arbor Greene Fitness and Athletic Club in Tampa. Call Alan Williams, (813) 962-4253, by the Nov. 27 deadline.