Tournament tennis season in full swing

There were four adult participants last weekend who played in the Corpus Christi Buc Days tournament.

Michael McFarland, Melita Keith, Cindy Walsh and myself played singles in the event. Walsh had our group's best result in making the semifinals in women's 3.5 singles. She lost to the No. 1 seed and eventual winner Courtney O'Daniel, of San Antonio.

Just so you know, here's a quick breakdown of how adult USTA tournaments work. When you first enter a tournament, you rate yourself based upon the USTA's descriptions of your capabilities of your various strokes, from forehands and backhands to serves and volleys.

The National Tennis Rating Program levels begin at 2.5 (beginner) all the way to a 7.0 (touring professional). Walsh and Keith were entered at the 3.5 level, while Michael and myself were entered at the 4.5 level. It is very humbling to report that besides Walsh, none of us won a match.

For me personally, it was only my second tournament in the last seven years.

I know I need work.

Feeding balls all day just does not do it, but there are no excuses. However, despite the losing we all had fun, and all agreed to play in San Antonio next week.

At the Region IV-4A tournament, Victoria West's Nicole Cobler and Celine Wappler unfortunately lost in the first round 6-1,7-6(5). Cobler, a senior said, "I was pretty happy with the way I played. We started slow, perhaps a bit nervous, but after being down 1-6, 1-4, we started putting our shots together and our points together. But unfortunately, we fell short."

The TAPPS state tournament begins April 24 at the Waco Regional Tennis Center.

Collin Hartman from St. Joseph High School and Mason Matias from Shiner St. Paul will be representing their schools and the Crossroads in boys singles. St. Paul will also be represented in girls doubles with Katie Denson and Kourtney Knesek. David Du from St. Joseph has qualified as an alternate in the singles.

Victoria Country Club Head Pro Mike Collins is Hartman's primary coach and said: "Collin has worked very hard to achieve the level of tennis that he has arrived at. Coaches see him play and are astonished that he has only taken up tennis full time in the last 15 months."

As Hartman and Du's traveling coach, I have seen much improvement in their ability to break down their own matches and realize opponents' strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own. In fact, all of the players participating in regionals or state tournaments base themselves out of the Country Club. Cobler, Wappler, Billo, Hartman, Matias and Du all come from the same junior program.

That is not a coincidence.

Goliad's Ryder Billo will head to the 2A state tournament next week after winning the Region IV-21 tournament over Jordan Jackson of Stockdale, 6-3, 6-3. In his first three matches at the regional tournament, Billo won his matches 6-1, 6-1 in the first, 6-0, 6-0 in the second and 6-4, 7-5 in the third.

The Victoria Tennis Association had its tennis mixer last Saturday morning with good weather, great tennis and lots of socializing. Bill Byers provided refreshments for everyone attending, and it was a great success. The VTA's next tennis fun day is scheduled for May 18 at 8:30 a.m., so please mark your calendars. We are always looking for newcomers to join in, so please come out and play.

The U.S. Clay Court Championships at River Oaks Country Club in Houston concluded with John Isner, of the U.S., defeating Spain's Nicolas Almagro 6-3,7-5 in the men's final.

In men's doubles, the Bryan Brothers, Robert and Michael, notched their 800th career win Saturday but were defeated in the final 1-6, 7-6 (3), 12-10 by Jaime Murray (Eng) and John Peers (Aus).

For those of you getting the Tennis Channel, The Monte Carlo Open is going on this week.

Philip Perez is the assistant tennis pro at Vic toria Country Club. He can be reached at pperez@victoriacc.com.