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TENNIS TODAY: Area high school tennis players head to Beeville tournament

Feb. 14, 2013 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:14 p.m.


This week, Victoria East, Victoria West and St. Joseph are all playing in Beeville on Friday.

Victoria West boasts the doubles team of Chase Bennett and Sean Charoenteanlert, who are undefeated so far this spring in the "A" draw tournaments. Playing "A" mixed doubles for West are Wyatt Marks and Danielle Alvarez, with Ben Satror and Samantha Candia paired together in the "B" draw.

West girls singles will include both "A" draw finalists from the Yoakum tournament last week, Celine Wappler and Nicole Cobler. They played a thrilling three-set final in Yoakum with Wappler narrowly escaping for the tournament win. Girls' doubles for West will include Nicole Oliver and Rachel Hennessey in the "A" draw, with Mary Ellis and Brittany Heibel in the "B" draw.

For St. Joseph, David Du and Collin Hartman will both be competing in the boys' "A" draw this weekend. David finished in third place a few weeks ago in the Loop 463 Open in Victoria.

Playing girls' singles for the Flyers will be Christina Haynes and Sophia Horadam.

Victoria East features Collin Janecka and Theresa Wang playing "A" singles in their respective draws.

Janecka finished in third place last week in Yoakum. Ryder Billo from Goliad walked away with an easy win in Yoakum last week in the boy's "A" singles draw.

On the ATP Pro Tour this week, the men are competing in Sao Paolo, Brazil, playing indoors (Rafael Nadal playing); Rotterdam, The Netherlands, also indoors (Roger Federer playing); and outdoors here in the U.S. in San Jose, California (Milos Raonic, John Isner and Sam Querry playing).

Nadal played his first tournament in seven months last week in Vina del Mar, Chile, on the red clay, his favorite surface. He cruised to the final but then was upset by Horacio Zeballos (ranked No.73 in the world) 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Yes, that means there were two very close tie-breaks in the first two sets.

Nadal had been sidelined with a knee injury since early July 2012.

On the women's side, the WTA is playing in Doha, Qatar, with world No.1 Victoria Azarenka (Belarus), Serena Williams (USA) and Samantha Stosur (AUS) vying for a very healthy paycheck this week in the exclusive event. In this hemisphere, there is also women's play in Cali, Columbia, featuring mostly up and comers on the slow red clay surface.

Speaking of surfaces, let's take a moment to talk about the different surfaces played on throughout the year on the Pro Tour.

The first major tournament of the year, The Australian Open, is played on a surface called Plexicushion. It is a hard court, but has a soft underlayment, making it a bit easier on the body. The bounce is true, but the speed of the ball coming off the court can vary.

There is a short spring hard court season mainly here in the U.S.

Next is red clay, composed of crushed red brick and most popular in Europe and South America. This season in professional tennis is almost upon us, with the first clay court event being played in our own backyard in Houston.

The River Oaks Clay Court Championships officially kick off the clay court season. This, along with all other tournaments, lead up to the second major tournament of the year, The French Open in late May.

For a few short weeks, our attention turns to the grass courts, and ultimately the third major tournament, the All England Club at Wimbledon. Grass can be tricky, with both the speed of the ball coming off the grass and the irregular bounces.

Finally, the American hard court season begins in July and culminates in the final and largest major of the year, the U.S. Open played in New York City in September.

What a finish to the year with the crowds, noise, planes overhead, you name it. Any distraction a player would not want is put right in front of him or her. It is a grind both mentally and physically. Even lower-ranked players get more press and publicity than they are used to.

All of these events will be revisited again as the year goes on, and continue looking for the area results with the juniors.

Remember, this is where it all begins.

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