Some observers came away from last weekend’s World Team Tennis Launch Party wanting to participate in WTT format tournaments. The good news is that four such tournaments remain on the local summer schedule leading into the WTT Finals Weekend on Sept. 14-16 at Family Circle Tennis Center.
The Launch Party was a huge success, not solely based on crowd size but also considering the atmosphere and crowd involvement.
It didn’t hurt that the event kept most of the crowd of more than 1,000 entertained until the final minute of play. The event came within one point of going to a winner-take-all final point.
The competition ended when Lee Floyd’s return of a serve from Family Circle pro Bryan Minton at match-point 40-30 sailed wide to secure a mixed doubles win for Minton and Caroline Thornton as well as the club title for Family Circle. Until then, Family Circle and Mount Pleasant Rec were tied at nine points each in the Launch Party final.
Thornton, a Tulane senior, was the unofficial most valuable player. She played a major role in Family Circle’s march to the club title, playing singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
A year earlier in the inaugural Launch Party, the talented, hard-hitting 5-5 Thornton had almost single-handedly led Family Circle to the final before I’On and Matt Hane prevailed. Thornton, who played her first two years of college tennis for Auburn before transferring to Tulane, appears to have a bright future in tennis.
For anyone who wants to compete in a WTT-formatted event prior to the WTT Finals Weekend, the four remaining WTT tournaments will be: Aug. 11-12, LTP Tennis; Aug. 18-19, Park West Tennis Center; Aug. 25-26, Snee Farm; and Sept. 8-9, Seabrook Island.
Tournament participation is open to all 18-and-over players. A team’s rating is determined by averaging the NTRP ratings for the team’s top two men and top two women. Free membership with WTT is required to sign up for any of the tournaments by registering at www.wtt.com
It’s a summer of decision for sisters Alex and Catherine Martin. Alex just completed her freshman year at the University of Texas on a tennis grant, but she has gained her release from Texas and is considering offers from LSU, Alabama, South Carolina and others to continue her college career. Martin posted an 8-8 singles record for the Longhorns as a freshman.
Catherine Martin helped lead Wando to the Class AAAA state final in 2011 as the Warriors’ No. 1 player. With No. 2 player and fellow All-Lowcountry performer Melanie Allen relocating to Florida, Martin hasn’t decided if she will play high school tennis as a senior. She said she is considering skipping high school tennis in order to spend more time training.
Edwards’ big win
Jonathan Edwards scored his biggest win in the recent State Closed Hard-Court Championships by winning the boys 18 singles crown. The success was a big breakthrough for Edwards since he still plays 16-and-under, and the win earned him a wild card into the South Carolina ITF in November at Lexington.
A junior participating in an online charter school for South Carolina, Edwards upset the Nos. 1 and 4 seeds en route to the title.
The only other local full-sized court winner was Ava Kusmider in girls 12, while Elliott Eischeid won the boys’ 10 title. Curran Carver was runner-up in girls 16 and Mark Militzer took third place in boys 14.
The local 6.0 and 7.0 mixed doubles playoffs are set for next weekend. The 6.0 mixed event will be held at Mount Pleasant Rec’s Whipple Road complex, while 7.0 will be contested at Charleston Tennis Center.
Single-elimination first-round matches will be played on Friday at 6:30 p.m., with the four winners advancing to round-robin play for 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. matches on Saturday and a 9 a.m. contest on Sunday.
The 8.0 playoffs will be held a week later at Charleston Tennis Center.
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.