Tennis: Lake Wales 7.0 Mixed Team Caps a Successful Fall for the Club

Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:47 p.m.

It's been a successful fall for members of the Lake Wales Country Club and pro Joe Hignight.

The fabulous fall concluded last week with the 7.0 mixed team competing at the USTA Mixed Nationals in Arizona.

The Lake Wales team, captained by Paige Turner in place of Aubrey Whitaker, went 2-1 in its flight and barely missed reaching the finals.

"We had a wonderful time, but we were just shy," Turner said. "I was so disappointed."

Lake Wales defeated the Northern team 3-0 and lost to Puerto Rico.

The match against the Southern team was the swing match. Lake Wales needed to defeat the Southern team by a 3-0 score, plus, Lake Wales needed the Caribbean team to lose one match against the Northern team to avoid the tiebreaker.

Lake Wales won 2-1. But the tiebreaker came down to sets lost, which knocked Lake Wales out of the running for the finals.

The Caribbean team advanced to the final and fell to a strong team from Hawaii.

"It was just awful," said Turner of the near miss.

Still, there's plenty of tennis to cheer about.

The team is one of a string of talented teams that have done well in the past year from the little club.

The Lake Wales 6.0 mixed team lost a tiebreaker to California last year in Arizona at the nationals and failed to reach the final. But still, the team qualified for the event.

Just a few weeks ago the 6.0 mixed team reached the USTA Sectional event. They were match point away from making the finals and advancing to Arizona.

The 8.0 mixed team reached the sectional finals, but lost.

Every player on each of the teams was a Lake Wales C.C. member.

Turner credits Hignight and the members for the success.

"We just have a lot of committed people," Hignight said. "We are small, but we are committed and chemistry is so important.

"It's lots of practice and a great coach," Turner said. "Joe puts in a lot of time and dedication. He's in there at 6:30 in the morning and doesn't leave until 9 p.m. He puts together matches and drills with us. He's dedicated to making people better and he's compassionate. He was one of the few coaches at nationals this year. He is very competitive. He cares about what everybody is doing."

Plant City NTRP Classic

Derek Knowlton of Lakeland defeated Benny Robles of Lakeland 6-4, 6-2, to win the men's 4.0 division of the Plant City NTRP Classic during the weekend.

Robles won three matches to reach the final.

Auburndale Fall NTRP

Results from the Auburndale Fall NTRP Tournament held during the weekend at the Cindy Hummel Tennis Center.

Men's 4.5 singles: William James def. David Saltman 6-3, 6-3.

Men's 4.0 singles: Mark Shapiro def. Hooman Hamzehloui 7-6, 6-2.

Men's 3.0 singles: Long Dang def. Boris Nunez 6-1, 6-0.

Women's 3.5 singles: Michelle Sais Hildebrandt def. Lucia Parvan 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

White Falls

Lakeland's Gavin White won two matches in the East Lake Fall Junior Super Series event in Oldsmar before falling in the semifinal. White, the No. 1 seed, lost to James Sullivan 6-1, 6-2.

Senior, Super Senior Women's Meeting

A senior and super senior women's captain's meeting is Dec. 5 at noon at the Beerman Family Tennis Center in Lakeland.

Seniors (age 50-plus) rated 3.5 will play on Mondays, while 3.0 and 4.0 seniors will play Thursdays. Super seniors, age 60-plus, will play on a day yet to be determined. For more, call 863-834-2374.

Bryan Brothers No. 1

Did you see the Bryan Brothers earned the No. 1 spot in men's doubles for the seventh time on the ATP doubles team rankings list?

It's a record for the 33-year-old twins.

Mike and Bob have 11 career Grand Slam victories and two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles on their resume.

They have captured at least five titles per year over the last 10 years.

The two were ranked No. 1 in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

It all adds up to history.

The Bryans have been ranked No. 1 for 265 weeks. They are expected to finish the year at No. 1, which means they will pass John McEnroe's record of 270 weeks at No. 1 on Dec. 12.

Djokovic Takes Over

Novak Djokovic will finish the year at No. 1 on the South African Airways 2011 ATP rankings.

That makes him the 16th different player to hold the spot since the rankings began in 1973.

When Rafael Nadal lost Thursday in the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the result ensured Djokovic would earn the title.

Djokovic is the first player from Serbia to hold the title.

Americans take notice. It's also the eighth year in a row that a European has earned the top spot.

Djokovic will receive the trophy at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Nov. 20-27.

Time Flies

Jennifer Capriati, who once trained at Grenelefe, is nominated for the 2012 International Tennis Hall of Fame class.

Joining Capriati on the nominees list are players Guga Kuerten, Manuel Orantes and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, coach Nick Bollettieri, wheelchair player Randy Snow, master player Thelma Coyne Long and promoters Mike Davies and Eiichi Kawatei.

[ Lisa Coffey can be reached at 863-401-6971 or or by fax at 863-401-6999. ]

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