Over the month of August the entrants in our 2014 Men’s Singles Championships played round robin matches with the other players in their group. There was a Group A and a Group B. The top two players from each group advanced to the semi-finals on September 6th and the winners in the semis advanced to the Sunday, September 7th men’s final. Thirteen players entered, with seven in Group A and six in group B.
After over a month of competitive matches, Stephen Hall came out with an undefeated record from Group A and Don Steele emerged from Group B unscathed. In second place out of Group A came the defending champ, Allan Bledstein and in Group B Carlos Dunkerly edged Mike Levitt for second place. Thus, the semis were set with Carlos playing Stephen and Alan battling Don.
Carlos and Stephen had some excellent points, but Stephen’s big serve and forehand were a little much, even for the quick Carlos. Stephen triumphed 6-2, 6-1.
In the second semi-final, Don used his drop-shot and lob to great effect, throwing the defending champ off his rhythm. Many games went to deuce, with some excellent long points as both players anticipated well throughout, but with effecting defense and some well-timed offense, Don was able to prevail, 6-1, 6-0.
The finals were set, with Don’s consistency, placement, and tennis I.Q. going up against the power and confidence of Stephen’s big shots. The match began with a long deuce game as both players felt out their opponent. Three more deuce games followed, Stephen leveling the match at 2-2 after several prolonged rallies had the players moving side to side with great defense. Don then began to mix up the pace, use the drop shot, lob, and first serve to control the points from the middle of the court. Stephen hit big topspin forehands, but Don kept the ball in play, eventually forcing errors or moving Stephen out of position, then hitting into the open court. The first set ended with a short forehand in the net, as Don took it 6-2.
The second set started with another long game, however, Don eased out that game, which set the tone for the second set being much like the first. Stephen tried to dig into the match, but Don’s consistency was relentless. Stephen kept his spirits up and the crowd cheered him on, wanting more tennis, but in the end, Don took the second set 6-1; claiming the 2014 Men’s Singles Championship. Both athletes showed great poise and sportsmanship throughout.
The crowd of about 40 spectators enjoyed the beautiful Sunday tennis along with pizza, sodas, and beer. We hope that all of you will come out to watch our Calcutta tournament the weekend of October 11 & 12, with the auction in the Galaxy Room on October 10th at 6:30pm. Come buy a team and support the Boys & Girls Club of Venice!