Chase Bernstine Making Mark in Open Division
A year ago, the three Bernstine brothers cleaned up in the junior divisions of the Davenport City Tennis Championships.
Now, the eldest, 15-year-old Chase Bernstine, is taking aim at the open division. Specifically, the men’s singles category, where he faced one of the top juniors in the area in the opening round Wednesday at Hermitage Country Club.
The match was moved from Byrd Park because of thunderstorms that persisted from the afternoon into the evening and forced all play indoors. Some of the first-round matches were also played at the Country Club of Virginia.
Bernstine and Matthew Fernandez, who played No. 1 singles for Prep League champion St. Christopher’s this spring, battled on pretty even terms through most of their match before Bernstine posted a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
The two juniors traded powerful ground strokes, and each came to the net on occasion to try and put away winners,
“He’s a pretty good player,” said Bernstine, a rising sophomore at Goochland High School. “You can’t really hit winners off of him. You have to work the point. There was a lot of intensity. A lot of ups and downs. I was kind of glad to pull it out.”
A left-hander, Bernstine appeared on the verge of closing it out when he served for the match at 5-4 in the second. But Fernandez hung in there and erased five match points to even the set at 5-all. But the rising junior at St. Chris couldn’t go any further.
“I think where I messed up was once it got to 5-all, I kind of relaxed and let off the pedal a little bit,” said Fernandez, who plays out of the Westwood Club. “If I could go back and change something, I would try to be focused a little more at 5-all.
“But credit to him, he hit some big shots at 5-all. He came up with the goods.”
After wasting the match points, Bernstine didn’t lose his composure and broke Fernandez’ serve in the 11th game before holding his serve at love to end it.
“It was all kind of a blur,” said Bernstine. “I tried to go for a big serve but I didn’t really play percentage points. Then when I was up 40-love again [in 12th game] I didn’t want to do the same thing so I decided to play the percentage and do a serve and volley.”
As a “reward” for reaching the second round, Bernstine meets second-seeded and two-time defending champion Eric Shulman Thursday at 6.
“It will be a really good experience, to try to see where I’m at,” said Bernstine. “I want to use these matches, wins and losses, as a springboard for my future.”
Chase’s father, Mark, is the director of tennis and fitness at Hermitage and has seen his son progress through the years.
“His thing is he tends to play a little bit defensive sometimes,” said the elder Bernstine. “One of the things we’re working on is him playing a little more aggressively. Trying to really take advantage of his lefty serve. Mix in some serve and volley.
“I’m happy with where he is now. He’s got a lot of potential. His game should grow and improve.”
Only two seeded players took the court on Wednesday and both of them advanced easily.
Ryan Radke, runner-up to Shulman the past two years, coasted past Conner Moncure 6-1, 6-2 while Brett Moorhead blanked Michael Sions 6-0, 6-0. Radke and Moorhead are part of a group co-seeded fifth in the field of 28.
Top-seeded Michal Ciszek isn’t scheduled to play his first match until Friday against Harris Blair at 6:30 p.m. at Byrd Park.
Chase Bernstine def. Matthew Fernandez 6-3, 7-5
Harris Blair def. Andrew Carey default
Travis Miller def. Trent Singleton 6-1, 6-3
(5) Brett Moorhead def. Michael Sions 6-0, 6-0
Justin Cerny def. Reginald Beard 6-1, 6-0
(5) Ryan Radke def. Conner Moncure 6-1, 6-2
Cosby/Fernandez def. Quinn/Terrell 6-3, 7-5
Carl/Harrell def. Khuorn/Napier 6-2, 6-0
Butterworth/Wortham def. Fuhr/Wyeth 6-2, 6-2
Parrish/Stafford def. Mitchell/Rhoney 6-1, 5-2 ret.
Butterworth/Butterworth def. Morgan/Vigneshwar 2-2 ret (injury)