Raintree Hosts Expanded Davenport Draws

By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer

Raintree Hosts Expanded Davenport Draws

The Davenport City Tennis Championships got under way Thursday at Raintree Swim and Racquet Club, and ….

Hold on! Isn’t the city tournament supposed to be played at Byrd Park in mid-May?

Well, that’s where and when it’s been held for a number of years, but with the draws shrinking dramatically, the Richmond Tennis Association decided to move the event to Raintree in early August to see if that would help attract more players.

It seemed to work. The women’s draw, which has had as few as two in recent years, has 10 players, while the men’s draw swelled to 30, one of the biggest fields in a while.

“I think it’s great,” said five-time women’s champion Bridget Reichert. “We don’t have the conflicts with high-school tennis. And the college players are maybe looking to get back into the groove of things. I think it’s worked out well.

“The women’s draw is double last year’s and the men’s is bigger, too. The men’s doubles looks amazing.”

Neither Reichert nor Ginny Wortham (three titles), who have eight championships between them, are seeded. Newcomer Janet  Fleishman, a former All-American for Wake Forest, is the top seed while defending champion Nina Sorkin is second.

Sorkin, Deep Run High School’s No. 1 player, coasted past Anna Sidhu, who was Mills Godwin’s No. 2 player last season, 6-0, 6-1.

“We were willing to try anything to get people to play,” said Wortham, who has been in the final for six straight years. “I was really excited to see the size of the draws, especially the women’s draw. I haven’t had a round of 16 match in several years, which is awesome.”

Wortham defeated Brooke Connatser 6-2, 6-1 in her opening match.

The tournament also added prize money for the winner and runner-up in each draw, as well as free beverages for the players.

“I think the biggest difference is those players getting ready to go play college tennis start practicing and want to get match play in before they go back to school, which is usually the second or third week in August,” said  tournament director Eddie Parker.

“When they’re playing college tennis and finishing in May, they’re exhausted from a long season, and the last thing they want to do is play competitive tennis. They want to take a month or two break.

“The other thing is the high school kids are in the middle of their season [in May], and they’re playing a lot of tennis and they’re getting ready for the playoffs.  Plus, they’re playing weekend tournaments so they need a break, too. Right now they aren’t playing that much.”

Raintree used to play host to the state tournament during this time of the year, and it attracted big draws and large crowds.

“Raintree is pretty excited about having it,” said Parker, co-owner of the western Henrico County facility. “It brings back memories of the state tournament. We know we’re going to hold it next year, so we’ll have more time to plan and more time to get more sponsors and more players.”

On the men’s side, four seeded players were in action and all of them won in straight sets.

Fifth-seeded Matthew Fernandez, who plays No. 1 singles for St. Christopher’s, led the way with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Jake Smith. No. 6 Kevin McMillen, No. 7 Adam Collins and No. 8 Sameer Kumar also advanced.

Singles play resumes at 5:30 on Friday and the men’s doubles will begin later in the evening.

 

WOMEN’S SINGLES

First round – Bridget Reichert d. Arshaya Sood 6-0, 6-4; Sophia Mitchell d. Anya Sood 7-5, 6-1; Ginny Wortham d. Brooke Connatser 6-2, 6-1; Nina Sorkin d. Anna Sidhu 6-0, 6-1

MEN’S SINGLES

First round – Matthew Cousins d. Connor Moncure 6-3, 4-0, ret.; Joseph Brown d. Tracy Jones 6-0, 6-1; Ryan Bernstine d. Eric Perkins 6-2, 7-6 (7-5); Jake Smith d. Baxter Carter 6-4, 3-6, 6-3;  Karl Katlaps d. Yusufu Ibrahim 6-1, 6-1; Michael Anthony d. Tappan August 6-4, 6-2.

Second round — Grant Sarver d. Jack Snider 6-0, 6-1; Scott Phillips d. David Magner 6-0, 6-0; Sameer Kumar d. James Pollard 6-4, 6-3; Dillon Sykes d. Henry Malolino 6-1, 6-3; Naveen Chennupati d. Andrew Carey d. 6-2, 6-1; Kevin McMillen d. Mouhamed Gueye 7-5, 6-2; Adam Collins d. Cousins 6-3, 6-3; Matthew Fernandez d. Smith 6-1, 6-0.

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