Davis-Koontz Duo Reigns Over City Mixed Event

Davis-Koontz Duo Reigns Over City Mixed Event

With four of the best players in the area teaming up for the Mercedes Benz Greater Richmond Mixed Doubles Championships, a close final appeared more than likely when they squared off April 21 at acac-Midlothian.

And that’s exactly what happened in the final, as the top-seeded duo of Mason Davis and Hunter Koontz outlasted the No. 2 seeds, Nina Sorkin and Chase Bernstine, 9-8 (10-8) in an entertaining windup to a highly successful two days.

A total of 41 teams in three divisions competed for prize money in the two-day event, while one lucky player was chosen from a drawing to win a three-day, expenses-paid trip for two to New York for the opening rounds of the U.S. Open Aug. 27-30.

While he didn’t win the mixed title, Bernstine’s name came out of the bin for the New York trip. Not a bad consolation prize.

Perhaps the biggest winner of all was the Central Virginia chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which received a check for $3,400 after all of the entry fees ($40 per person) were contributed to the charity.

Rain forced some of the activity to be moved indoors at acac, and that was the case Friday night when the semis and finals in all three divisions were played inside.

Before facing Sorkin and Bernstine, the No. 1 seeds were forced to turn back a challenge in the semifinals from Westwood Racquet Club pros Olga Barscheuskaya and Chris Cosby 8-6. Barscheuskaya is a former No. 1 singles player at VCU while Cosby starred for Mills Godwin High.

Sorkin and Bernstine, both high school aces, had coasted into the final with an 8-2 decision over Ginny Wortham and Chris Mumford.

Sorkin’s serve was broken in the third game, allowing Koontz and Davis to take a 3-1 lead, but Davis lost her serve to tie it at 4-all, and it remained neck and neck the rest of the way to set up a deciding, 10-point tiebreaker.

This was the first time Davis and Koontz, both Country Club of Virginia teaching pros, had played together, and they made a formidable pair.

“Hunter just started with us at CCV two weeks ago, and we thought we’d give it a whirl,” said Davis, 29, the event coordinator at CCV.

“We jelled pretty good,” said Koontz, 24, a two-time city singles champion and a standout at Virginia Tech in his college days.

“I told him after the second match I figured out how to play with him,” said Davis, who played collegiately at Longwood. “He’s powerful so like, I don’t have to move. I just let him do his thing, and he was good serving all the time.”

Said Koontz, “I was about to cramp because of all that tennis. A lot of tennis in one night.”

In the tiebreaker, Davis and Koontz took a 3-0 advantage but the Sorkin-Bernstine duo fought back to 5-all. Then, Davis-Koontz claimed four of the next five points to assume a 9-6 lead. After Bernstine saved two match points with his serve, Koontz ended it with an ace.

“Mason told me to go out wide, and I was like, ‘No, I like to hit my favorite serve,’ and she said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that sooner?’” said Koontz, a former standout for Deep Run High. “So then I hit it and it felt real good.”

Koontz and Davis split the $500 top prize, while Sorkin and Bernstine weren’t able to accept the $250 runner-up money because they both are still playing high school tennis and will be heading to Virginia Tech in the fall.

Sorkin is Deep Run’s No. 1 singles and doubles player, while Bernstine is the same for Goochland High.

Two days after the match, Koontz left Richmond for a five-week trip to Europe as a hitting partner for some of the top American women as they prepare for tournaments overseas leading up to the French Open in Paris late next month.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Koontz. “It’s a big opportunity for someone like me. An unbelieveable experience.”

Bernstine wasn’t sure about using the U.S. Open package himself because of his commitments at Tech.

“I might have a tournament that weekend,” he said. “I’d probably give it to my parents.”

Mixed 7.0 Champions

Mixed 9.0 Champions

In the 7.0 final, Denise Terrell and Brian Zollinhofer defeated Ashlyn DesMarteau and Robert Coby 8-2, while Nathalie Esteves and Naveen Chennupati beat Lindsey Howard and Matthew Berens 8-4 for the 9.0 title.

“We had 86 players, which was a wonderful turnout,” said Bill Carli, president of the co-sponsoring Richmond Tennis Association. “That was thanks to the hard work of our sponsor, Mercedes, and Jason Kinder running the tournament.”

The other divisions of the city tournament are scheduled for later this year, with the family doubles coming up next on May 13 at Byrd Park and the juniors May 26-29 at the same location.

The open singles and doubles, the most prestigious events on the calendar, will be staged at Raintree Swim and Racquet Club for the third straight year on July 27-31. Prize money will be on the line in all of the divisions.

Quarterfinals – Mason Davis-Hunter Koontz d. Vandana Murali-Sung Kang 8-1; Olga Barscheuskaya-Chris Cosby d. Chrissie Seredni-Matt Magner 9-7; Ginny Wortham-Chris Mumford d. Sheela Damie-Al Thomas 8-2; Nina Sorkin-Chase Bernstine d. Karolina Fleming-Simon Sjogren 8-2.

Semifinals – Davis-Koontz d. Barscheuskaya-Cosby 8-6; Sorkin-Bernstine d. Wortham-Mumford 8-2.

Final – Davis-Koontz d. Sorkin-Bernstine 9-8 (10-8).