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From The Court To The Road: JMTA Directors Emge, Evans To Run NYC Marathon

JMTA Directors Nate Emge and Greg Evans are trading in their tennis shoes for running shoes on Sunday when they take to the roads of the five boroughs for the NYC Marathon.

See their fundraising pages below to support their efforts through the James Blake Foundation.

https://www.crowdrise.com/jamesblakeNYC2015/fundraiser/gregevans1

https://www.crowdrise.com/jamesblakeNYC2015/fundraiser/nateemge

You can follow Greg and Nate’s progress by searching for “TCS NYC Marathon” in your smartphone’s App store and entering their bib numbers (Nate: 15858; Greg: 15864).

Good luck guys!

Loeb Tabbed UNC Athlete of the Year, ACC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year

Huge dual honors for JMTA standout and University of North Carolina soph Jamie Loeb, who has been named both the UNC Female Athlete of the Year and ACC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year by the school and conference, respectively.

Loeb earned the ACC honor for the second straight year. She is ranked No. 7 in singles this week according to the ITA. She has compiled a 23-4 singles record during the 2014-15 campaign, including an 18-2 mark in dual matches this spring. She went 13-1 against the ACC and is a remarkable 27-1 against the league the last two seasons playing exclusively at No. 1 singles.

Seven Win Weekend Titles

Seven JMTA students earned championships, including five in singles, the weekend ending Feb. 25.

Lubomir Cuba won in Boys 18 singles at the L1 New Shrewsbury Racquet Club Eastern Grand Prix; Sean Patrick was the Boys 18 champ at the L1B Point Set Tennis February Challenger; and Harrison Gradin (pictured) took Boys 10 singles at the L1B Tennis Gladiatorz Championships; and Taylor Overstrom won Girls 12 singles at the L2O Sportime Lynbrook.

Three JMTA students won at Boys 14 at the L2O Jericho/Westbury Winter Open: Harrison Saladini was the singles champ and the tandem of Aaron and Alex Vinsky won the doubles title.

Full results:

+L1 New Shrewsbury Racquet Club Eastern Grand Prix

Boys’ 18 Singles

Lubomir Cuba; Champion

Sean Mullins; Quarterfinalist; won one consolation match

Oliver Sec; Quarterfinalist

Athell Bennett; Round of 16; won two consolation matches

Same Turchetta; Round of 16

Maurice Russo; won one consolation match

Colin Sacco; Main Draw

Jake Bhangdia; Main Draw

Stephen Gruppuso; Main Draw

+L1 West Rock Eastern Grand Prix

Girls’ 16 Singles

Aleksandra Bekirova; Quarterfinalist

Ashley Lessen; Quarterfinalist

Georgia Ryan; won three consolation matches

Nathalie Rodilosso; won two consolation matches

Chelsea Williams; won one consolation match

Merri Kelly; Main Draw

+L1 Bogota Eastern Grand Prix

Boys’ 12 Singles

Maxwell Kachkarov; Quarterfinalist; won one consolation match

Sebastian Sec; Quarterfinalist

Luca DeMare; Round of 16

Alexander Karman; Round of 16

Wesley Zhang; won two consolation matches

Sachin Palta; Main Draw

Sam Scherer; Main Draw

Jack Benavides; Main Draw

Sidharth Chawla; Main Draw

+L1 Stadium Tennis Center Eastern Grand Prix

Boys’ 14 Singles

Blake Frank; Round of 16

Maxwell Moadel; Round of 16

Joseph Wilkanowski; Round of 16

Harrison Saladini; Round of 32

Tristan Taylor; Round of 32

Robbie Werdiger; Round of 32

Justin Oresky; Main Draw

Harry Portnoy; Main Draw

Sujay Sharma; Main Draw

+L1 Mtn Lakes Eastern Grand Prix

Girls’ 14 Singles

Katelyn Walker; Round of 16

Calista Sha; won one consolation match

+L1 Tiger Tennis Eastern Grand Prix

Girls’ 18 Singles

Michelle Sorokko; Round of 16; won three consolation matches

Gillian Perrotta; Round of 16

Christina Puccinelli; Round of 16

Loren Haukova; won two consolation matches

Sabrina Barisano; Main Draw

+L1 WOTC Eastern Grand Prix

Boys’ 16 Singles

Cannon Kingsley; Round of 16; won one consolation match

Daniel Weitz; Round of 32

Brandon Grill; Round of 32

Gardner Howe; Round of 32

Timothy Nacca; Main Draw

Neel Raj; Main Draw

Lantis Wang; Main Draw

Peter Frelinghuysen; Main Draw

+L1 Jersey 34 Eastern Grand Prix

Girls’ 12 Singles

Rebecca Suarez; Main Draw

L1B Point Set Tennis February Challenger

Boys’ 18 Singles

Sean Patrick; Champion

Colin Sacco; Finalist

L1B Tennis Gladiatorz Championships

Boys’ 10 Singles

Harrison Gradin; Champion

Dominick Mosejczuk; Finalist

Bobby Duskin; Semifinalist

L1B Sportime Lake Isle February Challenger

Girls’ 14 Singles

Zoe Kava; Finalist

Audrey Pacthod; Quarterfinalist

Boys’ 14 Singles

Nikolay Sahakyan; Quarterfinalist

L1B Bethpage State Park Winter Challenger

Boys’ 12 Singles

Sam Scherer; Finalist; defeated #2 seed

Gunnar Overstrom; Semifinalist

L2O Jericho/Westbury Winter Open

Boys’14

Harrison Saladini; Singles Champion

Aaron Vinsky; Singles Semifinalist; Doubles Champion

Alex Vinsky; Singles Semifinalist; Doubles Champion

Girls’ 14 Singles

Leah Margulies; Finalist; defeated #1 seed

Jih Su Ryu; Semifinalist

L2O Sportime Lynbrook

Girls’ 12 Singles

Taylor Overstrom; Champion

Eleanor Apps; Semifinalist

Boys’ 16 Singles

Jackson Trevor; Quarterfinalist

Boys’ 12 Singles

Jack Volpert; Quarterfinalist

L2O Hardscrabble February Open

Boys’ 16 Singles

Ethan Finley; Semifinalist

L2O NYJTL February Open

Girls’ 12 Singles

Julia Werdiger; Singles Semifinalist

Elizabeth Tsvetkova Back from Injury

After recovering from a serious knee injury, JMTA’s Elizabeth Tsvetkova is back training at JMTA.  Like fellow JMTA player Julian Rozenstein, Liz underwent surgery to repair her knee.  Though the surgery was successful, she has been sidelined for almost a year.  Still, Liz stayed at JMTA interacting with friends and coaches and rehabilitating/ training with JMTA trainer, SportsLabs’ own Andrew Small.

This past Wednesday was Liz’s first day back on the court.  Though only able to play mini-tennis with Academy Director Lawrence Kleger, she is feeling good.  “One of the toughest parts of coming back from an injury like this is the risk of re-injury” says Liz.  “If I plan on playing at the level I was before the injury, which I do, I have to learn to trust my knee and put my focus on getting my game back.”  Liz will continue to train with both Andrew and Lawrence in the coming weeks and months.  A return to tournament play has not be set yet, though her goal is to begin competition again in June.

Julian Rozenstein Returns from Injury

Julian Rozenstein practicing at JMTA for the first time in months.

Julian Rozenstein practicing at JMTA for the first time in months.

JMTA’er Julian Rozenstein hasn’t played tennis since early December when he made the round of 16s of Panama Bowl.   Before, during, and after Panama bowl Julian felt a popping in his knee that ended up needing surgery.  Since then, Julian has been rehabbing and strengthening his knee in an effort to get back on the ITF junior circuit as soon as possible.  Today, Julian returned to the JMTA practice courts at Randall’s Island for the first time since his surgery.

Julian’s coach, JMTA Assistant Academy Director Felix Alvarado, is happy Julian has returned to the court, “It’s been a long wait, but worthwhile.  His knee seems stronger than ever and the absence of discomfort will help his tennis game.” Julian plans to return to the ITF junior circuit this March with his comeback tournament being the Copa Universidad Galileo in Guatemala.  “I’m definitely excited to be back!” says Julian. “The goal now is to train my hardest and take home the title in Guatemala.”

Jessica Golovin Opens at Copa Barranquilla with Singles and Doubles Wins

Copa Barranquilla, a Grade 1 ITF Tournament in Colombia, kicked off the main draw this week and JMTA’s Jessica Golovin is participating.  Jessica, playing in both the singles and the doubles, began her tournament with three wins – two in doubles and one in singles.

In the doubles, Jessica with partner Mayuka Aikawa of Japan won their first and second round matches, both in nail-biting fashion.  Their first round match, against a Colombian tandem, Jessica and Mayuka won 7-6 (4), 4-6, [10-7].  In their second round match, the girls beat a French team in a see-saw 0-6, 6-0, [10-4] match.  On Wednesday, in the quarterfinals, Jessica and Mayuka face the top seeded team of Dasha Ivanova and Jacqueline Adina Cristian.  Jacqueline and Dasha are the #2 and #4 seeds in the singles draw, respectively.

In singles,  Jessica has reached the 2nd round after defeating Canadian Alexis Prokopuik in a close 7-6 (9), 6-2 victory.  Next up for Jessica is the 14th seeded Russian Anna Blinkova.

Chesnokova Completes Impressive Jr. Orange Bowl Run

Young JMTA’er, Anastasiya Chesnokova, lost last week to fellow Ukrainian, 9th seeded Anastasia Poplavska in the 2nd round of the main draw of the 2013 Junior Orange Bowl.  That match culminated a week of tennis for Anastasiya.  Not ranked high enough to be placed directly into the main draw, Anastasiya won three straight matches in the qualifying rounds to make it to the main draw.  In the main draw, Anastasiya shocked Japan’s Riko Suzuki, 6-1, 6-1, before falling to Poplavska.  Felix Alvarado, Anastasiya’s Coach, is “very proud of Anastasiya and excited to see how she does in upcoming tournaments.”

JMTA’er Jamie Loeb Dominates the Fall Season!

Jamie just finished up the best fall tennis season in UNC history just one win away from a perfect season, ending the fall 19-1. Jamie’s domination of women’s college tennis is best shown in numbers.  In the 20 matches Jamie played, she managed to drop only three sets (two of which came in her lone loss to Texas’ Breaunna Addison), giving her a 93% winning percentage.  Also, illustrating her dominance, Jamie lost three games or less in 75% of the 41 sets she played.  These opponents are hardly pushovers.  In fact, 19 of her 20 matches were against NCAA ranked opponents and 7 of her 19 wins came against opponents in the top-20, including wins over the #1, #2, #3, and #4 ranked college players in the country!  And, to top it off, Jamie became the first freshman in NCAA history to win the ITA All-American and ITA Indoor Championships in the same season, and the first UNC Woman to win an ITA fall major in singles.

With her remarkable performance comes obvious questions about Jamie’s next steps.  I sat down with Jamie’s JMTA coach, Felix Alvarado, to discuss Jamie’s future:

Q: Does Jamie plan on turning pro and if so, when?

A: The short answer is yes. The timing is what we don’t know yet. We have to wait and see how the spring season develops.  If she dominates the spring like she did in the fall, then it is more likely that she will turn pro after her freshman year.

Q: What are Jamie’s feelings about turning pro?

A: She is very excited, but like me, is not sure of when to take the next step.  She enjoys playing in college and enjoys the team, the coaches, and UNC in general, but she is not sure when to make the plunge.

Q: What factors go into determining when to turn pro?

A: There are many factors that go into her decision, many of them personal, but winning NCAA’s would be a good time to turn pro as she would receive a wild card into the U.S. Open main draw.

Q: Jamie was almost unbeatable this year, which raises questions about the competition level in NCAA D1 tennis. Do you feel the level of competition is holding her back?

A: I don’t think it is holding her back because she is getting good practice and a lot of match play experience.  However, if she stays too long, then I think she’ll plateau.  She absolutely made the right decision to go to college, and I trust she will make the right decision, whatever it is, when it comes to turning pro.

Jamie returns to JMTA next week to continue training with Felix.  Then, just before the NCAA spring season begins, she’ll play in The Vero Beach International Tennis Open, a $25K pro tournament.  Jamie’s performance in the spring season will have a big influence on her decision whether or not to turn pro after her freshman year.

Lebedev Ousted; Golovin Advances in 2013 Orange Bowl

This week the world’s best juniors have gathered at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida for the 2013 Orange Bowl.  The John McEnroe Tennis Academy sent two of our best juniors, Jessica Golovin and Sasha Lebedev, to represent JMTA in the tournament.  While Sasha did not need to qualify for the main draw, Jessica did, and did so by winning three straight matches in the qualifying rounds.  Main draw matches began this week.

Sasha, competing in the Boys 16s, played a great first round match against M. Maldonado Rodriguez from Ecuador, beating him 6-2, 6-1.  However, in today’s 2nd round match, Sasha faced 8th seeded Soon Woo Kwon of South Korea.  Sasha fought hard, but couldn’t keep up with Kwon and lost the match 6-3, 6-2.

The Girl’s 18s tournament is one round behind, so Jessica played her 1st round match today.  Her opening round opponent, Anastasiya Rychagova, did not need to play 3 matches to qualify for the main draw like Jessica did.  Still, Jessica was willing to go the distance.  After splitting the first two sets,  Jessica won the 3rd set to win the match 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 and advance to a 2nd round match up vs. the #16 seed, Isabelle Wallace of Great Britain.  Jessica’s JMTA coach, Bruce Haddad, was very excited with her win.  “She’s a fighter,” said Bruce, and “she has a heart of gold!”  Jessica moves on to play Wallace Wednesday morning.