Sunday, April 3, 2011

Orange Blossom Tennis Championships,Orlando FL

Greetings from Orlando! Site of the 2011 Orange Blossom Tennis Championships on the GLTA tour. This is my first tournament on the tour this year and the first time I have ever travelled on tour in the first half  of the year. Should be a lot of fun. I was asked earlier this year by a friend of mine to compete in doubles together sometime this year and we decided on Orlando to make our debut. Shawn Stingel is actually an arch-nemesis of mine. He has beaten me in the B singles draw the past 2 of 3 years in Raleigh,NC at the CMTC. So of course I gladly accepted his invitation with a "If you can't beat em...join em" attitude! Very excited to have the opportunity to compete with Shawn and I hope we play well together.

This is my fourth year on the tour. I average about 2 events a year. To date I have played New York,Raleigh,Washington DC,Atlanta, and of course now here in Orlando. My best results so far was at "The Peach" in Atlanta in 2009 where I made the semifinals in both singles and doubles. My goal of course is to win an event in the future and I think I have the game to produce a win,but as with all GLTA events you can lose in the first round and still have a great time. All the events Ive attended treat the players very well with all types of travel perks including feeding its players and tons of travel discounts on local restaurants and hotels. The GLTA is very ideal for me because it incorporates two of my biggest and favorite hobbies. Tennis and travel!

Considering my two quarterfinal appearances in last years events as the #6 seed in Raleigh and the #7 seed in Washington DC,I was unable to grab a seeding in the main draw of this years OBTC in Orlando. The field must be stacked with very good competition to lets prepare to battle.....

Day 1: Friday April 1st::
Day one of the tourney started with a 6 hour delay due to violent storms sweeping through Florida on Wednesday and Thursday. The first two rounds were abbreviated to 8 game pro sets(One set; first player to 8). As usual I started slow out of the gates but managed to pull off a first round win (8-7) A tiebreaker to decide it and a nail biter all the day. Round 2 was scheduled an hour after I completed my first match but lucky me....The guy never bothered to show up and I won by default....a walkover. You'd think a man willing to pay 120.00 for this event would arrive on time. On to the third round!

Day 2, Saturday April 2nd::
Playing on the GLTA requires starting your day at 6:30am to meet your 8:00am start times. This takes away from the cities night life and drinking the night away as long as you remain in the draw. Sorry Orlando...will have to tour you next time. My opening match was against the #4 seed Grant H from Greenville,SC. A very quick lead of 3-0 was completely erased and suddenly I'm down 4-3. Nerves took over and lost the first set 4-6. After rolling through the second set with an easy 6-2 effort, I decided to sleep through the first half of the third set and found myself down 2-5. I clawed my way back to a 7-6 victory in the third round! Sweet!
My quarterfinal was against a personal friend of mine;Bryan Gesinski. I started the match at noon and it did not end til a little after 3:00pm. I was blitzed in the first set 1-6. Got down 2-4 in the second set...woke up and found myself sweating out a 7-5 victory in the second set. The third set was a complete nail biter. We both could not hold on to leads and by the end of the set we were drained physically. Crawling to the finish line Bryan took me out 6-7(5).

My third straight quarterfinal appearance on the GLTA. Orlando is overall a great tournament with the perfect tourney director. The venue is beautiful and serene. I hope to add it again in the future. Next stop on tour: The Pinkster,June10-13,Amsterdam,The Netherlands.....see y'all there :)

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