2019 USTA FL “Bobby Curtis” 16s & 18s Sectional Doubles Championships
Five Duos Earn Titles on Sunday
October 6, 2019
Day two of the 2019 USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” 16s & 18s Sectional Doubles Championships, held at the USTA National Campus, saw a total of five duos claim titles. Only the boys’ 16s crown has yet to be decided, with that final scheduled to be contested on Monday.
Listed below are the championship duos from Sunday’s action.
Boys’ 18s: Gabriel Diaz (Rockledge)/Colin Tavares (Titusville)
Girls’ 16s: Sophie Llewellyn (Tarpon Springs)/Ryan Wuhrman (Lake Worth)
Girls’ 18s: Natalie Block (Plantation)/Lara Smejkal (Boca Raton)
Mixed 16s: Valeria Centeno (Hialeah)/Santiago Cardenas (Orlando)
Mixed 18s: Natalie Block (Plantation)/Colin Tavares (Titusville)
Originally slated to take place in September but postponed by Hurricane Dorian, the event is now being played over two weekends. Competitors in the 16s and 18s age divisions have taken to the courts this weekend while tandems in the 12s and 14s will get their shot at Sunshine State glory Oct. 19-21.
The lone remaining divisional final should be an entertaining one, as top seeds Santiago Cardenas (Orlando) and Zamaan Moledina (Delray Beach) will clash with No. 2 seeds Amadeus Charlez-Alcock (Melbourne Beach) and Max Lindstrom (Satellite Beach). Neither duo gave away a set in reaching the championship round, with the No. 1 seeds dropping just 14 games while Charlez-Alcock and Lindstrom have lost 21 games in total.
The favorites heading into the weekend have already prevailed in the boys’ 18s draw. Top-seeded Gabriel Diaz (Rockledge) and Colin Tavares (Titusville) were sharp in the morning’s semifinals, dismissing No. 4 Alexander Koussev (Lake Mary) and Alexey Timokhine (Orlando) 6-1, 6-4. That set up a showdown with third seeds Eric Berenblit (Palm Coast) and Sami Ozzor (Daytona Beach), who survived a tense 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 encounter versus No. 2 seeds Christopher Mendivil (Jupiter) and Benjamin Zipay (Osprey).
As with all of their previous matches, Diaz and Tavares raced through the first set, this time at a 6-2 margin. The second frame would remain tight until the end, being pushed to a tiebreak before Diaz and Tavares pulled away seven points to two. The triumph was a breakthrough for Tavares, who had to settle for fourth in the USTA National Doubles Championships in the 18s division in August.
Girls’ 16s champions Sophie Llewellyn (Tarpon Springs) and Ryan Wuhrman (Lake Worth) had a long day on court, needing to get through two match tiebreaks before they could raise the first-place trophies. Seeded third in the draw, they stunned top seeds Isabel Pacheco (Weston) and Daniela Porges (Plantation) 6-1 in the opening set and ended up holding on for a 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 victory. Unseeded Valeria Centeno (Hialeah) and Brooke Dugarte (Miami) posed a serious threat in the final, taking set one by a tight 6-4 score line. However, Llewellyn and Wuhrman dug in and rallied back to take the title 4-6, 6-1, 1-0.
The quest for a historic second girls’ 18s crown for Ayshe Can (Weston) and Karly Friedland (Hollywood) fell short on Sunday. They did not have any trouble advancing to the championship contest, while second seeds Natalie Block (Plantation) and Lara Smejkal (Boca Raton) were just a few points away from defeat in the semifinals, outlasting the unseeded pairing of Finley Kalinic (Delray Beach) and Amber McGinnis (Pompano Beach) 6-7(2), 7-5, 1-0. The final ended in a bit of a stunning result, as Block and Smejkal dominated Can and Friedland 6-1, 6-2.
Cardenas will actually be aiming for his second title on Monday, as he and Centeno were crowned the champions in the mixed 16s division as the No. 4 seeds Sunday evening. They got through a seemingly tough matchup with the top-seeded tandem of Dugarte and Moledina 8-3. A spirited challenge from unseeded Wuhrman and Charlie Cowan (Orlando) in the final was eventually thwarted by a comfortable 8-4 margin. Cardenas and Centeno emerged victorious in the 14s division in 2018.
Capping off their tremendous day at the National Campus, No. 1 Block and Tavares teamed up for a comprehensive 8-3 victory against second seeds Jakob Pilones (Bradenton) and Paradise Traub (Bradenton) in the mixed 18s final.
The remaining boys’ 16s matches, including the championship contest, will get underway at 9 a.m. Monday morning. For more information on the 2019 USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” 16s & 18s Sectional Doubles Championships, click here.