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SoCal World Team Tennis team’s show world we mean business

By Matt Osias

Southern California made quite the splash at last months World Team Tennis Recreational League National Qualifier in Las Vegas, garnishing two teams with national finals bids in November.

At the 4.5 division, captain Julie Tinius-Juliani of Studio City led her team, Aces Up, to an undefeated 5-0 on the outing, while captain Emily Bonnet’s 3.5 team (of Woodland Hills), We Hate Late, earned their very first trip to the WTT National Finals, also finishing unbeaten at 5-0.

Tinius-Juliani’s team had just one close match, winning 25-23 over Paseo, though the rest of their matches were won somewhat effortlessly in the nine-team division. On their way to the finals, Aces Up recorded an unbelievable 36-0 demolition of team Bainspiration; it was the tournaments lone shutout. In the finals, Aces Up took out the Calabasas Challengers 30-24.

“It was a pretty routine tournament for us,” said Tinius-Juliani. “There were no big dramatics. It was all about having fun, and this is a great team with no egos to deal with.”

Although it was fairly uncomplicated for Aces Up to win this event, the team could not have done it without the solid play of Philippe Rodrigue, who went undefeated throughout the tournament “Philippe won every single match he played,” added Tinius-Juliani. “He really stood out.”

Having qualified for Nationals at Indian Wells in November, Aces Up will have to face tougher, more seasoned opponents. But Tinius-Juliani has no doubt her team will be up to the challenge.

“Our men and women are very strong,” said Tinius-Juliani. “I honestly think that we’ll give any team a run for their money.”

Aces Up - 4.5 Team
We Hate Late - 3.5 Team

The 3.5 team, We Hate Late, completed their flight with a perfect 3-0 record, good enough for the No. 3 seed heading into the next round. In the quarterfinal match against wildcard team Ray, Bonnet’s team barely scraped by, emerging the victorious 30-29.

En Route to a Division crown, team We Hate late dispatched the No. 2 seed Parque Central 30-26 and Team Krunk in the finals 31-27.

For those not entirely familiar with WTT Recreation League play, it is co-ed teams competing in a format that consists of six no-ad sets: one set each of men’s and women’s doubles, followed by men’s and women’s singles, and ending in two sets of mixed doubles.

Each team must have at least two men and two women (18 and over) on the maximum 10-player roster, and the divisions are broken up much the same way that they are in USTA-play, by NTRP rating. Though determining a team’s overall rating is quite different; the average NTRP rating of the top two men and top two women players on a team determine the team rating. Aces Up captain Tinius-Juliani likes the differences and feels that her players enjoy it as well.

“I enjoy the new format because it is something different,” said Tinius-Juliani. “Since every game matters, our players have to play full-on all the time, and it’s fun to be able to substitute in and out. With the co-ed format, everyone pulls for each other too. It really feels like a team.”

4.5 Division Champions Roster – team Aces Up:
Julie Tinius-Juliani (Capt.), Studio City, CA
Philippe Rodrigue, Studio City, CA
Richard Jennings, Sherman Oaks, CA
Ellie Harris, Sherman Oaks, CA
Karen Cohen, Encino, CA
Diane Perryman, Encino, CA
Tony Richards, Tarzana, CA
Erik Kortland, Manhattan Beach, CA

3.5 Division Champions Roster – team We Hate Late:
Emily Bonnett (Capt.), Woodland Hills, CA
Adam Davis, Tarzana, CA
Lisa Gechtman, Tarzana, CA
Tiffany Grana, Encino, CA
Elisa Hamed, Encino, CA
Nanette Klein, Hidden Hills, CA
Dwight Kuhlman, Canoga Park, CA
Jason De Costa, Woodland Hills, CA
Randa Osman, Encino, CA
Dennis Perryman, Encino, CA
Annemarie Raizman, Valley Village, CA

For the match score breakdowns on all the teams in the Las Vegas Qualifier, please click here.

Indian Wells, Ca., March — The 2007 Pacific Life Open, 
achieved a record attendance of 303,398, the first time any non-Grand Slam tournament has broken the 300,000 mark. In addition, the tournament set a single-day attendance record of 20,741 during the day session on Sunday, March 11. The attendance records headline a list of other milestones that were set throughout the two-week event.

A few of the record-setting highlights include the tournament being televised for more than 2,000 hours in over 200 countries around the world; more than 400 local, national and international journalists and photographers were onsite covering the tournament; travel package sales rose an impressive 37% compared to last year; www.PacificLifeOpen.com  had more than 1.75 million unique visitors over the course of the two weeks; there were 200 challenges on Stadium Court with regards to the new Electronic Line Calling system, with players winning 39% and losing 61% of the time; the tournament being named the 2006 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Tournament of the Year by the players for the second year in a row; and more celebrities than ever before came out including Melinda and Bill Gates, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Elizabeth Shue, Dr. Phil, Tommy Bahamas model Andy Lucchesi, Pacific Life Open owners Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, Greg Norman, Barbara Sinatra, Jeanette King and Boris Becker.

The 2008 Pacific Life Open will be held March 10-23.


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