You may have seen our preview a few days ago where we highlighted Bonita Springs’ Emma Heiderscheit and Viva Laas in the Girls 18s of the 2017 Florida Open, headquartered at Lexington Country Club. This USTA National Level 3 hosted by the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA) and directed by the LCCTA’s Executive Director, Lyn Bruner, begins tomorrow morning at 8:00am with doubles play.
Well, Heiderscheit, the bubbly 16-year-old who can look me in the eye without looking up, isn’t seeded and she has to contend with Elvina Kalieva of Pembroke Pines, who is coming off a Finals effort at the USTA National Level 2 in Georgia this past week. This first-round matchup will be no picnic for Heiderscheit, who will open her campaign at Cypress Lakes Country Club at 9:30am tomorrow (Saturday).
Laas is seeded eighth and her first singles match is scheduled for 11:15am at Cypress Lakes as well. On paper, the matchup against unseeded Ava Markham of Demarest, New Jersey is one that Lass should be able to handle, but nothing is easy at this level, and these matches will be played on clay, not paper. Laas and her doubles partner Payton Andrews of Seminole are seeded fourth and are scheduled to begin doubles play on Sunday at 2:30pm.
Although not local to “The 239,” 16-year-old Sophia Edwards of Nokomis is seeded second, the highest seeding for a Floridian in the Girls18s. Edwards failed to uphold her seeding in the USTA Florida Level 3 Bobby Curtis State Championships last month, but did reach the Final of the USTA Florida Level 4 at Gulfstream in Delray Beach in May. It’ll be interesting to see how she fares in this highly competitive national event. Sophia is scheduled to play her first singles match on Saturday at 11:15am at Lexington.
The 239’s biggest hopes in the Boys’ 18s may rest with 16-year-old (17 next month) JanMagnus Johnson (although Jake Beasley may have something to say about that). Johnson and his partner Matthew Fung of Miami are seeded second in doubles and he is the No.4 Seed in singles. A Naples native who trains at Jesse Witten’s Tough Tennis Academy in Naples, we have no truer representative in the event. Johnson has no posted results since his Finals appearance at the ITF Plantation event in May, so there’s no telling if he’s on form…unless, of course, you come out to Lexington Saturday morning at 8:00am for his doubles match, or for his singles match scheduled for 11:15am.
In our preview, we also noted that Jake Beasley, a student at Academia Sanchez-Casal in Naples, would be representing The 239 in the Boys’ 18s. Beasley has a good test right out of the gate with 17-year-old southpaw Henry Patrick Cacciatore of Tampa, the No.5 Seed. Cacciatore most recently made it to the Quarters of the USTA National Level 2 in Rome, Georgia this week. Beasley’s recent quarterfinal finish in singles at the USTA Southern Section Boys’ 18s is a good sign heading in. His first singles match is scheduled for 9:30am at Lexington Country Club, but that is contingent upon completion of his first doubles match, scheduled for 8:00am on Lexington’s back courts.
Let’s hope that the rain goes on holiday and all proceeds as planned over the four days of the event. We will be bringing you daily updates and photos from the event, but there’s nothing like seeing these awesome players live. Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club (Boys’ 16s) and Heritage Palms Country Club (Girls’ 16s) will also be featuring these national level juniors beginning at 8:00am on Saturday morning as well. Game, set, match…