2003 MEN'S & WOMEN'S
USTA NATIONAL OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
USTA National Tennis Center
Flushing Meadow, New York - December 27-30, 2003
Tuesday, December 30th-Final Day
The level of tennis did not decline as college players led the final field at the Men's & Women's USTA National Open Championships.
University of Miami freshman Josh Cohen took the men's singles title in his toughest match of the tournament. Former St. John's player Erik Scharf, who hasn't played much lately while concentrating on his post-graduate work, kept up the pressure before Josh's 6-4,7-5 win. Earlier in the day, Erik had easily defeated Eric Langenkamp of Notre Dame while Josh eliminated the tournaments surprise semifinalist, unseeded Srath Saengsuwarn of Princeton. The two played off for third place with Eric taking the bronze ball when Srath retired with an injury at 6-2,2-0.
The women's final was quite different from the men's. Touring Pro Maren Haus dominated the first set over seventeen year old Polina Zaretser. It seemed as if Polina, who was fighting a cough and fever, would be an easy match until the second set. Down 4-0, the Brooklyn teen made a play at a comeback and brought the former Wake Forest player to 5-4. In the end, though, it was Maren's match, 6-1,6-4. Since both Aibika Kalsarieva and Nicole Hubnerova retired from their semifinal matches yesterday there was no third place playoff.
The men's doubles final consisted of all college players. Understandably it was Wake Forest teammates Brett Ross and Andrew Simpson who dominated the match. Keith Kessler of Florida Tech and Michael Racioppo of Quinnipac were formadable opponents, but didn't have enough experience playing together and lost, 6-3,6-1. Ryan Davidson and Julie Shiflet were the mixed doubles winners.
In addition to their gold balls, today's singles winners earn wildcards into USTA Pro Circuit events. Most important, all players took home the great experience of playing an "Open" event among the juniors, college players, coaches and pros.
Some interesting facts learned at the Men's & Women's USTA National Open Championships...
...Ian Bliss has played college tennis for three schools in three years. The first two schools he attended -- Bowling Green and West Virginia -- each dropped their programs soon after he arrived. He is now at home at the University of Maryland, College Park...
...The Colgate team, which was well represented here through Reed Hagmann and Eric Saccullo, is looking toward winning its first Patriot League Championship this year...
...Glenn Michibata, a former college and junior star who now coaches at Princeton, decided to play because he was driving here anyway with his player Srath Saengsuwarn. It was a similar situation for Nicole Hubernova, who is the coach of junior player Dasha Cherkasov.
...Josh Cohen, who didn't even consider going to college for a long time, made the Dean's List at the University of Miami this semester.
Until Next Year,
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