An action-packed Friday at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships featured local standouts taking on ATP-ranked pros, players cramping and twisting ankles to retire from matches, a resumption of play that lasted only four points, players attempting under-hand serves and lightning and rain once again postponing play.
Nico Godsick, the young American player and son of Mary Joe Fernandez and Tony Godsick, was forced to retire from his quarterfinal singles match with Duarte Vale with an ankle injury and also had to withdraw from the doubles event. Read Harvey Fialkov’s story detailing the circumstances here: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/sports/2023/04/28/mardy-fish-pro-circuit-quarterfinals-end-in-bizarre-scary-fashion/70165124007/
Fifty-three-year-old James Bragg, the third oldest man to play in a main draw event on the USTA Pro Circuit, took the court with partner Ching Wang of the Sea Oaks Club, with whom he won the Mardy Fish doubles “wild card” event last week, and trailed former world No. 211 Roberto Cid Subervi of the Dominican Republic and 1,637-ranked Sathi Reddy of India 5-1 before lighting and eventually a downpour cancelled play for the day. Watch their coin flip and pre-match photo here: https://youtu.be/h7lnZ8eNWD8
Their match will resume at 10 am on Saturday before the two singles semifinals between Dan Martin, formerly of Dartmouth now at the University of Miami, and Jacob Brumm, formerly of Baylor University (not before 11 am), and the second semifinal to follow between Duarte Vale of Portugal and the University of Florida’s 2021 NCAA Championship team, and Jaycer Lyeons of Texas.
Watch Randy Walker’s post-match interview with Dan Martin after his upset of No. 2 seed Andres Andrade here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6wnR2J7GG0
The full Saturday schedule can be found here: https://www.usta.com/content/dam/usta/2023-pro-circuit/20230424_verobeach_m15/OP.pdf
Lyeons, who received a last minute entry into this tournament as a wild card from the U.S. Tennis Association as the first American player out of the main draw, played two of the most bizarre matches of the tournament, both of which finished on Friday. First, he finished off a darkness-delayed upset of No. 1 seed Adrian Boitan of Romania, needing only four points to finish off a 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(2) win. The match was suspended Thursday night due to darkness with Lyeons leading 4-1 in the final-set tiebreaker. The match was halted on Court No. 2 earlier Thursday with the score knotted at 3-3 in the final set due to rain. The match was resumed after a three-hour delay at 7 pm on the Stadium Court, which dried faster than Court 2. The stadium lights at the Vero Beach Fitness & Tennis Club are not bright enough for ITF World Tennis Tour standard and when the two players played a few points of the final-set tiebreaker just at sunset at 7:45 pm, visibility became challenging and, down 1-4, Boitan complained that it was too dark for him to play and since the match was not concluded by mutual consent in the not-officially legal lighting, the match was postponed for the day. Lyeons needed just four points to close out the win.
Later on Friday, Lyeons faced Cid Subervi in the quarterfinals and began to cramp late in the first set, even attempting underhand serves, a tactic that his opponent used early in the match himself when fit. Lyeons, however, endured and was able to control the cramps enough to play until Cid Subervi , playing his second full match of the day, began to cramp against late in the second set. Trailing 4-5 in the second set, Cid Subervi was not able to stand due to his cramps and pulled his chair from courtside on the court and sat on the court in the chair and was assessed four straight delay-of-game penalties to lose the game and the set. Cid Subervi was then not able to complete the match and retired. Cid Subervi was able to recover enough to take the doubles against Bragg and Ching later in the evening.
“King of the Hill” winner James Van Deinse and KOTH runner-up Tyler Rios were defeated in the first round of doubles to Peter Bertran of the Dominican Republic and Lorenzo Claverie of Italy 6-2, 6-1. Van Deinse and Rios received the annual wild card given to the KOTH winner and runner-up each year.