Five American teenagers and five South American veteran pros advanced into the round of 16 of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships Wednesday at The Boulevard, setting up potential continental clashes in the later rounds of this unique $10,000 Universal Tennis Rating open prize money event that concludes Sunday.
Juan Benitez, the 2018 champion at this event when it was held at Grand Harbor as an ITF World Tennis Tour event, advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over former John McEnroe Tennis Academy pupil Lazar Markovic of Locust Valley, New York Wednesday night. Top seed Diego Hidalgo, a member of the Ecuador Davis Cup team ranked No. 378 in the ATP Tour rankings, had no trouble with Vero Beach’s Joseph van Deinse, winning 6-0, 6-0 on the Grandstand Court. Alejandro Gomez of Colombia, the No. 2 seed ranked No. 508 in the ATP Rankings, withstood a late charge from the other van Deinse brother, James, winning 6-1, 7-6 (1). Ricardo Rodriguez, the all-time leading Davis Cup match winner for Venezuela and the No. 3 seed here this week, defeated Rodrigo Reyna of Mexico 6-1, 6-0. Cesar Ramirez of Mexico, once ranked as high as No. 105 in the world in doubles, won a dramatic Stadium Court match with University of South Florida player Harry Cacciatore, winning 6-3, 7-6 (9-7) just after sunset. Ramirez will face Rodriguez in an exciting Thursday match-up.
Matthew Segura, an American with a strong South American lineage, also advanced into Thursday’s round of 16. Segura, the great nephew of Hall of Fame tennis champion and coach Pancho Segura, defeated Ricardo Reyna of Mexico 6-2, 6-1 to set up a Thursday match-up with Grey Cacciatore, the twin brother of Harry Cacciatore who also plays for South Florida. Segura is a three-time champion at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships “Wild Card” event held at Sea Oaks each year.
The Bernard brothers of Bonita Springs, Florida also advanced with easy victories Wednesday. Alex, who won the prestigious USTA National Boys’ 16 Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan at age 15, defeated Stefan Hartman of Melbourne 6-3, 6-2. John Bernard, a freshman at Florida State University, defeated Amadeau Charlez-Alcock of Melbourne Beach 6-0, 6-1. Alex will play the feature match Thursday night at 6 pm against University of Illinois standout Fletcher Scott of Lawrence, Kansas while John will play Benitez not before 2:45 pm Thursday.
Ben Kittay of Potomac, Maryland, who won the doubles title at the 2019 USTA National Boys’ 16 Championship, defeated former Michigan State standout J.P. Mullane 6-0, 6-4. Jack Anthrop of Orlando, Florida, currently the No. 44 ranked junior in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings, defeated long-time friend Emilio van Cotthem of Vero Beach 6-0, 6-1. Connor Krug of Bradenton, Florida, the grandson of famed ESPN college basketball personality Dick Vitale, defeated Vero Beach’s Sebastian Mendoza 6-1, 6-3. Krug will face Kittay at 1:30 on Thursday in a battle of former junior sparring partners.
The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Proceeds from the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit organization named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, former top 10 tennis star and current U.S. Davis Cup caption, benefits at risk children in Indian River County.
The event this year is being staged on the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) platform rather than as an International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour event on the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit. Players from around the world will compete for $10,000 in total prize money in singles and doubles, with an increased first prize payout of $3,000 in singles and $1,500 per team winner’s check in doubles. However, ATP Tour ranking points will not be awarded at this year’s event.
Prize money starts in the quarterfinals of singles with a $500 payout. Semifinalists will earn $750 each and the singles runner-up will earn $1,500. The doubles runners-up will split $500.
While the tournament is popular with many of Vero Beach’s robust tennis community, the event is only accommodating about 35 percent of full capacity for social distancing purposes. No public daily tickets will be sold to the event this year, with only sponsors, season-ticket holders and randomly-drawn members of The Boulevard allowed to attend. The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation also asks all attending fans to wear masks while attending the event. For more tournament information, fans can email co-tournament director Randy Walker at Rwalker@NewChapter.com or go to www.MardyFishChidlrensFoundation.org
Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and most recently new top 10 start Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Eight former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul.
Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,400 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools, and several other community organizations in Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.
Leading tournament sponsors for 2020 include Presenting Sponsor: PNC Bank, Grand Slam Sponsors: Boston Barricade, George E. Warren Corporation, The Jake Owen Foundation, Tom Collins Insurance, Cabana/Box Seat Sponsors: Michael and Kathleen Pierce, Gene Simonsen, John and Charlotte Klein, Peter and Maureen Lee, John’s Island Real Estate, Wilmington Trust, Bob and Lace Milligan, Micky and Rob Stein, Lynn Southerly, John and Sara Marshall, John and Marie McConnell, Shirley Becker, Hadleigh Investments and Supporting Sponsors: Syde Hurdus Foundation, Mike and Meg Hickey/The M&M Group, Nalzarro Music, Coastal Van Lines, Diamond Resorts, Center Court Outfitters, Foglia Contracting, Offfutt, Barton, Schlitt, Inc, Vero Fitness, Treasure Coast Financial, Willem and Marion DeVogel, Ron Chesley, Dr. Collin Kitchell and Minuteman Press.
STADIUM – Diego Hidalgo vs. Tommy Carnevale-Miino
GRANDSTAND – Matthew Segura vs. Grey Caccatiore
NOT BEFORE 1:30
Connor Krug vs. Ben Kittay
I. Martinez vs. Jack Anthrop
NOT BEFORE 2:45
Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Cesar Ramirez
Juan Benitez vs. John Bernard
NOT BEFORE 3:15 PM
Alejandro Gomez vs. Charlie Sullivan
NOT BEFORE 5 PM
Kittay / Anthrop vs. Caccatiore / Caccatiore
NOT BEFORE 6 PM
Fletcher Scott vs. Alex Bernard
Hidalgo/Ramirez vs. Benitez / Catanzariti
SINGLES SECOND ROUND
Jack Anthrop (Orlando, Florida) def. Emilio van Cotthem (Vero Beach, Florida) 6-0, 6-1
Alejandro Gomez (Colombia) def. James van Deinse (Vero Beach, Florida) 6-1, 7-6 (1)
Charlie Sullivan (Boca Raton, Florida) def. Chuk Smarty (Broadview Heights, Ohio) 6-2, 6-3
Tommi Carnevale-Miino (Italy) def. Sibi Soumahoro (Washington, D.C.) 6-1, 7-5
Ben Kittay (Potomac, Md.) def. J.P. Mullane (White Lake Charter Township, Michigan) 6-0, 6-4
Connor Krug (Bradenton, Florida) def. Sebastian Mendoza (Vero Beach, Florida) 6-0, 6-1
Ignacio Martinez (Weston, Florida) def. David Pfister (Brandenton, Florida) 6-1, 7-5
Matthew Segura (Apopka, Florida) def. Ricardo Reyna (Mexico) 6-2, 6-1
Grey Cacciatore (Gainesville, Florida) def. Robert Shymansky (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Ricardo Rodriguez (Venezuela) def. Rodrigo Reyna (Mexico) 6-1, 6-0
Diego Hildago (Ecuador) def. Joseph Van Deinse (Vero Beach, Florida) 6-0, 6-0
Alex Bernard (Bonita Springs, Florida) def. Stefan Hartman (Melbourne, Florida) 6-3, 6-2
Fletcher Scott (Lawrence, Kansas) def. A.J. Catanzariti (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 6-3, 6-3
Cesar Ramirez (Mexico) def. Harry Cacciatore (Gainesville, Florida) 6-3, 7-6 (9-7)
John Bernard (Bonita Springs, Florida) def. Amadeus Charlez-Alcock (Melbourne Beach, Florida) 6-0, 6-1
Juan Benitez (Colombia) def. Lazar Markovic (Locust Valley, N.Y.) 6-3, 7-5
DOUBLES FIRST ROUND
Ben Kittay (Potomac, Maryland) and Jack Anthrop (Orlando, Florida) def. Yohan Prinsen (Belgium) and Robert Kowalczyk (Vero Beach, Florida) 6-1, 6-0
Alejandro Gomez (Colombia) and Junior Ore (Miami) def. Chuk Smarty (Broadview Heights, Ohio) and Kurt Pessa (West Palm Beach, Florida) 6-1, 6-2
Ricardo Rodriguez (Venezuela) and Ignacio Martinez (Weston, Florida) def. Filippo Marangone (Brazil) and Alex Moutran (Montverde, Florida) 6-1, 6-1