Tuesday night at the $15,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is traditionally local doubles night. The tradition continued in 2021 with Vero Beach standouts Daniel Garza and Joseph van Deinse.
Based on how the match schedule works out at $15,000 “Futures” events on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour, the Tuesday schedule features first round play in doubles. Since the Vero Beach event is known for its crowds and enthusiastic fans, tournament directors Tom Fish and Randy Walker decided to have the Tuesday night schedule feature a local deserving team. Since 2015, the winner and runner-up at the annual “King of the Hill” tennis event have received a double wild card as a team and have played on Tuesday nights.
With Chase Perez-Blanco and Andrew Butz not able to cash in their wild card earned by finishing as the winner and runner-up at the annual “King of the Hill” tournament in February of 2020 before the pandemic due to Perez-Blanco’s wedding, Fish and Walker were able to slide Garza and van Deinse in this year’s draw as a last minute doubles wild card entry.
The Vero Beach duo faced world No. 294 doubles player Junior Ore and 2021 U.S. Open junior doubles quarterfinalist Ben Kittay and held their own in a respectable 6-0, 6-3 first-round loss.
Van Deinse, along with his brother James, own and run the Vero Beach Tennis Club, while Garza teaches locally and plays often against other top Vero Beach locals, including 1986 French Open runner-up Mikael Pernfors, during the weekly Tuesday night advanced men’s night at The Boulevard. Garza, a former Davis Cupper for Mexico, won the Vero Beach singles title ten years ago in 2011 on the very court at The Boulevard where he competed Tuesday night.
Cooper Williams, the 16-year-old originally from the Tribeca area of New York City now a resident of Boca Raton, Fla., was again the story of the day in singles play, upsetting top college player Ronnie Hohmann from LSU and Oyster Bay, N.Y. 7-5, 7-5 to reach the main draw of the event, a first for him at an ITF World Tennis Tour event. Juan Benitez of Colombia, the 2018 champion in Vero Beach, also advanced into the main draw with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Matthew Dellavedova of Australia. Benitez has won 11 of his last 12 matches, based on nine match wins playing pre-qualifying, qualifying and main draw play two weeks ago in Naples, Florida and two wins here in Vero Beach.
The full results from the final round of qualifying can be found below.
Wednesday’s play is headlined by former top 40 pro Donald Young, the No. 1 seed this week, taking on up-and-coming youngster Jack Anthrop in the featured night match at 6 pm. The full schedule for Wednesday can be found here: https://www.itftennis.com/en/tournament/m15-vero-beach-fl/usa/2021/m-itf-usa-17a-2021/order-of-play/