Heartburn Strikes Hart-Burns Again
The 2012 Midlothian Athletic Club Wheelchair Open ended on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when Paul Hart and Pat Burns lost the Division A doubles final to Felix Suero and Bob Barnaby. The Hart-Burns team won the doubles championship in the inaugural MAC Wheelchair Open in 2010 but has not been able to duplicate the result since then. Felix Suero of Kendall Park, NJ, teamed up with Bob Barnaby of Virginia Beach to give the Hart-Burns team a heartburn in the final.
Suero was playing in the MAC Wheelchair Open for the first time. Michael Sullivan and Troy Eap of Philadelphia, friends of Suero, and Richmond’s David Richardson were also first time participants in the tournament. The four new faces added excitement to the field of twenty players.
David Richardson is truly a fresh face to wheelchair tennis. Richardson came to the first day of the six week Sportable/Richmond Tennis Association Wheelchair Training Clinic at Byrd Park three weeks ago to give wheelchair tennis a try. Encouraged by the teaching staff, Richardson entered the Men’s Division C round robin draw three weeks later and won his first match on Saturday. Richardson beat Rama Vetukuri of Cary, NC in a tiebreak (10-8) after splitting the first two sets in a two hour marathon match. In his second match, Richardson lost to Michael Sullivan, again in a tiebreak by a score of (3-10) after splitting the first two sets.
Valeria Reyes-Chian, the eventual Men’s C Division champion, beat Richardson 9-7 in a rain shortened 8 game pro set. After losing the first three games to Reyes-Chian, Richardson came back to lead Reyes-Chian most of the set, but the determined fourteen year old broke serve twice to win the match. As a show of respect for the quality of Richardson’s game, Reyes-Chian welcomed Richardson to wheelchair tennis by presenting him with the Wilson racquet bag she won as a championship prize.Valeria Reyes-Chian came to the MAC Wheelchair Open well prepared. Valeria is a freshman at Chantilly High School where she is a member of the varsity tennis squad. Years of wheelchair tennis lessons from Brenda Gilmore, a well-respected Prince George wheelchair tennis coach, earned her a berth in the high school squad with her older sister Maria. This is truly a remarkable feat for a freshman student playing tennis on a wheelchair.
Todd Cox of Wilmington, NC downed Mark Jenkinson of Martinsburg, WVA 6-3, 6-2 in Men’s Division A final, and Felix Suero bested Paul Hart of Severn, MD 6-4, 6-2, in Men’s Division A consolation final. Larry Toler, Baltimore, MD narrowly defeated Chris Lamps, Richmond, 7-6 (7-0), 7-5 in the Men’s Division B final, and Troy Eap lost a close match to David Beauregard, Wilmington, NC, 6-4, 6-4 in the Men’s Division B consolation final. The Men’s Division C contest consisted of a four player round robin draw. Valeria Reyes Chian was a clear cut winner with a three way tie for the second place that was broken according to USTA regulations with Rama Vetukuri emerging as the runner-up. Valeria Reyes-Chian also played and won the Women’s Division C.
The MAC Wheelchair Open is hosted by the Midlothian Athletic Club and is the first stop in the five city Truong Wheelchair Tennis Grand Prix circuit. The Truong Wheelchair Tennis Grand Prix circuit is sponsored by the Truong Rehabilitation Clinic in Fredericksburg, USTA Virginia and USTA Mid-Atlantic. The MAC Wheelchair Open is sponsored by the Midlothian Athletic Club, the VCU-Bertier Foundation and the Richmond Tennis Association. Tournament food was provided by Café Caturra and Chick-fil-A and by gifts from the Fresh Market and Costco. Plaid Racquet and EmergenC provided gifts for players.
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