Gainesville, Florida- Orlando's Stephen Watson of the Orlando Tennis Center clashed with #1 Florida Tennis Tour Ranked Giancarlo "Dominican Express" Escotto for the FTT Masters title hosted by Newdash Tennis at the Jonesville Tennis Center September 24-25. A strong field of 16 players traveled from Bradenton, Orlando, Monteverde, Jacksonville, Deland, and all over Gainesville for the prestigious title. The event also awarded UTR Universal Tennis Rating points to the players.
The event was sponsored by Newdash Tennis, Orlando Commissioner Regina I. Hill, Dragon Promotions, Orlando Synergy, Khoa Nguyen Realty, Ari Events, Kurt Collis Tennis Academy, www.BradMinns.com, and NFL Alumni Central Florida. The singles, doubles, and consolation tournaments were all accomplished and ran by the expert FTT team of FTT Tournament Director Dennis Turner, Executive Director Eunice Oh, Production Designer Andini Cesar, FTT CEO Charlie Williams, and the staff of Newdash Tennis headed by Newton Turenne and David Hou.
Stand-out player Tyler Mercier of Gainesville was one of the local favorites and actually carries an ATP ranking. The former Omaha Men's Tennis star defeated rising junior star Patrick Sidow of Aruba from Jaime Oncins Academy 8-3, host sponsor Newton Turenne 8-3, before losing in the semi-finals in a highly entertaining 8-4 match to African American Tennis Champion star Stephen Watson who was able to offset Mercier's hard hitting style with his own high level defensive play.
Meanwhile Brazil's 15 year old Bernardo Costa, also from Jaime Oncins Academy, defeated strong Orlando player Tayjhon McGee 8-2, beat USTA top 30 girls junior Imani King 8-0, before being stopped by Escotto 8-5 in the semi-finals. Costa earned the Top Teen Titan award for highest finishing teen and prize money along with Mercier. Special Olympics World Champion Brittany Tagliareni of Sanford lost in the first round to Haiti's Turenne.
In the finals it was a match between power and finesse with USA's Watson versus Dominican Republic's Escotto. They had met only once before in the semi-finals of the FTT 2 years ago where Watson won narrowly 9-7. This time Watson won more handily in a 6-3, 6-1 match that displayed his increased all around skills. Both players reside in the Central Florida area which further cements the growing tennis talent in the area.
Watson and McGee also won the FTT Masters Doubles division taking home two paydays for the weekend. They defeated Brad Feussner / Juan-Carlos Asse in the finals. The win should put Watson into the FTT Top 20 Singles Rankings as well as the FTT Doubles Rankings.
The next Florida Tennis Tour stop takes place on October 22-23 full details on orlandotennisnews.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Stephen Watson
2nd Giancarlo Escotto
3-4th Tyler Mercier
2nd Brad Feussner / Juan-Carlos Asse
1st Brittany Tagliareni
2nd Brad Feussner
3rd-4th Kurt Collis & Andini Cesar
1st Riley Mullis/Barb Soucie
2nd Rhonda Mullis/ Barbara Hawkins
L to R: David Hou (host sponsor) Stephen Watson and Newton Turenne (host sponsor) and Escotto.
Watson(L) and Tayjhon McGee(R)