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Marin tennis championships provide plenty of highlights

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The 48th annual Marin Championships brought out the best in the County’s top players and the private clubs that hosted the five-day event.

The Level 2 national tournament set a record with 285 entries in 41 divisions based on age for men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Besides Marin’s stars successfully vying for points that count towards national rankings, host sites Mill Valley Tennis Club, The Club at Harbor Point, and Belvedere Tennis Club rolled out the red carpet for players and spectators. Thanks to the support of new title sponsor Mark & Graham, a brand of Williams Sonoma, the Marin Championships offered $25,000 in prize money and special events at each of the hosting clubs.

“It’s nice to have a well-run and well-supported tournament in your backyard,” said tournament director Chrissie Costamagna. “From a spectator perspective, it’s terrific. Because we have top local players, we get other top players from outside the Bay Area who come for the competition.”

Jenny Sperry put on a solid show for her Mill Valley Tennis Club members. The club’s former head pro who still serves as a teaching pro got better every match to win the 30-and-over women’s doubles round-robin with Angela Hendy of Tiburon.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said longtime tournament volunteer Susan McShannock. “It was world-class. The court coverage was phenomenal.”

In 35-and-over women’s singles, Sperry reached the semifinals where she fell to second-seeded Mylene Martin 6-4, 6-4.

Hendy, an All-American for Pepperdine. was also right at home, winning 35 women’s doubles with Mariko Fritz-Krockow of Orinda. In the final, they beat Alison Rauh of Larkspur and Francesca La O of San Francisco 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Top-seeded Jeff Greenwald of Tiburon won the 45 men’s singles title 6-0, 6-1 over Robert Oleksiuk from Canada. Greenwald’s toughest match in the tournament came in the quarterfinal where he prevailed 7-5, 6-3 over Michael Hamilton of San Anselmo.

Hamilton teamed with Bradley Plough of Denver to win 45 men’s doubles despite being unseeded. In the final, they beat second-seeded Sacha Drazien of San Rafael and Timothy Barlow of Petaluma 6-3, 6-4.

T Eric Lehto of San Rafael was the top seed in 65 men’s singles. He defeated fifth-seeded Jeffrey Goldfien of Campbell 6-2, 7-6 in the final. Shayan Shooshtarian of Larkspur reached the 30 men’s singles final but was edged by Thai Tu of San Lorenzo 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

In 55 men’s doubles, Sausalito’s Michael Viani and Ole Hoefelmann of Emerald Hills reached the finals and had a stellar showing against top-seeded Peter Krulevitch of San Antonio and Curtis Dunn of Angwin, falling 6-3, 7-5. Jock Warde of Forest Knolls and Chris Morgan of Mill Valley won the 70 men’s doubles round-robin.

Gayatri Ramesh of San Anselmo defeated Khet Hanson of San Francisco 7-5, 6-0 in 40 women’s singles. In 45 women’s singles, second-seeded Fanny Gamble of San Rafael won after top-seeded Isabelle Benoit of Huntington Beach retired due to injury; Gamble was leading 6-3, 3-0 at the time.

Leora Grimshaw of Mill Valley won the 50 women’s singles round-robin. Amy Rennart of Tiburon and Andrea Barnes of Palo Alto won the 70 women’s doubles round-robin.

In mixed doubles, top-seeded Becky Miller of Tiburon was joined by Sean Dizon of Daly City to win the 40-and-over title, rallying for a 5-7, 6-0, 6-2 win over Tina Okawa and David Frederick of Saratoga.

Extreme weather and scheduling conflicts did cause a few hiccups. There were three heat-related issues during matches on Wednesday before the fog and wind cooled things off on Thursday. Scott Valley Swimming & Tennis Club was unable to host matches this year due to a swim meet. Also, there were USTA Northern California championships for 40-and-over teams in Sacramento last weekend, preventing some players from committing to the Mill Valley tournament.

Costamagna was quite busy, also captaining the USTA 4.5 40-and-over Harbor Point women’s team that won the NorCal championship on Sunday to earn a trip to nationals. The coach of the Branson School boys and girls tennis teams has already started planning for the 50th anniversary of the Marin Championships in 2026 with the hope of expanding the women’s draws.

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