The five-time champ is stalking No. 6.
Five-time champion Scott Harrington remains a favorite in the 15th annual Professional Tennis Exhibition Series at the Boca Grande Club. He opens in the next quarterfinal match Wednesday, Feb. 20.
Harrington, teaching pro at the Shadow Wood Country Club in Estero, will face competition from Nate Griffin, perennial finalist and tennis director of the River Strand Golf and Country Club; steady lefty Adam Zastempowski from Pennsylvania, director of tennis at the Jacaranda West Country Club in Venice; and Boca Grande Club head pro Tucker Lang. Results were not available at press time.
Jim Labinski, tourney organizer
Competing in the Feb. 13 quarterfinals: two-time champion Steve Ethier from the Boca Bay Pass Club; Shawn Hedrick, tennis director at The Strand in Naples; Don Caprio, director at the Meadows Country Club in Sarasota; and making his series debut, Jeff Diggs, tennis director at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers.
In earlier action, Abdul Idi, head pro at the River Strand Golf and Country Club in Bradenton, bombed his way through the field to win the second quarterfinal Feb. 6.
Also advancing: H Wetzel, director of tennis at the Boca Bay Pass Club.
'Wetzel had his backhand return rolling, served well and entertained the crowd as he took second place and advanced to the semifinals once again," said Jim Labinski, tourney organizer.
The 140-plus tennis patrons enjoyed Wetzel's return to the Boca Grande Club after a year hiatus, Labinski said.
In the first quarterfinal Jan. 30, Denny Rager and Jim Dempsey advanced to the semifinals.
Dempsey, director of tennis at the Courtside Racket Club in Venice, won 80 percent of his service points and was never broken. Rager, tennis director from the Players Club and Spa in Naples, won two-thirds of his service points and was broken only once.
"Jim was the best guy on the court in the third set, by far," Rager said.
Dempsey, playing in his 13th tournament at the Boca Grande Club, reached the semifinals once before in 2001. Tim Lufkin, series creator and former Boca Grande Club tennis director, won that year.
Admission to the 15th annual Professional Tennis Exhibition Series is an optional $5 donation, which goes to Suncoast Humane Society. All matches begin at 4 p.m. at the Boca Grande Club on the following dates:
Jan. 30: Rager and Dempsey eliminated David Siddons, tennis director at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice; and Kalani Hatori, tennis director at the Pelican Bay Golf and River Club in Estero.
Feb. 6: Idi and Wetzel eliminate Jamie Thormann of Gasparilla Inn & Club and Jared Kalpin, head pro at The Landings in Fort Myers.
Feb. 13 field: Ethier, Hedrick, Caprio and Diggs. Two advance.
Feb. 20 field: Harrington, Griffin, Zastempowski and Lang. Top two advance.
Feb. 27 semifinals: Rager, Jim Dempsey, Idi and Wetzel. Two advance.
March 6: Final semifinal match. Field not set.
March 13: Finals.
A barbecue and street party will complete the eight-week long celebration of tennis and animals. The $15 street party tickets can be purchased at any tennis match.
Prize money totals $5,000, with $1,000 to the champion. Call the Boca Grande Club pro shop at 964-2211.