Nate Griffin and five-time champion Scott Harrington ripped their way into the semifinals of the 15th annual Professional Tennis Exhibition Series Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Boca Grande Club.
The match showcased great hand skills at the net and stunning baseline exchanges, which excited 145 patrons on hand.
"Those were some of the best points in all my years of coming here (to the Boca Grande Club),"said Harrington. "With these guys all over the net, so active, you had to rip it big time."
Jim Labinski, tourney organizer
Harrington, assistant pro at the Shadow Wood Country Club in Estero, moves into the semifinal scheduled Wednesday, March 6, which includes Abdul Idi, Griffin's assistant pro at River Strand; Jim Dempsey of Courtside Racket Club in Venice; and Jeff Diggs of Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers.
"With the ground strokes finding their range, it made volleying tough, so we didn't come into the net as much," Griffin said. "Everyone played at a very high level today. It was a lot of fun."
Griffin played in Wednesday's semifinal with Denny Rager from the Players Club and Spa in Naples; Shawn Hedrick from the Strand Golf and Country Club in Naples; and H Wetzel, director of tennis at the Boca Bay Pass Club. Results were unavailable at press time.
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: Hedrick and Diggs advance.
Feb. 20 field: Harrington and Griffin advance.
Feb. 27 semifinals: Griffin, Rager, Hedrick and Wetzel. Results unavailable at press time. Two advance.
March 6 semifinals: Harrington, Idi, Dempsey and Diggs. Two advance.
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.