Add Ujkic’s name to list of Wall Tournament greats
GARRET MEADE PHOTO
Amy Malave lost in the women’s singles final to a player she had beaten in the first round of last year’s tournament, Erica Bundrick.
Ferrando-Aman, Townsend, Kaplan, Burke, Szpakowski, Paskiewicz. A new name can be added to that list of players who dominated their competition year after year in the 32-year history of the Bob Wall Summer Tennis Tournament: Ujkic. As in Chris Ujkic, the 2007 Mattituck High School graduate who added two more titles at the tournament finals Saturday at Tasker Park in Peconic.
Ujkic defeated his former high school teammate, Matt Brisotti (Class of ’08), 6-3, 6-1, in a rematch of last year’s open men’s singles finals, then teamed with another MHS grad, Kieran Corcoran (Class of 1987), to defeat Bob Lum and Will Clemans in open men’s doubles, 6-1, 6-2. It was the fifth consecutive doubles title for Ujkic and Corcoran, topping by one the number of consecutive open singles titles Ujkic has captured.
And there may be another championship in store for Ujkic. Sometime this coming weekend he and Melissa Nicovic, the No. 1-seeded mixed doubles team, are expected to play octogenarian John May and Eileen Walker in the final of that event, which was postponed because Walker was out of the country on Saturday. If Ujkic and Nicovic should win, it would be his third mixed-doubles championship in a row, bringing to 12 the grand total of Wall Tournament titles he has won since 2006. Also yet to be played is the all-Mattituck High School women’s doubles final, pitting the No. 1 seeds, Caty Austin and Ashley Finger, against the No. 2 seeds, Erica Bundrick and Jenny Smith.
Bundrick, a junior at Mattituck High School, was in town on Saturday, but didn’t really need to hang around very long, rolling over Amy Malave in the women’s singles final, 6-0, 6-0. “I handed it to her,” Malave said after the match, responding to a reporter’s inquiry about her age by saying, “I’m old enough to be Erica’s mom.”
And in the What a Difference a Year Makes Department, Bundrick pointed out that she lost to Malave in the first round of last summer’s tournament. Two other finals were played Saturday, both in men’s 50-and-over divisions. In singles, second-seeded Tom Cahill outlasted top-seeded Rich Chizever, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, after Chizever re-injured his right calf muscle halfway through and hobbled from side to side for the remainder of the match. Chizever had defeated Cahill in last year’s final.
Chizever and Lum got some solace from their losses earlier Saturday when they bested Cahill and his partner, Leo Sternlicht, 6-4, 6-3, in men’s 50-plus doubles. In that match, Lum, who looks more like an NFL interior lineman than a tennis player, dominated at the net and ably covered more than his half of the court to compensate for the injured Chizever’s lack of mobility. It was the second year in a row Chizever and Lum defeated Cahill and Sternlicht, who had won the men’s 50-plus doubles crown four years in a row before that.
Ujkic vs. Brisotti featured two college players — Ujkic attends Sacred Heart University in Connecticut and Brisotti attends Drew University in New Jersey — who prefer to loop left-handed topspin forehands from behind the baseline. The big difference was Ujkic’s superior mobility; he got to balls that would have left most players applauding their opponent’s winners. Brisotti had advanced to the final with a 6-4, 6-3 semifinal victory over seven-time men’s open singles champion Steve Paskiewicz, the last man to defeat Ujkic in singles when Ujkic was a 17-year-old high school senior in 2006. Ujkic’s quickness was decisive also in the men’s open doubles final, which qualified as something of a local high school showdown. While Ujkic and Corcoran graduated from Mattituck, Clemans was a standout on the Riverhead High School boys’ varsity, which was formerly coached by Lum.
Until next summer at least, the former Tuckers can enjoy bragging rights over the former Blue Waves.
The 2010 Wall Tournament is sponsored by Times/Review Newspapers of Mattituck and directed, on a volunteer basis, by Mattituck High School’s longtime girls tennis coach, Jim Christy. Proceeds from this year’s event helped fund a $500 scholarship presented Saturday morning to 2010 Bishop McGann-Mercy High School graduate Liz Rossi. Another beneficiary of the tournament is the Robert Wall Jr. Fund, which was established after the son of the tournament’s founder was paralyzed in a 2005 boating/diving accident.