Tournament Roundups: Wild Cards Awarded
Monday, March 6, 2023
Matthew Segura Wins Fourth Title at Mardy Fish Sea Oaks “Wild Card” Event
Matthew Segura, the great nephew of Hall of Famer Pancho Segura, is now four-for-four at Sea Oaks.
The 22-year-old from Apopka, Florida continued his winning ways at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships “Wild Card” tournament at the Sea Oaks Beach & Tennis Club winning the title for the fourth time in four tries with a narrow 6-7(5), 7-5 (10-8) final-round win over Ryan Haviland of Greenville, S.C. on February 24 in front of over 300 fans.
The win earns Segura a main draw “wild card” entry into the $15,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships ITF World Tennis Tour U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit event April 24-30 at the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club at Timber Ridge.
Entering the final against Haviland, a 42-year-old former Stanford standout who also runs a tennis academy in Greenville, Segura had not even lost a set at Sea Oaks. However, Haviland ended that streak by winning the first set in a 7-5 tiebreaker. Haviland, who once had ATP rankings as high as No. 516 in singles and No. 307 in doubles before 11 surgeries sidetracked his career, quickly jumped to a 4-1 lead in the second set. Segura was able to fight back and win the second set 7-5. In the deciding 10-point match tiebreaker, Segura was able to take a 9-6 lead and held on to win 10-8.
Segura also won the event in 2018, 2019 and 2020. He did not play in the event in 2022 and the event was not held in 2021 due to the global pandemic.
Although Segura has an ATP ranking of No. 1,281, that can get him into the qualifying rounds at ITF World Tennis Tour events and some main draws, Segura entered the event at Sea Oaks as insurance and to look to guarantee that he will get a main draw start in Vero Beach.
James Van Deinse Wins 2023 “King of the Hill” Open Division, Earns Mardy Fish Doubles Wild Card With Tyler Rios
James Van Deinse of the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club, and Tyler Rios of the Magnolia Lakes Club in Port St. Lucie, the winner and runner-up respectively at the annual “King of the Hill” tennis competition that concluded Thursday night at The Boulevard, have been awarded a main draw doubles wild card into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.
Held since 1996, the “King of the Hill” competition features tennis teaching professionals competing in doubles play to determine the top player in the area and to benefit Youth Guidance in Vero Beach as its charity.
With a crowd of over 400 fans watching, Van Deinse won a 7-6 tiebreaker by seven points to five alongside brother Joseph Van Deinse, also the owner and professional of the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club, over Rios and Sea Oaks tennis pro Christian Docter to edge Rios for the title in the last of three sets played between the four finalists.
“It feels amazing. It was some of my best tennis that I played today,” said Van Deinse. “I played some of my best tennis when I needed it the most.”
Van Deinse is fresh off playing the biggest tennis tournament of his career at the ATP Tour’s Challenger level event in Monterrey, Mexico, where he competed alongside several former top 25 world-ranked players. Van Deinse was able to play against world No. 130 ranked Yosuke Watanuki of Japan, fresh off advancing to the second round at the Australian Open. Van Deinse was defeated 6-0, 6-1 but said that the experience helped him in his King of the Hill final.
“It mostly prepared me to be sharp,” he said. “I felt like when a ball came at me quick tonight for a volley, or a return of serve, or whatever, I was ready for it, because I had practiced against a level that I wasn’t used to before.”
Van Deinse will get another opportunity on the professional tour stage when he competes in the main draw in doubles with Rios at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, which is a level below the ATP Challenger level in the hierarchy of pro tennis. To boot, Van Deinse will be playing the tournament on the courts he owns and teaches on as the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation will be hosting the event at the Vero Beach Tennis & Fitness Club.
“I can’t wait,” said Van Deinse of playing the Mardy Fish at his home club. “It would’ve been cool to play with (brother) Joseph, but I’m so excited to play with Tyler. He’s a nice guy, great player, and, hopefully, we can get a win.”
Van Deinse and Rios will play their first-round doubles match against world-ranked ATP touring professionals on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:00 pm. Rios, a first-time KOTH finalist, will be competing in a pro tennis tournament for the first time in his career.