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Liz Cruz/Gabriela Niculescu Second Triumph at a Grand Prix This Season
December 1-2, 2017
Long Island, NY
In both Grand Prix tournaments prior to Long Island this season, the same two teams have reached the finals. The draw in Long Island guaranteed that only one of these teams, Cynthia Dardis/Amy Shay (1) or Liz Cruz/Gabriela Niculescu (3), slated to meet in the semis, could reach the championship round.
The Cruz/Niculescu team emerged as the finalist from the bottom half of the draw, but the team they beat in the semis was not Dardis/Shay. Jade Curtis and two-time APTA National Champion Viktoria Stoklosova beat Dardis/Shay in the quarters, displaying the improved play of the second-year player Curtis under Stoklosova’s tutelage. Cruz/Niculescu dispatched Maria Manley and Pam Ruoff in straight sets in their quarterfinal, and then prevented Curtis/Stoklosova from notching another upset, beating them in straight sets to gain a semifinal berth.
The top half of the draw featured 2017 APTA National Champions Florentina Hanisch and Annica van Starrenburg (2), who hadn’t yet found the form this season that led them to a national title. Hanisch/van Starrenburg found their form this tournament, avenging a loss from the Patterson Open to Mirian Cruz and Marcella Rodezno in the quarters, and beating the rapidly improving team of Martina Ondrejkova and Ana Zubori, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, in the semis. Ondrejkova/Zubori had a good win of their own, beating Kerri Delmonico/Myrthe Molenveld (4) in the quarters. The semifinal between Hanisch/van Starrenburg and Ondrejkova/Zubori featured jaw-dropping shotmaking and power hitting, but Hanisch/van Starrenburg were the more experienced, steadier team down the stretch, and took the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
The players produced exciting paddle in the finals, with the blitz creating opportunities for both teams to force the action. Hanisch/van Starrenburg played a good match, but Cruz/Niculescu demonstrated the game and toughness that has led them to three titles in four tries this year, and won the title without losing a set along the way.
Thank you to tournament director Tim Mangan, Huntington Country Club Platform Tennis Director Lisa Rudloff, and LIPTA President Ray Lombardi for running the tournament.
Main Draw: Liz Cruz/Gabriela Niculescu def. Florentina Hanisch/Annica van Starrenburg, 6-3, 6-3
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Kerri Delmonico/Myrthe Molenveld def. Cynthia Dardis/Amy Shay, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4
2nd Round Consolation: Alison Morgan/Wendy Shpiz def. Lisa Rudloff/Mariya Slupska
2nd Round Consolation Reprieve: Cathy MacKinnon/Chris Maglocci def. Darlene McGlone/Tina Wein, 6-2, 6-2
Consolation: Bobo Delaney/Tonia Mangan def. Denise Murphy/Lynne Schneebeck, 6-3, 6-3
Consolation Reprieve: Kristen O’Connor/Sarah Rogers def. Abigail Burke/Kathy McMahon, 6-4, 7-6