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Southern Wins Keith Donoff Cup

keith_donoff_champs_18_632
November 13, 2018 05:34 PM

In photo above: knelling (L-R): Steve Duffel, Tommy Carter, John Valastro, Calvert Bibb, Art Abbott, captain Drew Meyers. Standing (L-R) Russell Bucchi, Marty Pearson, Scott Shepherd, Larry Back, Chris Bussert, Steve Garman, John Callen, John Walton, Hugh Thomson, Tom Smith. Not pictured: Nik Makarenko, Ken Koelling, Fred Robinson, Gert Van den Heever.

USTA Southern won its fifth straight Keith Donoff Challenge Cup, played Nov. 9-11 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.

The Donoff Cup is a men’s intersectional team event which brings together the top male players from four USTA sections: Southern, Florida, Midwest, and Middle States. Players in the 55s, 60s, 65s, and 70s compete in a singles and doubles round robin format. The team which wins the most matches over the three days wins the cup.

In winning its fifth straight Donoff Cup, Team Southern won an amazing 49.5 of the 60 matches played. Southern beat back a strong challenge by USTA Florida which tallied 43.5 matches with its deep and talented roster. The key to Southern’s victory was the play of its 65s team which went a perfect 5-0 against Florida taking three singles and two doubles matches. Here is the final tally:

  • Southern - 49.5
  • Florida - 43.5
  • Middle States - 18
  • Midwest - 9

The first line of the 70s Southern vs. Florida had a double retirement due to these two battling into a third-set tiebreak, explaining the .5 for Southern and Florida.

Team Southern members

55s Team

  • Tommy Carter (MS)
  • Nik Makarenko (GA)
  • Calvert Bibb (AL)
  • John Valastro (GA)
  • Russell Buchi (TN)

60s Team

  • Ken Koelling (NC)
  • Steve Garman (MS)
  • Scott Shepherd (AL)
  • Chris Bussert (GA)
  • Drew Meyers (LA) (Captain)

65s Team

  • Fred Robinson (NC)
  • Tom Smith (GA)
  • Gert van den Heever (GA)
  • John Callen (GA)
  • Marty Pearson (MS)

70s Team

  • Larry Back (AR)
  • John Walton (NC)
  • Art Abbott (NC)
  • Hugh Thomson (GA)
  • Steve Duffel (AR)
 

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