Local youth work on their skills and rankings during tournament

When it comes to playing doubles, Margate sisters Samantha and Roxanne Fine compliment each other’s tennis games. The duo from Coral Springs High School also qualified for the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state tournament after winning the district title in doubles.

“We both have different styles,” said Samantha Fine, 18. The senior won the district title in singles last year. “I have a one-handed backhand and [Roxanne] has a two-handed backhand. We are complete opposites, and I think that is interesting.”

Samantha Fine fell to Weston’s Samara Eisenberg in the Girls 18s singles quarterfinals of the recent Deer Creek Level 6 Holiday Classic at the Deer Creek Tennis Resort in Deerfield Beach. Samantha Fine, who has played tennis for 12 years, thought about hanging up her racquet last year until a little coaxing from her sister changed her mind.

“My sister convinced me to keep on playing, and we practiced a lot,” Samantha Fine said.

Roxanne Fine, 16, a junior, defeated Alana Lewis (Washington, D.C.) in the Girls 16s singles consolation final.

“You are just having fun out there,” Roxanne Fine said. “I like that I have control over [my game]. You have to take responsibility for what you are doing. You try to find weaknesses in your opponent, and that is part of the challenge.”

Coral Springs’ Alessandro Cessna, the tournament’s fourth seed in Boys 16s singles play, rallied to defeat Cedric Holzmann (Ladenburg, Germany) in the consolation final.

Cessna, 14, a freshman at Douglas High School, plans to concentrate on junior tennis and not play for the Eagles’ high school team. He was looking to gain some experience in the holiday tournament and didn’t mind playing against opponents two years older.

Cessna said the biggest challenge he faces on the court is the mental aspect.

“I just try to keep my head in the game and stay focused,” Cessna said. “It is fun. I like playing and competing.”

Fort Lauderdale’s Stephanie Taylor suffered a tough loss in the Girls 18s singles quarterfinals as she fell to top-seeded Michelle Eisenberg, of Weston.

Taylor, 16, a junior at Pine Crest School, used the move up from 16s to 18s singles competition in the holiday classic to improve her rankings.

“This will help me get my 18s rankings up so I can get into state and national tournaments,” said Taylor, who was ranked as high as sixth in the state in the 16s. “It is very important for me to play at the next level. I want my academics to drive my tennis, not my tennis to drive my academics.”

Weston’s Rodrigo Moreno, 16, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his brother Carlos, who plays at Marist College.

“Tennis is my way of escaping all of my stress from school,” said Moreno, whose attempt to reach the quarterfinals in Boys 16s fell short in a loss to Pembroke Pines’ Frank Marino. “It is a fun sport and the only one I enjoy playing. I am hoping to get a college scholarship.”

Moreno, a junior at Cypress Bay High School, said he also likes meeting new people with the same goals he has: doing well in school and playing a competitive sport.

“The tough part about [singles] tennis is that it is just you by yourself,” Moreno said. “You don’t really depend on anyone else but yourself. If you are having a bad day, it is all up to you to build yourself back up.”

A total of 106 players participated in the Deer Creek Holiday Classic Level 6.

Match Point, which became the title sponsor in June, has already showcased more than 20 events for both juniors and adults. The holiday tournament in Deerfield Beach featured boys and girls players in 12s through 18s age categories.

Broward County was well-represented in the tournament: Five players reached the championship finals in five divisions.

Top-seeded Samuel Pena (Pembroke Pines) defeated Robert Guna (Plantation) by default in the Boys 12s singles final, while Cezara Pencea (Plantation) topped Sabira Mohamed (Delray Beach) to win the Girls 12s singles title.

Three locals fell in the championship finals, including Frank Marino (Pembroke Pines) in Boys 16s singles, Dimitri Bird (Miramar) in Boys 18s singles, and top-seeded Michelle Eisenberg (Weston) in Girls 18s singles.

Gary Curreri can be reached at SportsCom5@aol.com.

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-cnsp-centerbr-0117-20160119-story.html

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