More than 200 tennis players competed at the IMG Academy Caribbean Cup Tennis Series on St. Croix at the Buccaneer Hotel. The first-ever U.S. Virgin Islands Cup, an International Tennis Federation sanctioned tournament, began May 13 and concluded Friday, May 24.
Nima Naderi, the tournament director for the USVI Cup, said all those involved with the competition were pleased with the facility, staff and weather.
“We are looking forward to 2020 and an even bigger event,” Naderi said. “We are adamant on growing tennis in the Caribbean and these types of events are a step in the right direction.”
Last week, Jeanette Mireles from the USA comprehensively defeated compatriot number two seed Calissa Dellabarca 6-1, 6-0 in one hour and 30 minutes. The match featured great off-the-rise ball-striking from Mireles.
Dellabarca, who is only 15-years-old, claimed her first career ITF title in the USVI during week one.
On the boys’ side, top seeded American Alex Finkelstein upset top seed Benjamin Kittay 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 7-5 in an absolute barn-burner. The match lasted three and a half hours under heavy wind.
The match was played under great intensity and was highlighted by aggressive serves and potent returns.
In week one, Calissa Dellabarca from the USA comprehensively defeated compatriot Nishitha Saravanan 6-2, 6-0 in one hour and 30 minutes. The girls’ match, which featured many long baseline clashes between the two players, was embraced heavily by the crowd.
For boys during week one, Samuel Paquette from Canada used his topspin forehand to great effect in defeating Ian Pessoa Cruz from Brazil 7-5, 6-2. Losing only one set throughout the first week, Paquette, 17, was a favorite for the second leg of the USVI Cup.
Over on the doubles side of the draw, Samuel Paquette went two for two on the day as he paired with American James Tracy to capture the boys doubles title over Americans Ekansh Kumar and Sam Scherer, 6-4, 6-3. The winning doubles team—ranked No. 2—lost only one set throughout the week.
The girls doubles final featured Puerto Ricans Adriana Barney Castro and Natalia Perez defeating Lauren Chisholm and Nishitha Saravanan of the U.S. mainland 5-7, 6-3, 10-8 in an entertaining contest to complete the day’s proceedings.
USVI Tennis Association President Kelly Kuipers and Jason Miller from the USVI Tennis Association were on hand to give out the medals and congratulate the girls and boys singles winners and runners for both rounds of action.
Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Hansen from the V.I. Department of Tourism was on hand to present the trophies to the girls and boys doubles winners and runners up.
IMG Academy is a private prep school and sports training destination in Bradenton, Florida.