Impressive foursome advance at SoCal Section Qualifier

June 20, 2011 05:08 PM
An accomplished quartet advanced at the US Open National Playoffs Southern California Sectional Qualifying Tournament held at The Claremont Club in Claremont, Calif. The men’s winner was former NCAA champion and last year’s US Open National Playoffs runner-up Cecil Mamitt. He was joined by current Top 500 player Macall Harkins and the mixed doubles team of Jeff Tarango, a former French Open doubles finalist, and Patricia Tarabini, a former Top 30 singles and doubles player who compete in every Grand Slam event from 1991 to 2003.
With the victories, all four advance to the 2011 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, which will be held in August in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, an Olympus US Open Series event. The winners of the men’s championship and the women’s championship—which feature the winners or top available finishers from the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments being held throughout the country—advance to the US Open Qualifying Tournament, while the winners of the mixed doubles championship earn a main draw wild card into the 2011 US Open mixed doubles event.
Mamiit, 34, from South Pasadena, Calif., defended his Southern California men’s sectional qualifier title by defeating top seed Luis Perez in three sets in the semifinals and knocking off Tarango, 6-4, 6-3, in the final. Mamiit also defeated Tarango in 2010 en route to the title and a place in the 2010 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, where he lost in a third-set tie-break in the championship match to Blake Strode. Mamiit was a finalist at the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships in 1993 as a junior and went on to star collegiately at USC, winning the NCAA singles title as a freshman in 1996 before turning professional. As a pro, Mamiit achieved a career-high ranking of No. 72 in 1999 and has competed in all four Grand Slams, reaching the second round at all but Wimbledon. In 1999, Mamiit won a silver medal for the U.S. in the Pan American Games. In 2006, he began playing for the Philippines in Davis Cup and has represented the country each year since, compiling a 25-15 overall record while also serving as the team’s captain.
Harkins, 25, from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., the No. 2 seed in the event, dropped just one set en route to the women’s title, defeating top seed Amanda Fink, 6-4, 7-5, in the final. Harkins was a four-time All-American in high school and played collegiately for two years each at the University of Illinois and Texas Christian, playing No. 1 or No. 2 singles the majority of her four years and taking home all-conference honors in singles and doubles as a senior. She is currently in the Top 500 in singles in the world rankings after peaking at No. 377 last year, and she is ranked in the Top 250 in doubles. Harkins is a frequent competitor on the ITF Circuit and the USTA Pro Circuit, where she won the doubles at the $10,000 event in Hilton Head Island, S.C., earlier this year.
In mixed doubles, the accomplished pairing of Tarango, 42, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Tarabini, 42, from Argentina, took the title with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Kaitlyn Christian and Chris Kearney in the final. (Christian won the Southern California sectional qualifier women’s singles a year ago.) Tarango was the runner-up at the French Open in 1999 with Goran Ivanisivec. He won two ATP singles titles and 14 doubles titles in his playing career, peaking at No. 42 in the world in singles in 1992 and No. 10 in the world in doubles in 1999. Tarabini peaked at No. 19 in singles and No. 12 in doubles, both in 1998. She won 15 WTA doubles title and reached the doubles quarterfinals or better in a Grand Slam event on 12 occasions, including the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open.