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Jurova wins Eastern women's title; Bielik and Cohen capture mixed doubles crown

April 21, 2011 04:29 PM
Petra Jurova won the women's title at the Eastern sectional qualifier.
Eastern men's winner Steve Erickson.
Bea Bielik and Darrin Cohen won the mixed doubles title at the Eastern sectional qualifier.
In the women’s final of the US Open National Playoffs USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament, 18-year-old Petra Jurova defeated 20-year-old Magda Okruashvili, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. With the win, Jurova advances to the US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, held in conjunction with the New Haven Open at Yale, the Olympus US Open Series women’s event held in August. The winner of the US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship receives a wild card into the 2011 US Open Qualifying Tournament, with a shot at qualifying for the main draw of the US Open.
 
Jurova was born in Slovakia and started playing tennis at age 8. She developed into a top junior, winning Slovakia’s national 16s’ title and breaking into the Top 150 in the ITF World Junior Rankings. At age 17 she moved to Carlsbad, Calif., to train at the ISA Tennis Academy for six months.
 
A few months ago, Jurova connected with Nikola Hubnerova, a tennis pro at the Easter Coast Tennis Academy on Long Island and the runner-up of last year’s US Open National Playoffs Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament. Jurova was looking for someone to help develop her game, so Hubnerova invited Jurova to New York to play in the Eastern sectional qualifier. Over the course of the tournament, the two connected.
 
"We had mutual friends, and I had heard that she was looking for a place to play and also looking for a coach," said Hubnerova. "I invited her out to play in the Eastern tournament and meet me. Now, we are going to start working together in New York up until the US Open National Playoffs ."
 
Following her victory at the Eastern sectional qualifier, teacher and pupil now have a common goal to work toward: a victory at the US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship and a return trip to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center—this time with a spot in the 2011 US Open on the line.
 
"I’m excited for the US Open National Playoffs," said Jurova. "It is a great opportunity for all players and I hope to have good results. I would love to come back to the US Open grounds and play in the US Open."
 
Men's Final
 
In the men’s singles final of the US Open National Playoffs Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament, Steve Erickson of nearby Emerson, N.J., swept to the title, dropping just 19 games in five matches (he also advanced one round with a bye and one by default).
 
Erickson, who was never extended to a tie-break during his title run, defeated England’s David Baxendine, 6-4, 6-2, to claim the Eastern crown.
 
Erickson was a former high school all-state player in New Jersey and was a standout at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He played No. 1 singles all four years (2006-10) at NJIT and, as a senior, went 22-3 in singles (and 14-7 in doubles) to run his career singles record with the Highlanders to 63-26. He led NJIT to second place at the 2010 Division I Independent Men's Tennis Tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.
 
Erickson has stayed active in tennis since graduating, playing in a number of local and regional tournaments, and in 2010 he won the consolation bracket at the USTA Men’s Open Indoor Championships.
 
 
 
Mixed Final
 
In the mixed doubles final of the US Open National Playoffs Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament, teaching pros Bea Bielik and Darrin Cohen defeated women’s singles runner-up Magda Okruashvili and her partner, Tsimafey Senkevich, 6-2, 6-2. With their victory, Bielik and Cohen advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championship held during the New Haven Open at Yale, the Olympus US Open Series women’s event held in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2011 US Open.
 
Bielik made her return to the US Open at the USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament. She won the 2002 NCAA singles title for Wake Forest University and, in turn, earned a wild card into the 2002 US Open. She reached the third round before falling to Justine Henin. Bielik is now a teaching pro alongside Cohen, who is the director of tennis at Sportime in Kings Park, N.Y. He is a former standout player at the University of Virginia.
 
Both players look forward to playing in the US Open National Playoffs in August and are confident about their chances to advance to the US Open mixed doubles main draw—despite their unusual training regimen.
 
"We are probably going to do what we did this time—we aren’t going to play a lot of tennis," said Bielik, laughing. "We aren’t going to play a lot of tennis for a few months, then really kick-start our practice schedule and match play two weeks before the US Open National Playoffs. It worked this time!"
 
Bielik and Cohen faced six-time US Open champion Chris Evert and ESPN’s Mike Greenberg in the second round of play, defeating the notable duo, 6-1, 6-4.
 
 
 

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