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The Oregon Challenger coming to Beaverton

Beaverton is no stranger to stellar tennis.

The area high school programs have turned out stellar individuals and teams for decades. Jesuit and Sunset High School, in particular, set the bar high both at the district and state levels. Great individual coaches and tennis clubs are common as are collegiate players who put down training roots in Beaverton. It’s not atypical to see outdoor courts being frequented during the summer time both by hardcore talents fine-tuning their groundstrokes or an elderly couple rallying back-and-forth for a little exercise.

With the sport being so popular and fashionable, it’s logical that the Greater Portland Tennis Council (GPTC) came to the city for the first annwual USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 Women’s Challenge from July 14-21 at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton. The tournament is free to the public. by: COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN JIM IMAGERY  - As part of the Oregon Challenger, several free spectator events will be held. On Monday, July 15, from 5-6:30 p.m. watch top women pros compete with local tennis players in a charity fundraiser.

Several young women’s tennis stars on the USTA Pro Circuit will descend on the THTC for The Oregon Challenger. It’s the only pro tennis tournament in Oregon and features several of the world’s top 100 players. The three-tournament circuit will determine the winner of a wild card into this year’s U.S. Open in September.

The THTC is a great place to take in some of the best players in the world. It’s an intimate setting with spectators sitting literally just feet away from the competitors on the outdoor courts. The indoor courts provide a scintillating atmosphere for the players as the crowd noise is confined by the bubble overhead and patrons filter around the playing surface.

The talent level playing at The Oregon Challenger is sure to be high, too.

Beaverton resident Dasha Ivanova, who’s currently ranked 95th on the ITF Tennis Juniors’ circuit is playing in the Challenger as a wild card entry. Ivanova is the eighth-ranked rising junior in the country according to tennisrecruiting.net and a blue chip prospect in the tennis world. The 16-year-old is also coming off of an appearance at the Junior Wimbledon Tournament.

Lithuania’s Akvile Parazinskaite is the 57th ranked player in the world and the highest seed participating. Thailand’s Tamachan Momkoonthod- the 220th ranked player on the USTA tour- will also have a hand in deciding who comes out on top of the bracket.

“These are some very talented ladies and whoever comes out is going to see some great tennis,” said tournament director Jeff Carey. “There are a couple girls coming to this tournament who just left Wimbledon and they’re excellent players. They’ll be able to see these girls up close and personal because these courts are easy access.”

To get into the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, players have to garner a certain ranking and to clinch that status they need to accumulate a confirmed amount of points. Points are awarded based on the player’s finish on the tour’s events such as The Oregon Challenger, so the stakes will be elevate to say the least. Whoever wins The Oregon Challenger receives 70 points, which aids the individual’s record and therefore helps their cause in trying to compete in the four major tournaments. by: COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN JIM IMAGERY  -  Community Day is slated Friday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to noon and includes free 10-and-under clinics as well as a wheelchair tennis clinic presented by the Northwest Wheelchair Tennis Association. Debbie Borchers, a 25-plus year veteran coach will be on hand as well as NWTA adult competitive players. This event is open to all interested juniors with physical impairments. Family tennis activities will also be provided during the event. Parents and teenagers are encouraged to attend.

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually nationwide, the USTA Pro Circuit is the largest developmental tennis circuit in the country, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, and Caroline Wozniacki are just some of the players who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

This is The Oregon Challenger’s first year in existence, and it will precede The Nike Tennis Championships of Oregon, which take place this week.

The THTC will hold several free spectator events throughout the tournament including ad  Pro-Am on Monday, July 15 from 5-6:30 p.m. Watch top women pros have a great time playing local tennis players in a charity fundraiser, free to the public. Followed by a Cardio Pro-Am for Players clinic with tennis ratings of 2.5-4.5 level (there is a fee for this clinic). Please visit theoregonchallenge.com to register for either event. The Joint Tournament party and fundraiser for the Alex Rovello Fund, in memory of the University of Oregon tennis player, is on Wednesday, July 17 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Sunset Athletic Club (13939 NW Cornell Rd., Portland, OR 97229).

“Community Day” takes place on Friday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to noon and includes free 10-and-under clinics, and a wheelchair tennis clinic presented by the Northwest Wheelchair Tennis Association. Debbie Borchers, a 25-plus year veteran coach will be on hand as well as NWTA adult competitive players. This event is open to all interested juniors with physical impairments. Family tennis activities will also be provided during the event. Parents and teenagers are encouraged to attend.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to bring women’s pro tennis to Oregon,” said Brian Loomis, tournament director and president of the GPTC. “We’re expecting some excellent talent. The USTA thinks Tualatin Hills is a premium site to host the event and we’re hoping to use it as a fundraiser.”

Formed in 1998, GPTC is a chartered, nonprofit organization that has become one of the largest Community Tennis Associations in the state. All proceeds from events go directly towards GPTC’s mission of putting on quality tennis programs for kids and special population groups in the area. Through their “T” for Tennis program, the GPTC has brought in-school tennis classes to 550 children in Head Start programs in the community.



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