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Great play at the Bailey Park Open
By Pedro Garcia


Satish Jagnandan and Kendell Lewis at recent match semi-finals.
Click for bigger picture
Long time rivals and great competitors, Satish Jagnandan and Kendell Lewis, at recent match.
In what promises to be an artillery showdown of two of the top one-wall handball players in the world today, Satish Jagnandan, the reigning Bailey Park Open champion, will face Kendell Lewis, last year's runner-up, in the final championship match of the Bailey Park Open this Sunday, July 27th, at Bailey Park in the Bronx.

The tournament, which was played July 21st, featured an outstanding field of the best one-wall handball players in the world today, including Fast Eddie Maisonet, Robert "Ice Man" Sostre, the legendary Joe Durso, the current national champion Ceasar Sala, the former national champion Joe Kaplan, and a veritable who's who of former champions. The women's singles event also featured the top female handball players in the world, including Dori Ten, Tracy Davis, Brenda Pares, and Teresa McCourt.

On a day that opened with overcast clouds in the morning and settled into a glorious sunny afternoon with no humidity, the men's open singles draw proved exciting and fast to the standing room only crowd. Robert Sostre, former national champion known for his accuracy and indomitable will to win, weathered the diatribes and histrionics of 9 time national open singles champion Joe Durso, as he punished Joe 25-8 in the first round by picking up Joe's cross-court ace serves and firing kill-shot returns with his left hand, disabling Joe's best offensive threat. At one point Joe extended his arms towards the heavens pleadingly and burst out "Why does he get nine lucky shots and I get one." The crowd, accustomed to Joe's well-known and historic outbursts, gave him sporadic sympathy calls but generally simply enjoyed the sight of Joe playing Robert.

Satish Jagnandan, the highly skilled product from the Bronx, cruised to the finals, dispatching along the way veteran Paul Williams (who won an upset over the hard-hitting Pee-Wee) and newcomer Willie Polanco. The ever-surging Satish, who has been dominant in the one-wall circuit this year by winning the city-wide Mayor's Cup Tournament, credits his success to constant practice and dedication to mastery of the serve. His serve, a low-flat shot that skips over the service line with laser-like precision, enables him to dominate games. The drive to win has enabled this mathematical doctoral candidate to hone his skills so as to execute extremely accurate shots. The fear that Satish causes in players now has the draw-makers in any tournament entertaining plaintive requests from players to be seeded on the opposite side of the draw.

The other finalist, the powerful Kendell Lewis, overwhelmed John "Rookie" Wright, last year's National's semi-finalist and Mayor's Cup Champion, 25-17, before downing the Ice-Man in a match of sheer athletic grace and stamina, 25-11. Kendell, a professionally ranked four-wall player and a top three-wall player, wowed the crowd with his lightning retrievals of Rookie's shots from all over the court without ever losing his coordination, causing disbelief and people to shake their heads in amazement. He followed that by outlasting the unnerving Ice-man, a credit to Kendell's unflagging stamina.

Doubles Competitions

Rookie was able to avenge his loss by beating Kendell and the Iceman in the doubles semifinals. Rookie and partner Ervin defeated the teams of Satish/ Carlos and Kendell/Robert to face Peewee and Tony Roberts in the finals, which they won in a tight and grueling match. Rookie and Ervin did not disappoint the crowd, which did not diminish in audience after a full day of handball. The steady Ervin and the energetic Rookie cajoled each other to play well, instructing each other to stay strong after volleys, to not let calls or the score affect their play. Such camaraderie helped them to stay with and surpass Tony and Pee-Wee.

Tony, a top one-wall player who has won national doubles titles and citywide singles titles, played smart handball by driving volleys with exceptional spin at the opponents, keeping them behind him and allowing him to score flat kills. Not to be denied, Rookie and Ervin clawed their way back from a 23-17 hole, picking up every shot hit at them from just a few feet from the front wall, practically daring PeeWee and Tony to beat them in a macho bravado, until they willed themselves to a finals victory.

Women's Competitions

In the women's open singles, last year's runner up Brenda Pares, a star on the rise, used a cross-court serve from the right side to the left corner that literally flung Sydell from the court to win the women's final in a stunning upset, 25-21. Sydell, a one-wall and four-wall star, had won a surprising victory in the semi-finals over reigning Bailey Park champion Dori Ten in a nail-biting tie-breaker that saw numerous lead changes before a series of heart-dropping side-outs while tied at match point finally resulted in a Sydell victory. The crowd roared their approval after the match.

Results

Men's Singles

Preliminary:
  • Chris Hlavatovic defeats Misha Zitser, 25-21;
  • Danny Yee defeats Soon Lieu, 25-17;
  • Robert Sostre defeats Steve Kraft(11), 25-18;
  • Willie Polanco defeats Izzy, 25-6;
  • Alvaro Rebvaza defeats Victor Fernandez, 25-18.
  • Joe Durso defeats Aaron Velez(10), 25-16.

    First Round

  • Satish Jagnadan defeats Danny Yee(11*), 25-14;
  • Paul Williams defeats Pee Wee Castro, 25- 16;
  • Danny Vera(5) defeats Cesar Sala, 25-20;
  • Willie Polanco(5) defeats Joe Kaplan, 25-13;
  • Robert Sostre defeats Joe Durso, 25-7;
  • Eddie Maisonett defeats Peter Garcia, 25-8;
  • John Wright defeats Alvaro Rebaza(5), 25-14;
  • Kendell Lewis defeats Chris Hlavatovic(9), 25-9.

    Second Round

  • Satish defeats Williams(5), 25-11;
  • Polanco defeats Vera, 25-17;
  • Sostre defeats Maisonett, 25-16;
  • Lewis defeats Wright, 25-17;

    Semifinals:

  • Satish defeats Polanco(5), 25-18;
  • Lewis defeats Sostre; 25-11.

    Finals:

  • July 27, 10:30am, Bailey Park, the Bronx.

    Mens Doubles:


  • Kendell Lewis/Robert Sostre, bye;
  • Alvaro Rebaza/ Danny Vera defeat Tommy Ming/Freddie Cole(8), 25-19;
  • Ervin Irizarry/John Wright defeat Dwayne Sampson/Sal Cautedela(7), 25-20;
  • Satish Jagnandan/Carlos Lopez defeat Aaron Velez/Angel Maldonado(8), 25-18;
  • PeeWee Castro/Tony Roberts defeat Ronnie/Doc Reyes(110, 25-16;
  • Albert Apuzzi/Willie Polanco defeat Steve Kraft/Rocky Vignola (11), 25-11;
  • Eddie Maisonnet/Alex Rodriguez defeat Abe Haiman/Joe Agosto(7), 25-15;
  • Joe Kaplan/Cesar Sala, bye;

    Second Round


  • Lewis/Sostre defeat Rebaza/Vera(6), 25-20;
  • Ervin/Rookie defeat Satish/Carlos, 25-15;
  • PeeWee/Roberts defeat Apuzzi/Polanco, 25-22;
  • Maisonett/Rodriguez defeat Sala/Kaplan, 25-21.

    Semifinals

  • Ervin/Rookie defeat Kendell/Sostre, 25-16;
  • PeeWee/Roberts defeat Maisnoett/Rodriguez, 25-16

    Finals

  • Ervin/Rookie defeat PeeWee Roberts, 25-23.

    Women's Singles

    First Round
  • Dori Ten defeats Gladys Miranda(5), 25-14;
  • Sydell Smith, bye;
  • Tracy defeats Audrena Best(10) 25-19;
  • Brenda Pares(5) defeats Theresa McCourt, 25-22.

    Semi-Finals

  • Sydell defeats Ten, 25-24;
  • Brenda(7) defeats Tracy, 25-24;

    Finals

  • Brenda defeats Sydell, 25-11.

    Handball Main Page



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