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One successful tourney begets two more events

Nate Griffin is so content at how his first tournament is coming together that the River Strand head tennis pro has decided to do it again. And again.

The men's doubles tournament enters its final weekend starting today at the River Strand Golf and Country Club in Bradenton, and Griffin is already getting ready for a women's doubles and a mixed doubles event.

"When I put out the e-mail about the men's tournament, quite a few of the ladies e-mailed back saying they felt slighted that we hadn't had a women's tournament scheduled yet," Griffin said Thursday. "They wanted to have a tournament, and there was interest in a mixed doubles event so that is why I decided to add those two tournaments."

The men's open and 4.5 divisions of the men's doubles tournament that kicked off last week will be held this weekend. Prize money in the open division lured many of the top players from around the area and two first-round matches will be held today at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Among the teams in the draw are top-seeded Stephen Moros and Weylu Chang.

Play continues Saturday, and semifinals will be held at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The championship will be played at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The women's tournament will be held June 13-15 and several top women in the area are already planning to play for the prize money offered in the open division.

In addition to the open division, there are also events for 6.0, 7-0, 8.0 and 9.0 divisions. Entry fee is $25 per player, and the entry deadline is June 11.

The mixed doubles tournament will be held June 20-23. The same ability divisions are offered and the entry fee is $25 per player. Entry deadline for the mixed doubles tournament is June 18.

This weekend is full of tennis throughout the area for those interested in watching.

The qualifying tournament for the $50,000 Hurricane Open, a USTA Challenger professional men's tournament, gets under way Saturday at the Racquet Club at El Conquistador in Bradenton.

The four semifinalist from matches on Sunday will advance to the main draw of the USTA Challenger, a field that includes players ranked in the top 100 in the world.

Added to the main draw as a wild card entrant Thursday was 16- year old Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, considered one of the top young players in tennis.

Call 809-8996 or check out the website for tournament and ticket information.

* Just up the road, the annual Master's Tournament will be held Friday through Monday at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy at the IMG Academy.

The tournament brings together the top players in the academy in a season-ending event. Call 755-1000 for more information.

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