GODFREY – Steve Moehn, of St. Louis, was all smiles Friday morning after he won in the first qualifying round of the USTA Men’s Pro Circuit Futures tournament. Then, he cleaned up and headed back to the city for a business meeting—all in a day’s work.
The scenario may not be a typical day in the life of a Pro Circuit Futures player, but it worked for Moehn, 41, an Alton native and 1990 graduate of Marquette Catholic High School.
He defeated Patrick Weant, 30, a tennis coach from Louisville, Kentucky, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, and will face No. 9 American Ronnie Schneider not before 8:45 a.m. at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex at Lewis and Clark tomorrow.
Moehn played for Illinois State University and competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for several years after high school. He currently competes in St. Louis area singles and doubles tournaments.
“I’m going to be 42 in September, and I just played and won a 2 ½ hour match in a Futures tournament,” Moehn said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Last year, Moehn and doubles partner Dave Fuhrig got a wild card into the L&C Futures after winning the Bud Simpson Open doubles final, but they won’t repeat after losing in the final of the Simpson tournament to University of Illinois team Julian Childers and Tim Kopinski, 6-0, 6-2.
Kopinski won the Simpson men’s singles title which earned him a wildcard in the main draw of the USTA tourney at Lewis and Clark. Childers lost Friday to Konrad Zieba 6-4, 6-3.
Illini Men’s Tennis Head Coach Brad Dancer said he and the team look forward to playing at the Lewis and Clark tournament each year.
“There is a lot of talent and great competition in this tournament every year, and it is a great facility,” Dancer said.
Illini players and alums still qualifying Saturday include: Blake Bazarnik, Alexander Jesse, Jared Hiltzik, Fares Ghasya, Brian Page, and Roy Kalmanovich.
Ghasya and Page will play each other for a chance at the main draw. Recent Illinois graduate Stephen Hoh, of Australia, also has a spot in the main draw of the tournament which begins Tuesday, July 23.
Ghasya had a bye in the first round, and Page defeated Anthony Fortunati, 46, of Boston, 6-0, 6-2 to earn his spot.
Fortunati, who started playing tennis at age 28, said Page is a very competitive player and he was glad for the experience.
“This is my first time at this tournament and I’m impressed. There is a high level of competition and the tennis complex is very nice,” said Fortunati.
Fortunati is lucky to be playing tennis because he was working just a few blocks away when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred in April.
“It could have been me getting injured just as easy as the others. I know several people who lost limbs and were hurt in the bombing. It’s been tough, but we are rebounding.”
One of the youngest players in the tournament, Liam Caruana, 15, of New Braunfels, Texas, came out a winner Friday when he defeated Seanon Williams, 22, of Barbados.
He now will play No. 6 Marcos Giron.
Play begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex at the college and the Alton High School tennis courts.
The college is hosting a free tennis clinic for children tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the George C. Terry River Bend Arena. Children of all ages will have a chance to learn tennis from some of the tournament’s professionals. The event is free and open to the public.
The tournament is also free and open to the public.
For more information about the tournament or to get directions to campus, call (618) 468-6252 or visit www.lc.edu/usta