World-class tennis players put on show in York


This weekend’s 2016 Apartment Gallery Cancer Awareness Mixed Doubles Invitational at the Country Club of York definitely showed that there's a difference between local and world-wide success.

A handful of local teams got together to try take on some top talent from throughout the nation, and even the world. Local champions such as Mark Koons, Holden Koons and others were part of the field that included some very notable competition.

Punch Maleka, right, of King of Prussia, hits a return while his partner. Charlotte Sikora of Philadelphia, watches in the Apartment Gallery Cancer Awareness Mixed Doubles Invitational at Country Club of York. Maleka and Sikora beat Julia Cohen, of Philadelphia, and Nima Roshan, of West Chester in the finals, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Unfortunately for the locals, there wasn’t a lot to celebrate this weekend, at least in terms of wins.

Holden Koons, the York-Adams League and District 3-AAA singles champion from Dallastown, paired up with Carrie Moyer, but the duo fell in the first round of the single-elimination draw. Mark Koons, Holden’s father as well as the boys’ tennis coach at Dallastown, and his teammate, Jayne Snyder, also were eliminated in the opening round.

Meanwhile, the powerhouse pairings that were the top four seeds in the draw all advanced to Sunday’s semifinals without much drama. Alexandra Stevenson and Andy Stoner, the No. 1 seed, fell in an epic three-hour semifinal to Julia Cohen and Nima Roshan, while Charlotte Sikora and Punch Maleka, the No. 2 seed, routed Vinny Seiverling and Nathan Healey.

In the end, Sikora and Maleka downed Cohen and Roshan in the final, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, to claim the title and $1,000 top prize.

“This weekend has gone great,” said Mark Koons, who ran the tournament and is the director of tennis at the Country Club of York. “The only issue we had was the weather (Saturday) night. We had some lightning delays, so we had to go over to Lancaster and finish indoors.”

Overall it was a big success for Koons, who hopes the second-year tournament continues to grow. Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $3,500 for York’s Cancer Help Fund. This year he believes that the charitable donations received could at least double that amount.

Julia Cohen, front, of Philadelphia, hits a return while her partner. Nima Roshan of West Chester, watches during the final of Apartment Gallery Cancer Awareness Mixed Doubles Invitational at Country Club of York. Cohen and Roshan lost the title match to Charlotte Sikora of Philadelphia and Punch Maleka of King of Prussia in three sets.

While he isn’t predicting a similar doubling of the funds raised for next year, Koons believes the tournament and its unique mixed-doubles format has a good chance of being a valuable fundraiser with its home at CCY.

"This is definitely unique,” Mark Koons said. “We wanted to try something different, with the mixed doubles, hoping that might attract some interest, since it’s a different type of tournament. This is the biggest event that our club has ever hosted here. Our members regularly fill the courts and we have a very active tennis community.”

Generating interest in the tournament is helped by getting some well-known players to take part. It was quite a feather in the cap for Koons to get Stevenson, the daughter of Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving, to play. It also helped that the former Wimbledon semifinalist also taught an instructional clinic Friday afternoon.

“Her partner, and a buddy of mine, Andy Stoner, is the director of tennis at the Harrisburg Country Club and he’s a part-time coach of hers,” Koons said. “So getting her in was all through him. She did a little clinic Friday and did a great job.”

The tournament also gave the local teams a chance to see just how advanced the competition is from outside of the York area. Koons was certainly impressed with the level of play throughout the 12-team bracket.

“All of the ladies here can hold their own,” he said. “It’s pretty much anything goes. It’s cut-throat. There were more than a few world-class teams here this weekend.”

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