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2003 Men's YMCA Singles Championships - Sunday April 13th, 2003     PLAYING SITE: Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. This is a USHA sanctioned event!!! ymcalogo.gif (3190 bytes)View the Drawsheet

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photo by Albert Apuzzi

(semi-finalists Willie Polanco & PeeWee Castro, 1st place Cesar Sala, 2nd place Robert Sostre)

A new format, using the USHA one-wall rankings, was
used to seed this tournament. Polanco #7 needed to be
switched with Rebaza #8 because of the consecutive
tournament rule. 9-16 picked their round of 16
opponents out of the hat.

One familiar and one new face were in the stories.
Cesar Sala bested Robert Sostre 25-21
but Jonathan Lee stole the show when he knocked out
the number one seed. Joe Kaplan,
who had, moved into a new house on the previous day,
said he felt fine before the match
began but afterwards said his body started feeling the
effects once the match began. Jon
impressed the crowd with his serve and kill shots. You
could see the spectators making a
mental note to remember the young man's name, despite
his 25-8 quarterfinal loss to
Willie Polanco.

Cesar Sala survived a comeback by Kendell Lewis, who
had tied the score at 17 all, to
earn a 25-17 victory and then handled a tired Polanco
25-4. Meanwhile Robert Sostre
defeated a multi-talented Albert Apuzzi 25-8. Albert
coming off a successful indoor season,
in which he and Polanco captured the HES & YMCA
doubles back-to-back, wasn't looking
singles sharp yet. 2002 National Champion PeeWee
Castro beat Francisco Carbuccia
by a respectable 25-14 score.

That set up a Castro vs. Sostre semifinal. Cesar told
me that he expected to face PeeWee
in the finals and was preparing himself mentally for
the his serve. Rob started out with at
least a 10 point lead, but PeeWee closed the gap to
14-16. At this point Sostre regained
the momentum at ended the match 25-17.

Two well matched athletes with a friendly rivalry,
respect and similiar styles were now slated
to square off in the finals. A mix of early season
mistakes and quality serves and rallies
resulted in a hard fought 25-21 win for Cesar over an
obviously fatigued Robert.

Sala was jubliant from capturing his first singles
tournament in a year and said that he is
dedicating himself to recapturing the National title.
His latest performance shows that he is
the man to beat.

Cash awards were split between the top four places.
Thanks to Artie Fuchs for serving
as the site director.