I'd like to preface this post by saying that I hope, for the sake of a level playing field and the evolution of Beach Tennis USA, a team stifles the explosive 1-2 punch of Lisa and Laura Maloney.
Not to hastily pour a bottle of hatorade on their souls...I've jumped to the conlusion that it would be entertaining if a team knocked off the dominant tandem.
My instincts tell me the Maloneys won't encounter a formidable foe who could threaten their aspirations to repeat until at least the quarterfinals.
Imagine if the top-tier tandem fritter away a lead to some upset-hungry squad?
There are certainly some things to consider this year.
1) Three-time national champion Nadia Johnson and Nicole Melch have become the hunted in Beach Tennis USA. The tandem has tantalized opponents to the tune of three titles on the 2009 national tour.
2) Other former professionals will compete in this event.
The tournament is as wide open as the ocean. You really can't punch your ticket for a Johnson-Melch/Maloneys final, though the two perennial powers have enjoyed the most success on the beach tennis circuit.
It's American to root for the underdog, isn't it?
The San Diego natives find themselves in familiar territory this weekend, looking to regain the glory and keep their regal resume intact.
The reigning national champions and 2008 San Diego Smash winners were able to grind out a dizzying match against legendary Gretchen Magers (the former professional emerged into one of the top singles players in the world before retiring in 1992) and Debbie Nasim.
Magers, a four-time college All-American and quarterfinalist of both the US and French open, showed the jam-packed crowd that she's "still got it."
Showcasing her trademark backhand, Magers and Nasim played an aggressive brand of beach tennis and were immersed in an eyeball-to-eyeball, neck-and-neck battle with the savvy sisters.
Before a strongly partisan crowd rallying behind the homegrown products, the Maloneys managed to fend off the resolute Magers-Nasim, 9-7.
A torrent of professional tennis talent mastered the transition from the gravel to the steaming sand last year.
Along with the aforementioned Nasim (who won the Acura Classic in Carlsbad, Ca.), Caroline Vis (former #9-ranked doubles), Patricia Tarabini (former #12-ranked doubles), Cammy McGregor, and Terry Holladay are all former highly-touted WTA players.
Expect much of the same.