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Easton Couple Serves For Tennis Title

EASTON, Conn. – Easton’s Ed and Wendy Levine have been down the First Niagara Family Tennis road before. Never, however, have they gotten as far as they have this year.

The Levines, who play out of Easton Racquet Club , will play for the husband-and-wife doubles championship Thursday in New Haven in the finals of the First Niagara Family Classic. The event runs in conjunction with the New Haven Open . The Levines will play at 4 p.m. at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale against Diane and Paul Garbaccio of the Hardscrabble Club in Brewster, N.Y.

The Levines won three matches in a qualifier last month to reach the finals. In the semifinals, they defeated Rebecca and Emmanuel Fernandez of Club Fit Jefferson Valley, 6-4, 6-4.

The Levines have played in the tournament four times and once reached the semifinals before losing. “We’re happy we made it this far,’’ Wendy said. “We’ve come close before.”

The Family Classic started in 2001 and includes participants from nine states. Clubs conduct qualifying tournaments in the spring, and the winners advance to the regional draw. The competition can be tough. “One year we played a Polish couple, and she was professional tennis player and her husband was a professional basketball player,’’ Ed said. “We had our hands full with them.”

The Levines play on different USTA teams, and enjoy the First Niagara event because it gives them time to play together. “It gives us something to shoot for and practice for every year,’’ Ed said. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously any more.”

The couple has been playing a bit more frequently lately, but they aren’t dwelling on results. “We’ll have fun and enjoy the day,’’ Ed said. “It would be nice to win, but the most important thing is to enjoy it.”

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