Beach tennis honors one of their own with Jesse Yaneva tourney

Donny Young, president of the Beach Tennis Association, shows the plaque honoring former player Jesse Yaneva that was placed on the court at 14th and The Strand in Hermosa Beach.

With so many sports and activities taking place in the South Bay year round, beach tennis can often be overlooked except by cyclists and pedestrians traveling on the Strand.

Yet the sport continues to grow locally and across the globe thanks to the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of the sport.

On Saturday, Apr. 6, the Beach Tennis Association recognized one of its star players prior to the 2nd annual Jesse Memorial Tournament, honoring Jesse Yaneva who was one of the top players in the United States before suffering a stroke that led to her death in 2018.

Yaneva, a Bulgarian native, lived in the South Bay for nearly 10 years, residing in Hermosa Beach where she was part of the real estate community.

“We remember Jesse as a sweet soul and fierce competitor,” says Donny Young, CEO of the Beach Tennis Association. “Her stroke and eventual death was tough on the beach tennis community. It brought us together and we raised $20,000 to bring her family out from Bulgaria.”

A plaque with Jesse’s photo was placed at 14th and the Strand and several planes flew over the court spelling out a “J” in her memory.

The Italian duo of Marco Mastrantoni and Antonio Bell were the stars of the tournament, winning the weekend’s Men’s Doubles Pro Division competitions.

Saturday’s competition in the Men’s Double Amateur Division was won by Bobby Guarisco (USA)/Roger Dextre (Peru) while the women’s title went to Amy Murphy (USA)/Denise Crandell (USA).

The Women’s Double Pro Division title was claimed by Laura Haver (USA)/Lisa Pearson (USA).

On Sunday, the duo of Tomiko Yamashita (Japan)/Lexi Howard (USA) won the Women’s Doubles Pro Division and the team of Remco/Mariel (Netherlands) captured the Mixed Doubles Amateur Division.

The Beach Tennis Association has been in the South Bay for 11 years.

“Beach volleyball is growing in lots of ways and we are looking forward to our next tournament which will be held June 1-2 in Hermosa Beach,” Young said.

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Written by: Randy Angel

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