- May 13, 2019
Daniel Berenblit is headed to the state tennis championships.
The Flagler Palm Coast senior defeated Spruce Creek freshman Zane Ensminger in the No. 1 singles final at the District 2-4A tournament to clinch a spot in the boys individual bracket at the state championships.
While the FPC boys team didn’t advance to the state playoffs, the girls team finished second at the district tournament April 15 at Daytona Beach's Florida Tennis Center to advance to the regional semifinals.
Berenblit defeated Ensminger 6-3, 7-5 in the district title match to reserve a spot at state for the first time.
“It’s very exciting,” he said.
A year ago, he lost in a tiebreaker in the district final to eventual overall state champ Sami Ozzor of Spruce Creek. Berenblit had defeated Ozzor in two sets earlier in the season in the Spruce Creek Invitational final.
Berenblit, who is ranked 13th in the state and 78th nationally by Tennis Recruiting Network, also has a history with Ensminger.
“I train with him almost every day (at the Florida Tennis Center),” Berenblit said. “I beat him 8-2 (in a dual match at FPC on March 2). This was a much tougher match.”
Berenblit, whose older brother, Eric, was also a standout for the Bulldogs, will try to walk on to the tennis team at Florida State University, where he plans to major in biology.
He wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.
“I always wanted to help people,” said Berenblit, who chose the specialty after his mother, Marina Jarova, arranged an opportunity for him to shadow a surgeon.
“The kids just started asking me to hit with them, and it became word of mouth.”
The desire to help people has led Berenblit to start a side business. He gives tennis lessons to about 15 kids, six a week, at Holland Park.
“The kids just started asking me to hit with them, and it became word of mouth,” he said. “It keeps me afloat.”
Berenblit, who lives in Plantation Bay, has a busy schedule. He takes online classes, trains in the mornings and evenings and gives lessons in the afternoons.
Berenblit has one more high school tournament before he graduates. He hopes to become the second consecutive player representing District 2 to win the Class 4A state championship.