The 30 clay courts moved to the Lauderdale Tennis Club this year. The result: doubling of the number of entrants and some spectacular play.
Despite a 60 draw for the men’s singles; only one lighted court (blame Wilma for that one), and a 4 day sanction to complete the event, the final winners were determined by 9pm on the final day.
Mary Dailey was a big women’s winner at the clay courts. She won her 4th and 5th gold balls in the women’s doubles (with Renata Marcinkowska) and mixed (with Andy Lake).
Dailey/Marcinkowska played some of their best tennis at this event, winning their third title of the year. (Their others were the 40 clay courts and the 35 world championships). Marcinkowska displayed her awesome spins and enough running, jumping poaches that spectators were calling her “Air Renata” by the end of the tournament. The most spectacular shot though, was Mary Dailey’s game winning volley in the semis against Cristina Siriani/Martha Garzon. Siriani nailed a shot at Dailey who hit a stunning reflex volley winner to put her team ahead 5-4. She commented that it was “hit that shot or die”. They beat Garzon/Siriani 61 64. They also took the first set in the final against Robin Keener/Liz Levinson, the 35 Checket champions this year. The first set was all Dailey/Marcinkowska, with Dailey nailing overheads and backhands and Marcinkowska hitting topspin lobs, angles and those poaches. Keener/Levinson were more aggressive in the 2nd set which ended in a tiebreaker. One players new to the national scene, Mary Kang, commented that it was the best tennis she’d ever seen. She was glued to the matches all weekend.
The singles was won by 32 year old Anzela Zguna, a Latvia native who now resides in Orlando. She played #1 singles there at Rollins and was the #2 Division II player in the country in 2000. She has a BIG game. She beat Robin Keener in the semis and Keener’s impression was that the better a shot she (Robin) hit, the better a shot Zguna hit. Patricia Zerdan, 31, the #4 seed, and top ranked 30’s player, overcame 1-3 deficits in both set against the 2nd seed, Renata Marcinkowska to win 63 63. She is a very solid player, good topspin forehand, slice backhand, kick serve. In the final Zerdan’s steadiness kept her even with Zguna for a set, which Zguna won 75, as the winners kicked in and outnumbered her errors. She continued her fine play with a 61 2nd set. It was Zguna’s first gold ball.
Dailey/Lake had a tough match in the semis against Fitzwilliam/Zguna, edging them 64 in the third. Their opponents, Garzon/Tom Coulter had an equally tough match against Keener/Scott Harrison, winning that one 62 in the third. The final was Lake’s 5th match of the day (singles final, 2 men’s doubles and 2 mixed matches), but his serve, which seemed to be about 130mph the entire tournament, combined with Dailey’s solid play, resulted in a 62 63 win for Dailey/Lake in the final. It was also Lake’s 2nd gold ball of the day, as he won the men’s doubles final as well.