Carol Clay, Fort Lauderdale, won her first gold ball at the 60 clay courts in April; Donna Fales, Coral Gables won her inaugural 70s title (winning both the semis and the final matches 60 60!) and Jane Lutz, Sarasota, keeps getting better with age. This trio of Floridians excelled in Huntsville, site of the USTA National 60, 70 80 Women’s Clay Court Championships, each taking home a USTA gold ball, signifying a national title. For Clay it was her first gold ball and she was extremely happy and excited to finally win a national title after playing for over 20 years at the national level.
Martha Downing, Shingle Springs, CA and Kathy Bennett, Irvine, CA won the 60 doubles; Fales teamed with Palm Desert’s Norma Veal to win the 70s title and Joyce Jones/Angie Ray won the 80s, upsetting the defending champions Doris Stephens/Louise Russ in the semis.
Clay nearly lost early on, rebounding from a set and 1-4, ad out against Leslie Pixley to win in three sets and also overcoming a 1-set deficit to take out Toni Novack in the semis. She was ecstatic to win her first gold ball and also placed third in doubles with Ellen Goodman. For Downing, winning the doubles was a consolation after losing the singles final. For Bennett, it was her 5th straight 60s doubles title, the last 4 of which were won with Downing. They beat Ann Stanley/Sue Bramlette in the final. Bramlette beat Molly Hahn and Kathy Barnes to win the backdraw. Bolduc/McEvoy finished 5th in the doubles.
Fales dominated the 70s, beating last year’s winner, Dori deVries 60 60 in the final; Carol Wood placed third and Ria Graham placed fifth. Fales/Veal beat Kathy Langer/Lyn Tietz in the final; Herrick/Wood came in 3rd and Janc/Martin were 5th.
In the 80s, Ryerson beat Rita Price to place third and Louise Owen finished 5th. Jones/Ray beat Lutz/Ryerson in the final after beating Russ/Stephens; Russ/Stephens won the bronze over Owen/Price.