I am playing in the 55 singles and doubles (with Pat Purcell from Saint Louis, MO). Pat played on the USA Connolly Cup team last week and won all her doubles matches with Tina Karwasky, so she’s ready to go in doubles. I practiced a lot of singles (6:30 am practices!) with Jack and various team players (in the afternoons) who wanted extra practice, so I’m also ready to go I think.
The seeding here is done by ITF rankings. The rules allow some “seeding exemptions” but none were used in the women’s 55 division. It’s a tough division…in addition to Pat, the rest of her Connolly Cup team (Susan Wright, Tina Karwasky, Diane Barker) are playing; Diane won the worlds last year, Tina won the 60s and Susan won three of the four 55s nationals in the USA. Ros Balodis, the top Aussie, Betty Michel, the top French player, Susanna Villaverde, the top Swiss player and the top Brit, Frances Candy, are all entered along with the #3 seed who is from Brazil. I am seeded #2 since I played and won a lot of European tournaments last year; Diane is #1, Ros #4, Susan #5 and Tina #6. The ITF rules require that the top seeds from the same country must be put first into different halves of the draw, then into different quarters. So Susan and Tina were drawn into the quarters of the #3 and #4 seeds.
In doubles, Tina and Susan are the top seeds and Pat and I are the #3 seeds, but on opposite sides of the draw since we are all from the same country. The #2 seeds are from Brazil.
Today I practiced lightly with Vicki Buholz at 7 and with Susan from about 7:30, each for 30 minutes, then watched Pat play Gillian Shea from Canada. After a slow start, Pat played a very good second set and won 64 61. She plays Ros tomorrow. Diane, Jack, Susan and I started watching the men’s match next to Pat after she finished. It was sort of mesmerizing. It looked like maybe a 45s match, not sure, but one player had fairly classic strokes, nice topspin backhand, decent forehand and the other player…let’s say he didn’t waste any money on tennis lessons, but he could slice and dice and had great hands. He had a frying pan grip on his serve and footfaulted half way to the service line (and of course the referee watching the match never called it!) and his second serve looked like a 2.5 woman’s serve, it was just a push. So the classic stroke guy would crush the return, go to net and the no tennis lesson guy would slice it past him or put it at his feet and loft it over his head on the next shot. If classic stroke stayed back, no tennis lesson would dropshot beautifully. The latter player won the first set 76 and whenever he won a point would make a loud exclamation. You had to be there and that’s what’s fun about the world championships.
I also scouted my opponent, who is Penny from NZ. She looks like a grass court player and won easily against a Turkish player today, so it will be a good match.
After biking (I took my folding bike with me and it’s been nice to have it here) to the store for some water and snacks, it’s been nice this afternoon to just relax after a hectic week of watching and reporting. I’m ready to start the tournament now!