Houston National Senior Women’s Clay Courts March 2nd, Day 1: In an Upset, Dry Weather!

The weather today in Houston was dry, cool and calm, a marked contrast to Sunday which was wet and cold. At the end of the day the only upsets were in the women’s 55s and 65s, but there were osme close calls in the 75s. Cindy Johnson, playing her first national in a long time (10+ years) played a 5-8 seed, Yvonne Gallop and won 75 63, using extreme consistency and an all court game. Gallop was the only seeded singles player in action in the 55s. In doubles, Gallop and Kathy Foulk pulled an upset of their own, beating last year’s finalists, Erin Boynton/Abbi Neuthaler, the 4th seeds 62 46 62. In the 65s, Simmy Pell, another player returning from a long absence, and Sue Bramlette a 5-8 seed staged a dramatic match. After splitting the first two sets, Pell raced to a 5-1 lead in the third, only to get tight while trying to close out the match. Bramlette also improved the depth on her balls at that stage and rallied to tie the match at 5-5; Pell then relaxed and went up 65; Bramlette fought hard and ran hard in the next game, one of the best played in the set, to force a tiebreak. Pell played a great tiebreak, hitting deep and aggressively throughout and won it 72. Cindy Babb also won a match 76 in the third, beating Sheila Johnson to advance. In the 75s, Kathy Langer, playing only her second tournament after back surgery last summer, came within two points of beating 2013 finalist Ria Graham in the 75s before Graham won four straight points to win the third set tiebreak 75. Chris Smith and Lyn Tietz also had to go three sets to beat Lola O’Sullivan and Barbara Oldfield respectively. As usual there was a nice breakfast and lunch for the players, included in their entry fees. Hopefully there will be some photos tomorrow!

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