There will be no repeat singles champions this year in Houston for the first time in a very long time.
Julie Cass avenged her 2014 loss to Jolene Watanabe in the 45s. It was her sole loss in that division in 2014, she won the Grass, Indoors and Hard Courts and the Worlds in that division after the Clay. This year Watanabe had the more challenging draw, playing three sets of singles in the semis and she added doubles to the mix, reaching the final with Mary Dailey. However Cass and Alissa Finerman were too tough for the field this year, and won the final in two decisive sets.
In the 55s, there was no repeat of last year’s upset in the final; Barker hit too hard and deep for Susan Wright in the final, and won 62 60. Unseeded Cindy Johnson won the bronze with a 60 64 win over Ann Pellow. Tracey Thompson/Kathy Vick play for 5th tomorrow. Nichols/Wright won the doubles yesterday and Lackey/Pellow took the bronze.
In the 65s, Anne Guerrant, no stranger to winning national championships, took out both #1 seed and defending champion Martha Downing in the semis, but also #4 seed Kerry Young in the final, in straight sets. Brenda Carter beat Downing for the bronze. Downing didn’t go home without gold though. She combined with Kathy Bennett to win the doubles over tournament director Sue Bramlette/Kathy Barnes. Cindy Babb/Carter took the bronze.
Lynn Little, often in the winners’ circle on any surface in doubles and on faster surfaces in singles, won Houston for the first time in singles in impressive fashion, showing that she’s comfortable on all surfaces. She took out #2 seed Dori Devries in straight sets in the semis and then ousted top seed Donna Fales in two tight sets in the final. She added a doubles gold (with Claudia Giacomini), beating defending champions Roz King/Dori deVries in three sets (this is a correction; yesterday the results were posted as a retirement win). Ria Graham/Von Hippel won the bronze. Devries took the singles bronze over Graham.
Jane Lutz, who had to retire from singles last year with a knee injury, came back this year and won both singles (75 60 over Rita Price) and doubles with Price.
The 35s final will be played tomorrow and pits former Stanford star Julie Scott Thu against unseeded (but not unknown) Nancy Hilliard. Hilliard took out last year’s finalist Meredith Walton, the #2 seed 75 75 today while Thu ousted unseeded Carolina Blouin 61 61. Thu/Walton play Hilliard/Smashey in the doubles final.
The weather tomorrow looks pretty wet…hopefully the finals can be played outdoors.