Action Packed Day 4 of the USTA Level 1 National Women’s Clay Courts in Houston: Into Doubles Final & Singles Semis

Draws are here.

Thursday was a really busy day at the National Clays in Houston as all age divisions were in action from the 35s to the 85s. It was fun to talk to players in all the age divisions, united by a love for tennis and happy to watch the great tennis regardless of the age division.

I played Betsy Kuhle and won 63 62, but it was a tough battle…Betsy hit lots of winners, but I also scrambled a lot of balls back…it is clay after all. Betsy was the head coach for Western Michigan for 33 years! She has beautiful volleys and a lovely backhand among her strengths. I play Leslie Murveit next. She beat her doubles partner Andrea Barnes 76 (6) 61; Susan beat Kathy Foulk 1,0 and Bunnie Jackson beat Pat Purcell 3,0…they also had some really interesting points with good scrambling by both.

In doubles, it was an all Betsy Kuhle day for me today…we beat Betsy and Pat Purcell 61 64. The weather was nicer today…a bit of mist but no rain…but the wind was gusting at times, playing havoc with lobs at times. We play Barnes/Murveit in the final, a repeat of last year. They had a fabulous match with Colleen Ferrell/Una Davis from the San Diego area…the points were amazing from all four, and the outcome in doubt till the final point…the score was 64 26 76(5) and the winners overcame a match point. The final is at 2pm tomorrow.

In the 75s, the top two seeds prevailed in straight sets, Gwenda Ward over Brenda Carter and Toni (drop shot) Novack over Betty Wachob. In doubles, Liane Bryson/Kathy Bennett beat Ward/Carolann Castell and Sue Kimball/Leslie Pixley beat Carter/Wachob in three sets.

Unseeded Chris Smith continued her fine play, finally winning a completed match and what a win it was, over top-seeded Dori Devries 46 75 75! She faces #2 seeded Roz King who beat Carol Wood 75 ret. King/Devries will take on Sheila Palmer/Wood in the doubles final. Interestingly, King/Devries were supposed to play Chris Smith first round in doubles, but Smith’s doubles partner was injured…

In the 35s Kristen Bleakley (who had family cheering her on, and holding a poster!) upset #4 seeded Monica Hoz de Vila..earlier in the year Kristen won the Level 2 in Palm Beach Gardens. Quarters of the 35s singles and both round of 16 and quarters of the doubles take place tomorrow.

In the 45s, the #3 and #4 seeds were upset. Patricia Zerdan took out Joanna Stewart (3) in straight sets and Laura Ruben edged #3 Luciana Roldan in three hotly contested sets 75 26 63. The semis are tomorrow with Zerdan taking on Julie Thu and Ruben Marissa Chapin. In doubles, Shannon Devall/Tanya O’Neal upset the #3 seeds, Lori Gonzalez/Kim Pennington; not all results are posted yet, due to numerous teams playing two doubles and having very long matches.

In the 55s singles, the top four seeds advanced…top seeded Charlotte Hartsock had to go 3 sets to beat Shelly Works, and Vicki Buholz won two hard fought sets against her doubles partner Gayle Prejean. She faces Heather Herman next while Hartsock plays Manola Colter.

In doubles, the top seeds joined the #2 and #3 seeds on the sideline. Buholz/Prejean fell to Terri Thyssen/Laurie Capra in two tight sets while #3 seeded Lisa Blasey/Robin Kramer were ousted by Kathy Vick/Lori Robertson 57 61 76. So it’s Thyssen/Capra vs Vick/Robertson and Miller/Zimmermann vs Guszak/Cogan.

At the end of the day there was a get together with food and drink…chips, dips and more…and of course there was a great lunch midday…make your own tacos.

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