• Category Archives 2015 Houston Clay Courts
  • Category I Nationals » 2015 Houston Clay Courts
  • Julie Thu Wins 35s at the Clay Courts (Indoors!); Nancy Hilliard/Kaysie Smashey Win 35 Doubles

    The rain in Houston threatened all week…and finally made good on its promise, drenching Houston today and forcing the tournament indoors on the final day at the Galleria Tennis and Racquet Club…indoor hard courts that is.

    Julie Thu, seeded 3, beat unseeded Nancy Hilliard in a tight two-setter to win her second singles gold ball in the past month. (She won the 30 Hard Courts a week or so ago in Austin over her doubles partner, Meredith Walton). Thu/Walton then took on Hilliard/Smashey in the final which was won 2-2 retired when someone on the Thu/Walton team had to retire with an injury (I’ll update this when I find out who was hurt).

    The other match that was played was Tracey Thompson/Kathy Vick, the final of the 55 consolation. Vick earns the Houdini award of the week, she had so many escapes! She lost the first set as she did yesterday, rallied again to win the second but went down 52 in the third before rallying to tie the match, at which point Thompson had to leave to catch a plane…so Vick placed 5th in the singles in the 55s.

    Many thanks to Cathy Lassiter, Sue Bramlette, Judy Job, Harriett Hurlbut and the staff and volunteers which made this tournament so wonderful.

    Draws: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=155251#&&s=0

    starred photos 3-2-2015 11-49-22 AM

  • Cass, Barker, Guerrant, Little and Lutz Take Home Singles Titles From Houston; 35s Final Set for Sunday

    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.

    Draws: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=155251#&&s=8Results0

    Diane Barker
    starred photos thursday friday 3-5-2015 7-29-21 AM
    Anne Guerrant
    Cass Finerman Watanabe Dailey
    Cass, Finerman, Wtanabe, Dailey

  • BRRRRRRR…The Houston Weather Today Eclipsed the Tennis

    starred photos Thursday 3-4-2015 6-10-46 PM starred photos Thursday 3-4-2015 11-20-15 AM starred photos Thursday 3-4-2015 11-12-41 AM

    Soooo..yesterday it was 81 degrees in Houston, a record at Hobby Airport…today it barely hit 40, and with the windchill it was in the 30s all day. Play was delayed three hours this morning due to rain, and main draw matches were cancelled in most divisions except the 35s and 45 singles. Players pulled out every layer of clothing they had (and borrowed other items) in an attempt to stay warm…others went shopping for gloves and hats. in the 45s, 2010 40 Clay Court champion Mary Dineen upset #4 seeded Tracy Houk in the 45s 62 61. She plays top seeded Jolene Watanabe in the semis. Julie Cass has yet to drop a game in reaching the semis and plays Shelly Works tomorrow. Cass and Alissa Finerman also reached the doubles final, beating Vicky Buholz/Cindy Johnson in the semis. The other 45s semi is scheduled for Friday. Top Seeded Patricia Zerdan pulled out of the 35 Clay Courts and out of the 40s Cup team as well with what I heard was a shoulder injury. We wish her a speedy recovery. That gave Carolina Blouin a walkover into the semis. An intriguing match tomorrow is Gee Gee Garvin and Nancy Hilliard. There were no other main draw matches today, but lots of consolation matches took place. In the 55s #2 seeded Pam Cooke/Tracey Thompson beat #4 seeded Erin Boynton/Abii Neuthaler to advance to the final of the consolation doubles against Dawson/Lang.

    Kathy Langer received the Betty Gray Washington Sportswoman award today at the dinner, voted upon by her peers. It was well deserved.



  • Houston Clay Courts, Tuesday/Wednesday: The Balmy Calm before the Wintry Cold

    The weather in Houston has been subject to a lot of discussion and many views of the Weather Channel on everyone’s smartphone this week. Originally it looked like a lot of rain each day…that hasn’t materialized fortunately. However, after a warm day today (low 80s), tomorrow brings a resumption of frigid weather (high of about 40) and wind. However the past two days have been pleasant and lots of great tennis has been played. The 35s begin tomorrow.

    The 45s are out to the quarters, with Pam Ponwith scoring the only upset, over Daniela Esswein, a 5-8 seed. In doubles, the top four seeds reached the quarters. The top four seeds in the 45 doubles all advanced to the semis without the loss of more than a few games today.

    In the 55s, Cindy Johnson began the tournament with a win over a 5-8 seed, and today beat #3 seeded Kathy Vick 60 63. The match was closer than the score, particularly the second set. Cindy is as patient though as Kathy, and there were lots of long moonball rallies, but Cindy was more effective at net and won the long rallies. Erin Boynton took on Susan Wright on the front court. Erin served well and used her heavy ground strokes to push Susan out of her comfort zone but Susan won the key points with some great passing shots and angles and made fewer errors in her 63 64 victory. Diane Barker made short work of Athena Cajas, winning 61 61. Ann Pellow rallied from a set down to beat Tracey Thompson 16 62 63. Thompson commented that Pellow played really well, hitting multiple lines and playing consistently deep. Barker plays Pellow and Johnson plays Wright tomorrow. In 55 doubles, yesterday, Ann Pellow/Kim Lackey upset the #2 seeds, Pam Cooke and Tracey Thompson 64 75. Pam and Tracey led 41 in the first set before Kim and Ann rallied, then Kim and Ann led 53 in the second only to go down 5-5 0-40 before rallying for the win. Today Susan Wright and I beat Yvonne Gallop/Kathy Foulk (who had taken out the 4th seeds) 63 62. We play Kim Steinmetz/Kathy Vick in the final. They beat Lackey/Pellow 62 62 today. This is a rematch of last year’s 55 indoor final.

    The 65s had no upsets after the win by Pell over Bramlette on Monday. The top four seeds are out to the semis. Martha Downing is into the semis without losing a game and plays Anne Guerrant tomorrow while Brenda Carter takes on Kerry Young. In the 65 doubles, Cindy Babb/Brenda Carter rallied to beat #3 seeded Molly Hahn/Vicky McEvoy in three sets; they face #2 seeds Sue Bramlette/Kathy Barnes in the semis. Downing/Kathy Bennett face Bunny Smith/Kerry Young.

    In the 75s, Ria Graham, a 5-8 seed, after narrowly avoiding an upset herself on Monday (winning 76 in the third against Kathy Langer), beat Roz King, the third seed, 76 (6) in the third set tiebreak today. She plays Donna Fales tomorrow, while Dori Devries, a three set winner over Dorcus Miller takes on Lyn Little. In doubles, Graham and Jessie Von Hippel ousted #4 seeded Chris Smith/Michaelin Watts 62 61 while Langer/Lyn Tietz, seeded 3rd, fell to Judy Janc/Susan Martin.

    In the 85s, Jane Lutz takes on her doubles partner, Rita Price in the final.

    Photos below from play on Tuesday and from the breakfast provided by the Club for the players (which is fantastic).

    Julia LeveringRoz King, Tracey Thompson, Kathy Barnes, Dori deVries Carol Clay, Julia Levering Carmen and Barbara Donna Fales Maria Nunez starred photos 3-2-2015 8-15-35 AM Ria Graham Ann Pellow Cindy Johnson Cass Finerman Mary Firek starred photos 3-2-2015 11-08-49 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-13-08 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-17-18 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-21-02 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-49-05 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-49-01 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-33-08 AM starred photos 3-2-2015 11-49-22 AM Teal Lang, Cindy Johnson starred photos 3-2-2015 11-50-16 AM

  • 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!