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  • Klitch, Rice, Barker, Hahn Claim National Singles Titles Saturday in Naples

    There were four singles finals on Saturday (Roz King claimed the 80s title on Friday). One match stood out though, which was the nearly two and a half hour battle between Susan Wright the #2 seed, and top seeded Diane Barker. It was a reprisal of the final of the world championships last year, and was another tight battle. Diane won the first set 64 but not before Susan rallied from 35 15-40. The second set went on serve (unusual in general in women’s tennis, let alone in the 60+ division) for the entire set with very few break points, though Susan did have a break point with Diane serving at 5-6, so also a set point. Diane played a brave point and eventually forced a tiebreak which she won 7-3, and with it another gold ball and national clay title.

    The 40s final was between Jenny Klitch and Lizl Kotz. Klitch had too much variety for Kotz, winning 61 61. The 50s final between Shelly Works and Andrea Rice was won 60 61 by Rice who played brilliantly. the 70s final was also one sided with Molly Hahn putting on a great display, slicing deep and attacking throughout to win 61 61 in her first national 70s final.

    There was no 40s doubles. The 50s doubles title was won by Klitch/Vesna McKenna 61 46 retired over Mary Dailey/Rice. (Rice had to catch a plane….matches started late on Saturday.)The 60s doubles was finished yesterday, won by Nichols/Wright. The 4th seeds, Kathy Bennett/Liane Bryson beat Hubbard/Watanabe to take the 70s 60 61. And the 80s finished yesterday, won by DeVries/King.

    There were also a lot of bronze ball matches. In 50 singles, Alicia Rowley edged McKenna 63 76. Rowley/Works won the doubles bronze too with a straight set win over Kruger/Waterlek. The 60s 3/4 playoff was won by Bunny Allare in three sets over Frances O’Sullivan. Jones/Neuthaler won the doubles bronze yesterday. Betty Wachob took bronze in 70 singles with a 63 60 win over Lesley Pixley and she took the 70 doubles bronze too with Carter over Carol Clay/Ellen Goodman in 3 sets. This match pretty much was the last of the tournament…it was nearly 3 hours long and ended around dinner time Saturday.

    The other interesting result was that between Toni Novack and Ellen Goodman who were playing for 5th in the 70s. Novack led 60 50 40-0, and made a wrong move, tried to stretch it out…and couldn’t so had to retire, leaving Goodman with the win. Never give up!

    Draws are here.

    Photos are here.

  • King Crowned 80s Champ; Nichols/Wright Win 60 Doubles in Naples

    Roz King is peaking at age 80. The San Diegan easily beat a former nemesis, and good friend, Dori DeVries to win the 80 national clay courts and then teamed up with DeVries to beat the #2 seeds, Dorothy Wasser/Inge Weber in the doubles final. DeVries said she had no answers today, that King is moving great and just playing really well. Weber took the bronze in 80 singles while Carol Wood/Burnett Herrick won the doubles bronze.

    In the 70s, Brenda Carter had to go to a tiebreak for the second straight day, this time in the first set, against Leslie Pixley. She won the match 76 64 to advance to the final, where she’ll meet the “new kid on the block”, Molly Hahn. Hahn ousted Betty Wachob in the semis. In doubles, Hubbard/Watanabe continued their fine play, beating Carol Clay/Ellen Goodman in straight sets to advance to the final. There they will face Californians Kathy Bennett/Liane Bryson, who took out top seeded Carter/Wachob in the other semi.

    Susan Wright and I played very well to beat Pat Purcell/Bunny Allare 75 60. We didn’t drop serve the entire match (probably a first for me on clay…well on any surface!). The first set was very tight, with several deuce games…we won the set when I poached on set point (not our first one) after Susan hit a nice set up shot. We won the big points in the second set, as Bunny and Pat had game points in at least three of the games we won. Abbi Neuthaler/Kim Jones won the bronze with a tough 3-set win over Sherri Bronson (who was playing her third match in 6 hours!) and Kathy Foulk.

    In the 50s, Shelly Works worked hard (and hit many many high moon balls) to oust top-seeded Alicia Rowley 63 57 63. The moon balls got under Alicia’s skin…I saw her break her racquet after losing one point, but the two had a nice handshake and hug at the net after the match. Andrea Rice beat Vesna McKenna 64 64 in a well played match to advance to the final against Shelly. In doubles, Rice/Mary Dailey will take on McKenna/Jenny Klitch.

    The 40s final will be Klitch vs Lizl Kotz.

    And finally, thanks to the tournament volunteers!

    Photos are here.

    Draws are here: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/tournamenthome?T=212073

  • Hubbard/Watanabe Upset Top Seeds at National Clay

    On a breezy warm (but not oppressively hot) day in Naples, nearly all the seeds were in action, second round (round of 16 or quarters) matches were played and no one ended up at the hospital…all in all business as usual. (FYI, Carol Gay was recovered enough to visit the tournament site, though said she felt woozy still. She also said the ride to the hospital…strapped to a gurney and cramping…was something special, and not in a good way. But she will be ok in a few days she thinks.)

    Barbara Hubbard/Janet Watanabe (Jolene’s mom) upset Molly Hahn and Sue Kimball 76 (5) 63 today in the women’s 70s. It wasn’t Sue’s best day…she also dropped her singles match to Ellen Goodman 61 63 and in all fairness (though she didn’t complain about it), she was suffering from a calf strain. The better women on the day won. Mary Alice Pisani, who upset Carol Gay yesterday, continued her fine play into the quarters where she’ll face Betty Wachob. The other seeds advanced to the quarters including Toni Novack (below).

    In the 60s, Betsy Savitt edged #5 seeded Mary Morgan 64 76. Sally Smith played a great match to upset #6 seeded Sherri Bronson 60 63. The other seeds advanced.

    Dorothy Wasser showed she is more than a doubles specialist, taking the middle set off of #2 seeded Dori DeVries before fading in the third. King, Weber and Herrick, the last 3 world champions, all advanced as well to the semis.

    In the 50s, the three seeds in action, McKenna, Rice and Works, advanced without incident.

    In 50 doubles, McKenna/Klitch advanced to the semis while a round of 16 match has yet to be played.

    All four seeds advanced to the semis in the 60s doubles, though there were some tight first sets in a couple matches…Mosely/Smith stuck with #3 seeds Jones/Neuthaler for a set, before succumbing 76 62. Peltz-Petow/Savitt likewise were neck in neck with Purcell/Allare before falling 75 60. Susan and I beat Lesley  Pixley/Lee Roisman.

    In the 80s, top seeded Herrick/Wood edged Kathie Meyering/Jeanette Tubbs 46 75 62. They face either DeVries/King in the semis. Wasser/Weber, the #2 seeds, advanced to the semis.

    Photos are here.

    Draws are here: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/tournamenthome?T=212073

  • Alligator Alley…but no Alligators

    Susan Wright and I left Fort Lauderdale today for Naples via I 75, aka “Alligator Alley”. We went a little south then straight west across the Everglades. We made one stop, at the Francis Taylor Wildlife area. We saw birds and fish but no alligators, probably a good thing. Florida is such a very flat state. Drivers won’t get distracted by the topography…maybe that’s why hands-free cell phone talking is still a thing here.

    We went next to the Naples Bath and Tennis Club/ASC (Academia Sanchez Casal) where the tournament is being held. It was pretty quiet. After a picnic lunch, we warmed up in the gym (actually the gym was cooler than it was outside…it was in the 80s in Naples today). After some confusion (we were sent to a court that was being watered), we got in a good hit and saw a few of the players…Brenda Carter and Betty Wachob below were having a doubles match.

    I dropped Susan off at the Naples Airport to get her rental car. Tomorrow the tournament starts but we play on Wednesday, so plan on some touring around Naples tomorrow.

    Photos are here.

    Draws are here: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/tournamenthome?T=212073

  • Sunday Funday

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Susan and I practiced today with Mary Dailey and Vesna McKenna. No eyes were blackened during this practice match. Susan and I warmed up for a while first…even did some ladder drills. Our match was a lot of fun. We were at the Lauderdale Tennis Club so members dropped by to watch from time to time.

    The weather here is warm, upper 80s and breezy, but between the breeze and the intermittent clouds, the heat wasn’t too bad.

    Tomorrow we are off to Naples. The showers still aren’t working (well, technically they work, but just leak, one into my neighbor’s apartment and the other into my downstairs ceiling). Those leaks made it an easy decision to leave early for the tournament.

    Here are a couple of photos…Susan and me, Mary Dailey and Susan…Vesna was camera shy and also needed to get going.

    Next report from Naples!

  • McDonald, Nichols, Carter & Weber Win Singles at Joanne Russell Cup Sunday

    Naples, Florida, 2/19/17

    Kris McDonald won the 50s at the Russell Cup Category II today, but not before dropping the first set 60! She rebounded nicely though to win the final sets 61 61. Daniela Esswein took out Sheila Chiricosta 61 62.

    I won the 60s over Janet Mosely 60 60, though we had some close games and long points. In fact Janet started the match winning three straight points, but I managed to win the game and wear her down as the match went on. It was a warm and humid day today…temps reached 89 later in the day on my drive back to Fort Lauderdale.

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    Brenda Carter held off a second set surge by Sue Kimball, beating her 61 64. Carter led 52 before Kimball rallied to 54, but Carter closed it out there. Kimball took out the #2 seed, Betty Wachob, yesterday. Betty Wachob eased past Ellen Goodman 62 62 to place third.

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    Inge Weber dropped the first set to Carol Wood…who won it with a dropshot. However, Wood was forced to retire early in the third set with hand cramps. Inge on the other hand, went out soon after the singles and teamed with Rosie Fortna to play the 3/4 playoff, won by Leary/Smylie.

    In the 70 doubles final, Carter/Wachob beat Carol Clay/Goodman 61 61.

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    The match of the day was the 55 doubles final, which went on for hours. Margaret Lumia/Lijia Bottinelli edged McDonald/Betsy Savitt 64 36 64. I watched a lot of the match, but left before the third and had no idea who would win, it was that close.

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    Link to Draws:http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=190084

    Link to photos: https://goo.gl/photos/NfCR1tPt4WdCNB9a7

    And from yesterday: Russell/Solins won 36 60 61 in a match that ended near 7pm.

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  • Finals Set for Sunday in 50/60/70 Singles; Wargo Wins 40 Singles; Joanne Russell Cup

    Saturday was another gorgeous day in Naples, warm and humid but neither windy nor overly hot (temperature about 80).

    I played singles at 12:15 against Frances O’Sullivan. I played well and Frances had a bit of a calf injury…maybe more than a bit and I won 60 60, though we had some good points and games. I play Janet Mosely in the final; she took out Elizabeth Froehling 61 62. When I left the 60s doubles was going on between Kathy Foulk/Betsy Savitt and Joanne Russell/Terry Solins. Foulk and Savitt won the first set 63, and were bageled in the second; I’ll have the final result tomorrow.

    Betsy SavittJoanne Russell-001Kathy FoulkTerri Solins-001

    Leslie Wargo won the 40s with another 61 61 win, this over Jody Pearce (who was playing 50 doubles). Leslie and Jody are shown below with Emilio Sanchez.


    In the 50s, the two semis were of contrasting length, but the end result was that both the #1 and #2 seeds were eliminated by lower seeds. Heather Herman beat Sheila Chiricosta 61 61 while Daniella Esswein, the #2 seed was edged by Kris McDonald 75 76 (7); McDonald rallied from 1-6 down in the tiebreak to win it (not sure if the tiebreak was in the first or second set though). They were out there a good long time. McDonald/Savitt won their 55  doubles later to reach the final; there they face Margaret Lumia/Ligia Bottinelli. Herman and Leslie Baird beat Esswein/Pearce to win the 50 doubles.

    Bottinelli-001Lumia Bottinelli

    In the 70s, Sue Kimball upset #2 seeded Betty Wachob 63 64. Wachob edged Kimball in three sets at BallenIsles last month, but this time Sue found a way to hit a lot of forehands and get to net more. Kimball combined later with Lil Peltz-Petow to win the 65 doubles.  Kimball faces Brenda Carter, the top seed, in the final; Carter beat Ellen Goodman in the semis. Carter/Wachob play Goodman/Carol Clay in the 70 doubles final tomorrow.


    Judy Smith/Michaelin Watts won the 75 doubles

    Burnett Herrick/Dorothy Wasser won the 80 doubles. In 80 singles, Carol Wood and Inge Weber face off for the championship tomorrow; both are undefeated in round robin play.

    After I finished playing I watched Emilio Sanchez (former top 10 player, brother of Aranxta Sanchez Vicario) drill  his son and another, good adult player, doing various “Spanish” drills. His son is about 11 and has a one-handed backhand, and he’s pretty good already. The drills were tough; each player drilled for a few minutes, then recovered while the other player drilled and it was very interesting to watch, lots of emphasis on feet for the adult, hand speed too for the boy.



  • Joanne Russell Cup: Russell Makes Successful Tournament Debut on Friday

    There was much to be happy about on Friday: lots of tennis, wonderful weather and a big and happy crowd for Joanne Russell’s first match in the tournament named for her.

    Russell combined with Terry Solins from Maryland to beat Lil Peltz-Petow/Eileen Reynolds tonight in front of a large crowd, which was fueled by happy hour drinks, and generally was quite happy to see a good match, won by the top seeds, Russell/Solins 61 63. They play Kathy Foulk/Betsy Savitt in the final tomorrow.

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    I played my quarterfinal singles match against a Danish player, Birgitte Hostrop and won 60 60. I play Frances O’Sullivan, who advanced easily today 61 61. The other half of the draw hogged the court time. #2 seed Kathy Foulk played Elizabeth Froehling for the 2nd time this year and once again the two split sets. This time they played out the third and Froehling was once again the victor 75 in the third, showing a lot of consistency and grit. She’ll need that tomorrow against #3 seeded Janet Mosely, who found herself down 53 in the the first set against Pat Hirsch but rebounded nicely to win the final 10 games! Both matches lasted over two hours.

    In doubles, Leslie Wargo and I won the 40 doubles over a Valerie Khammash/ Hilary Kuker 61 60. Leslie is a fine player as well as a partner in a law firm in Ohio. It was the first time we’d played together, but our opponents were in the same boat. It was funny, other players couldn’t figure what was going on, or at least what age division I was playing,  since my partner and opponents were obviously much younger than me.

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    There weren’t a lot of upsets in other divisions, and the top seeds advanced to the semis in the 50 & 70 singles; most of the doubles were round robin, though three of the top 4 seeds advanced to the semis of the 55 doubles and the top seeds have yet to play in the 70 doubles.

    Draws: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=190084

    Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/NfCR1tPt4WdCNB9a7

  • Russell Grandes Dames, A Category II USTA Tournament

    There is a new Category II tournament in Naples, for women age 40-80, even divisions for singles and odd and even for 50-80, plus 40 doubles. I am playing 60 singles and 40 doubles (with Leslie Wargo from Ohio).

    The team is named for Naples resident Joanne Russell, the former tour player and TV commentator. She’s also playing, 60 doubles, though she normally plays pickleball, not tennis these days.

    The site is the Naples Bath and Tennis Club, home of the Sanchez/Casal tennis academy, There are a few hard courts and about 30 clay courts here, it’s a massive facility and a nice one.

    Play began today in all divisions. The 80s has a 5 person round robin, and Carol Wood was upset that she’d have to play two singles matches in one day (the sanction for the tournament was for Wed Feb 15-Sunday Feb 19, but the tournament director shortened it to the 16-19 long after entries opened and plane tickets were purchased. To be fair, the draws are mostly pretty small, which is probably why he shortened it. In the end, Carol upset Burnett Herrick, the 2015 World Champion in the 80s, in three sets, after dropping the first set. (Burnett also had to play an earlier match). Inge Weber, the 2016 world champion in the 80s, also advanced.

    The rest of the results went pretty much as expected. Many of the seeds don’t play till tomorrow.

    Naples is on the West Coast of Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. I went to the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park later in the afternoon, after a light practice. It’s a nice park, a mile or so long with a path adjacent to the beach, lots of picnic tables, and a quiet beach (with lots of shells). It was very windy today, and the sunset wasn’t a spectacular one, but it was nice to see a sunset over the water.

    Tomorrow I  have singles & doubles.

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    Link to draws: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=190084