Houston, Friday, Wind, Cold, Survival

It was a horrible day to play tennis in Houston, windy, gusts up to 30mph and cold, 30s and 40s and overcast till the late afternoon. But the senior players persevered from 35s to 85s. The main draws conclude tomorrow except for the 35s.  The 65s and 75s finals were postponed till Saturday; the 55s semis were played today and the 45s final was played in singles, as was the 75 doubles final.

The 35s really got underway today and there were a couple of upsets. Rachael Gale, a solid lefty rallied from an 06 first set to upset Trish Riddell in 3 sets under gusty, cold conditions.  In doubles later on, Kristen Hartley/Jeanne Hulsen rallied from 14 down in the third set to beat Pam Cooke/Debbie Croft, a team to whom they lost 63 60 in the 45s under milder conditions a couple of days earlier. The remaining seeds advanced.

In the 45s, Fran Chandler moved beautifully and made few errors in ousting Carolyn Nichols 63 63. Susan Boyer, using her "consistency" strategy, outrallied Kathy Vick 63 61…and finished before both Chandler/Nichols and Smith/Schmidt. Erika Smith played her longest ever match, 3 hours 20 minutes, against Andrea Schmidt, winning the quarterfinal consolation match 76 (5) in the third. She next takes on Heidi Gerger who received a walkover to advance to the consolation semis, and force a rematch of their first round encounter.

In 45 doubles, the top 2 seeds advanced to the final but not easily. Kathy Vick/Emily Schaeffer needed three sets and well over 2 hours to beat Lori Fahrenholz/Kim Lackey. In a rain interrupted match, Chandler/Boyer played flawlessly in the wind to beat Cooke/Croft 67 63 63. The latter team led by a set and 32 when it started raining yesterday but the delay really helped Boyer/Chandler, who lobbed effectively and made few errors today, covering the court like an octopus.

Martha Downing, who, prior to this event had never gone past the quarters at a clay court national, looked at home on the surface, beating Kerry Young 64 75. Young rallied from 25 down in both sets before Downing finished off the sets. The two play much alike both tall, all court players, who used a lot of variety and both of whom possess good serves. Martha faces last year’s champion, Chieko Holt, who beat Sue Bramlette 76 62. Downing/Young will play Leprevost/Bramlette in the doubles final tomorrow. The latter team beat Torrance/Mauldin in a very entertaining match…lots of extensive rallies in that one. Downing/Young beat Babb/Peiffer, 64 63, winning the final 6 games of the match.

The 65s singles final and 3/4 playoff were postponed till tomorrow, but the doubles semis were played. Heide Orth/Lurline Fujii tooled Anderson/Bill, winning 63 61. The face Hillebrand/Steel who dominated fellow SoCal players Willauer/Hegberg 2,0 in the other semi.

The 75s singles final was postponed till tomorrow which was good since the doubles final lasted about 3 hours. Last year gold slam winners, Mary Boswell/Louise Russ fell to Nancy Reed/Lee Burling 67 63 63. Some games lasted 15 minutes, and the match was of high quality. Canby/Ray took the bronze over Munro/Balics.

The 85s was won by the seemingly ageless Betty Cookson and Dodo 64 75 over Betty Eisenstein/Olmstead.
Dodo defaulted the 85s singles final to Eisenstein (2 rounds of doubles were played today by Cookson/Cheney). Lovie Beard took the bronze when Loucille Scoggins, who has been ill with the flu, had to default.

Lucille Kyvallos, who withdrew from the tournament Monday, with the flu, ended up in the hospital last night, but has been released and is feeling better.

That’s all for today, I hope to have some photos tomorrow if it’s warm enough to walk about. It was just so cold today, 3 layers weren’t enough to keep the chill off unless one walked into the "warm room" in the pro shop.

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