Jolene Watanabe Wins 45 Singles Gold in Houston; Finals Set for 55, 65 & 75s

Jolene Watanabe avenged her 2015 loss here in the final to Julie Cass this year, beating Cass 76 64 to win the 45 Clay for the second time. Jean Marie Alpert, who upset #4 seed Hudson in the quarters, took out #3 seeded Shelly Works 63 61 to win the bronze. In doubles,  Cass is still in the running for the gold, teaming today with Alisa Finerman to beat Neuthaler/Bottincelli. They will face #4 seeded Tammy Morris/Alpert in the final.

Jolene with trophy

In the 55s, Tracy Houk upset #2 seeded Susan Wright 61 64 in a two hour plus match. Tracy has wicked topspin on her backhand, a funky slice on her forehand, and a “refuse to lose” attitude…and fast fast feet. She’ll need all of that in the final against Diane Barker, who beat me 62 61 today in a match which was not nearly as competitive as even that lopsided score would indicate. I was like a target on a tree and Diane was the rifleman lining up shots…she missed a few at first, then honed in on the center. She was hitting laser-like shots to any spot on the court I wasn’t near. The good news is that the match did not wear me out for our doubles! Susan and I took on Vicki Buholz/Marianne Caplan. Caplan was nursing a knee injury from the previous day (she had to play Susan and they had a 76 64 match, followed by doubles). Susan and I won 61 62, but the points were often long and there were several long deuce games, lots of lobs again. We play Houk/Kathy Vick, the #2 seeds, in the final. They beat Pam Cooke/Kim Lackey in the semis 26 62 60. So it will be a good final tomorrow afternoon.

In the 65s, Martha Downing cruised into the final against Molly Hahn 61 62 but the 2nd set was close, every game going to deuce. Martha plays Toni Novack in the final. Toni beat Kathy Barnes 64 76, rallying from 04 down in the 2nd to win. Downing/Kathy Bennett beat Cindy Ball/Barbara Hubbard in one semi. They face Sue Bramlette/Ann Stanley, who edged Kathy Barnes/Leslie Vallejo in three sets (Kathy probably spent the rest of the day in the hot tub or ice bath…running after Toni’s drop shots and Sue’s lobs will do that to a person).

The 75s went according to the seeds today: Donna Fales beat Suella Steel 1,1 and Charleen Hillebrand beat Sheila Weinstock (who is fortunately mostly recovered from a nasty bicycle accident she was involved in last year) 63 63. Hillebrand/Steel are in the doubles final. I’m not quite sure who they play…the results say Fales/Roberta Sung but I thought Donna told me she’d lost the first set, so I’lll check tomorrow. They played Jane Pang/Weinstock.

In the 85s, Jane Lutz won again over Caroline Clark. Rita Price/Joyce Vanderpol won the 90 doubles over Elaine Mason/Cathie Hall.

In 85 doubles, Clark and Lutz are getting their money’s worth…they’ve gone 3 sets in every match, but only lost to Jones/Ray. The 85s are shown below, the top four teams.


There was a nice player dinner tonight and NSWTA silent auction. Cindy Babb won the Betty Gray Washington sportswoman award.


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