Julie Thu of Austin won the 35 singles last year in Houston, under different circumstances…it was pouring down rain and she beat Nancy Hilliard then indoors last year on a hard court; this year the final was played in about 80 degree weather outdoors on a very slow clay court. (The weather gods that punished this tournament last year, blessed it this year…it could have been San Diego, the weather was so perfect all week.) Julie played her doubles partner, Kaysie Smashey (who upset Hilliard in the semis) in the final and it was an excellent match. It was a comeback of sorts for Thu…after she won the title last year she fell doing crossfit (running backwards she tripped over a cone), and as a result has a metal plate in her left wrist. (She is a lefty.) This year she dropped the opening set, but her “crossfitness” allowed her to finish strongly after she found the range with her two-handed passing shots. Hilliard took the bronze. Smashey is in blue below. You can tell she’s in the 35s because of how low she bends to hi the ball!
The gold in doubles went to Thu/Smashey over Hilliard/Amy McCambell. The first set was all Smashey/Thu, but the #2 seeds kept it close in the second, but eventually succumbed to the top seeds 61 75.
There were various consolation finals going on as well. Emily Schaeffer/Kristin Hess won on a lot of levels…a year ago Kristin was quite ill with cancer and this year she was finishing fifth in doubles in an national championships. There were no losers on that court.
Carol Gay was 5th in the 65 singles (Sue Bramlette tried but couldn’t finish the match, pulled muscle).
Grace Woo was 5th in 75 singles, beating Patti Boyer.
Susan Boyer played errorless, precision tennis to beat Sally Smith 60 62. The two look like sisters and even dressed alike today (Sally has the yellow in her shoes). They Boyer/Erin Boynton took on Smith/Gail Warden in an entertaining match won by Boyer/Boynton in two close sets. Boyer again played pretty much errorless tennis.
Thanks once more the the Houston Racquet Club and its members for hosting and supporting this event; to Cathy Lassiter and Sue Bramlette for running such a great event along with all their volunteers; to Harriet Hulbert the referee, to Mary Ann Gralka for manning the tournament desk; to Judy Job for taking photos..and to all the sponsors, particularly the Gardere Law Firm and Bob Bramlette. This is The Best senior tournament!