Les Grandes Dames Palm Beach Gardens Cat II/ITF Grade I Finished with a Blast of Air

Fort Lauderdale, FL

I’ll start today’s blog by wishing my dad a happy 94th birthday. He’s a tennis player and when I called to wish him a happy birthday he naturally asked how the tournament went….so this is how it went.

It was WINDY today…the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center is a wonderful public facility but doesn’t have a lot of breaks from the wind. It rained for several hours starting around 7am but stopped about 10…and the wind continued.

I played Diane Barker. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve lost to her over the past 25 or so years and I lost again today but it was a good and long match, 64 76 (3). The first three games of the second set took about 45 minutes! On one point I hit (attempted to hit) a crosscourt forehand and saw the ball change directions 90 degrees in the air and land on the line…and bounce over the side fence! (Diane didn’t win that point). On another, I set up to hit a forehand and I think whiffed when the wind pulled the ball an entirely different direction. Despite these challenges, we had long points and overall the match was of good quality. In the tiebreak Diane tightened up her game and didn’t make an error…too good. (Thanks Brad Sprayberry for the photo below.)

The 3/4 playoff between Kathy Vick and Wendy McColskey was even longer than ours, and was at 5-5 in the third when we finished. McColskey won 75 57 75. Kathy is definitely getting her court time this week, this was her second singles three-setter and she’s had two three-set doubles matches too.

Bunny Allare won the 5-8 playoff group with a 63 76 (8) win over Frances O’Sullivan.

Suzanne Siegler finished 9th.

In doubles, Ligia Bottinelli and Abi Neuthaler beat Ann Jacobs/Betsy Savitt to claim the title, 76 75. Foulk/Allare beat Vick/Kim Jones to place third.

And that’s a wrap on the first tournament of the year. The odd divisions will be played in February in Fort Lauderdale and the evens will reconvene in Naples at the end of February.

Draws and results are here.

Photos are here.

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