I’m here in Pensacola, for the 40/50 Clay Courts which have been going on all week.
The 40 finals were held today and Marianna Hollman won the singles title over unseeded Renee Thorpe. Renee lives in Atlanta and is a Delta flight attendant. She said that after playing the tournament this week that going to work would be a piece of cake! It was her first tournament in about 10 years. She had a lot of local support, since she was a pro here about 10 or so years ago. She reached the final by upsetting in succession, the 4th seed, Anna Zimmerman in the quarters then the #2 seed, Ellen Markowitz in 3 sets in the semis before falling to a very consistent and determined Hollman. Marianna and Tiina Smith played for nearly 4 hours in the semis, with Hollman finally prevailing 76 (5) 63. Marianna finished the match by coming forward, and nailing an overhead. Hollman’s willingness to go to the net combined with some untimely, sun-related double faults by Smith was the difference between victory and defeat. Markowitz won the bronze in a lengthy 3-set win over Smith. She said she was more patient and picked her spots to attack more wisely in the third set. It was her first win over Smith in three tries, a fantastic effort given how much Smith has also improved over the past couple of years.
Anna Zimmerman rebounded from her quarterfinal loss to win the backdraw.
The 50 doubles final is set. Both finalists had to go the distance to reach the final. The top seeds, Ogburn/Ramsower-Pearlstein, edged past Becky Holland/Jan Kirkland-Cochran winning the first set, dropping the 2nd in a tiebreaker, then regrouping to win the third 62. Sherri Bronson/Frances O’Sullivan dropped the first set to Sue Sprague/Debbie Burgess, but finished strongly, winning the final sets 63 62.
Mary Dailey and Diane Fishburne are in the 40 doubles final with a hard fought 64 75 win over Annmarie Brigandi/Kathy Vick, who looked sharp in their matching outfits. (No, they are not sisters.) They are awaiting the match between Hollman/Zimmerman and Bronson/Markowitz.
The 50 singles final will start bright and early at 9 am. It’s a repeat of last year’s final between Bronson and Nichols. Bronson played well to upset the 2nd seed and score her first win this year, in 3 tries, over Ogburn. Nichols edged past O’Sullivan in a match that lasted over 2 hours, 63 64.