Lisbon, Portugal, Friday Aug 9th
The USA three of six cups at the 2019 ITF Seniors World Team Championships in Portugal, and none of the victories were easy today, with all three teams splitting singles and winning the deciding doubles point.
The most nerve wracking part of our day was when Susan opened up her racquet case to discover that…her strings had broken yet again! The one that she’d never hit with broke in a second spot and the one she’d just had strung yesterday also broke overnight. So she couldn’t even warm up with us. She had one strung with a multifilament string (instead of gut) and hit with it; during the rain delay I had her string the second one. So she was set to play with something other than natural gut for the first time ever.
The Alice Marble Cup (W60) beat France to regain the Cup they lost last year to Australia. I played #2 singles and lost rather badly to Catherine Suire who really played well. Then it rained and there was a two hour delay. When play resumed, Diane Barker was up at #1 against Betty Michel and won the first set 62. The second set was closer, but after having match points at 54, Diane closed it out 75 to send the match into the doubles. Since Susan’s strings were still intact, Diane and Susan Wright took on Benedict LeGrand and Suire. They were down early but rallied to 45 and nearly leveled the set before dropping it 64. They made some adjustments and took the second 63, and went up 1/0 in the third. Suire took a medical time out and had her ankle taped (we thought she was cramping but apparently not). Nonetheless Suire played aggressively, hitting her share of winners, and LeGrand moved well and covered many lobs. Susan and Diane (the MVP of the Cup) won the third and the Cup 63.
The men’s 60s was perhaps more dramatic. They played Germany. Danny Waldman won a tough three-setter at #2 singles; Mark Vines fell to Norbert Henn at #1 singles. Mike Tammen and Danny (MVP of their team) won the deciding doubles in three sets though the third set was won emphatically by the USA. Tammen is an amazing doubles player and Waldman is also a terrific doubles player though with a different style. They dedicated their win to Wes Cash who was originally on the team but had to withdraw when his wife became ill.
The Maria Bueno Cup team beat Spain 2/1. They dropped the first three sets of the tie, and won the next four. Julie Cass lost at #2 singles; Debbie Spence Nasim won at #1, playing her third singles three-setter in as many days, winning 67 62 61. Nasim/Ros Nideffer won the doubles point decisively 60 63 to retain their title. They had to play indoors due to bad weather. Photos below by Andrea Rice.
The USA Maureen Connolly Cup team fell to France 2/1. Shelly Works was down a match point at #2 singles and hit the back of the line to level the game; she ended up winning in three sets. Vicki Buholz lost at #1 singles. Mary Dailey/Buholz, playing under lights, lost a tough one 75 in the third, playing till about 10pm. They earned copper medals for fourth place.
The Austria Cup team, men’s 55, finished around 10pm as well, falling to Italy in both singles, and finished in 6th place.
The Fred Perry Cup team, men’s 50, finished 7th, beating Germany 2/1 in the 7/8 playoff.
The individual World Championships begin tomorrow.