• Tag Archives Houston
  • Houston, National Clay Courts, Practice Day

    Houston, Texas (yes I AM in Houston),Sunday September 20, 2021

    Link to draws and results (once tournament begins); seeds are posted in “overview”.

    Link to photos album.

    This tournament was initially scheduled to be played in April but was postponed till now due to Covid. There are definitely a lot of restrictions to keep members and players safe: masks indoors, no use of gym (some bikes are outside), no congregation inside (even though it’s humid and in the 90s for the first couple of days), no use of lockers etc. All quite reasonable.

    Today I practiced early with Tracey Thompson, then watched others practicing and caught up with a lot of people I haven’t seen for a couple of years. That was fun! I also checked into the tournament where everyone was given a nice had, t-shirt and other fun gifts. The courts were in great shape today…they had lines which were not raised (so bounces off of them were playable as opposed to bounces which make the ball either roll on the ground, bounce at 90 degrees or bounce up over one’s head). It was warm and humid, even at 9am.

    Tomorrow I have a bye, will practice some and scout my potential first opponent (I play the winner of a match).

    The NWTO (National Women’s Tennis Organization) had a booth to try and get new members to join (for more information click here).

  • Travel Day: Houston!

    Today, Saturday, I flew from Florida to Houston got the national (Level 1, gold ball) 65 clay courts. I drove to Ft Lauderdale from Palm Beach Gardens, and parked my car for the week. It was super smooth, 25 minutes from Park n Go to clear security which include a shuttle ride and checking a bag!

    The terminal wasn’t very crowded.. I sat at a gate with no flight, snd had a row to myself on the flight. We had to return to the terminal after having taxied to the runway because a (relatively young) passenger was ill. But flight arrived nearly on time.

    Houston/Bush was pretty busy. I rented a car then had to wait 20-30 minutes for one to be available…the lot was devoid of cars!

    After checking into my Airbnb (and waiting out a big thunderstorm), I drove over to the tournament venue, the Houston Racquet Club. The courts were soaked but I caught up with some friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a few years. Below are Tammy Simon, Anna Zimmermann and Rainy Miller from the 55s.

    My next stops were Kroger and Trader Joe’s. Then back to the apartment to get ready for the busy week ahead.

  • Date Change for Women’s 35/45/55/65/75/85/90 Clay Courts in Houston, TX

    NEW DATES: September 20-26, 2021 for the Women’s 35-90 Clay Courts at the Houston Racquet Club

    Sue Bramlette TD off the Houston Women’s Clay Court Championships reported today that the USTA has confirmed the dates of September 20-26 for the National Women’s Clay Courts in Houston.

    The dates changed due to the delay in the vaccine distribution, making the original mid-April too risky for the players and club.

  • USTA National Senior Women’s Clay Courts (35/45/55/65/75/85/90) Cancelled for 2020; Will Resume in 2021

    Sue Bramlette, the tournament director for the National Senior Women’s Clay Court Championships (NSWCCC) in Houston, Texas, after consulting with the COO of the Houston Racquet Club (HRC) and the membership director of the HRC has concluded that the HRC will not be able to host the NSWCCC in 2020.

    There were a number of issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic that would or could impact the hosting of the tournament this year.

    The HRC plans to host the tournament in 2021.

  • Over the Hills, the Road to the End of the World, Four Flights and Three Drives to Thanksgiving

    Palm Desert, CA

    It was 42 hours door to door to get from Torres del Paine, Chile to Palm Desert, CA for Thanksgiving. It was a pretty morning in Patagonia. I took a two hour or so ride to Puerto Natales, changed vehicles and driver. We then took the “Ruta del Fin del Mundo” to Punta Arenas airport, where arrived two hours in advance of my flight.

    The Punta Arenas airport is pretty small, though the plane was pretty big. There’s a very small lounge and a couple of coffee places that also sell sandwiches and a gift/snack/drinks shop.

    Three hours after leaving Punta Arenas, I was in Santiago where the temperature was nearly 80. Chile is VERY long and narrow, with huge climate changes from north to south. At the Santiago airport I retrieved a bag I had stored there, thinking I could then check in my bags and relax…alas that was not the case. Check in is only three hours in advance of a flight and I was there five hours early. So my luggage cart became my lounging area in a relatively deserted part of the busy airport. Having not had internet access for a week time passed pretty quickly. The Santiago airport before security though is pretty basic anyway, not enough room for all the people entering it.

    I finally was able to check in, got past security and wandered around the airport a bit. Pro tip: Don’t buy any drinks before boarding the plane to the USA in Santiago, as there is a secondary security check just before boarding and they will confiscate any liquids exceeding 3 ounces/100 ml. On the other hand my laptop never had to be removed and my shoes and hat stayed on my head and feet respectively at all times.

    I had a long flight, about 10 hours, to Houston, a three hour flight to LAX, another three hour layover home, a Lyft ride to my house, then a three hour drive to Palm Desert…left at 7am, arrived in PD around 9pm.

    Getting home for Thanksgiving Day with my parents and cousins was worth it though.


    • It takes a long time to reach or return from Patagonia, plan accordingly. It took me 42 hours without any issues. I could have saved some time not flying via LAX (but it was much less expensive doing it that way)
    • Do not buy liquids before boarding the plane to the US in Santiago (other than Duty Free which is delivered to the plane in sealed bags)
    • Do not wait too long to go to Patagonia. You can see much of the park without rigorous physical activity, including Grey Glacier but to see some of the best views, hiking is really necessary

  • Smashey, Parson Siegel, Chandler, Karwasky, Orth, Kyvallos & Lutz Win Clay Singles Titles in Houston

    April 4, 2019

    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

    The 49th National Women’s Clay Court Championships took place at the Houston Racquet Club last week. This is the best women’s senior tournament and this year, was not only a USTA National (gold ball) Championship, but a Grade A ITF Championship which added to the character and prestige of the tournament.

    Tournament directors Sue Bramlette and Cathy Lassiter along with Harriet the referee and Judy Job did their usual stellar job running the event.

    Kaysie Smashey won the 35 singles and doubles (with Julie Thu), avenging her loss earlier in March to Heather Nobler when she beat her in three sets in the final.

    Amanda Parson Siegel took out Patricia Zerdan in the semis in a grueling 75 76 encounter before she beat #2 seed Julie Cass 62 60 to win the 45s title. Zerdan took out top-seeded Nancy Hilliard in the quarters. Jenny Klitch edged Zerdan for bronze.

    Cass and Tracie Currie, top seeded, won the 45 doubles with a straight set win over Tammy Morris/Jill Toney, the 2nd seeds.

    Fran Chandler won the 55 singles and did it the hard way, beating #2 seed Shelly Works in three sets before taking out top seed and defending champion Vicki Buholz in the final in straights. Works took the bronze. Buholz/Gayle Prejean won the doubles with an emphatic win over top seeded and defending champions Mary Dailey/Erika Smith.

    Tina Karwasky won the 65 singles for the third straight year, taking out Wendy McColskey, also for the third straight year in Houston. Lil Peltz-Petow took bronze. The 65 doubles winners were more of a surprise, with long time senior players, Kandy Chain and Andrea Barnes taking the gold. They beat the top seeds, Karwasky/Jan Kirkland Cochran in three sets in the semis before beating unseeded Becky Timmis/Sue Sprague in straight sets for the gold. Karwasky/Kirkland/Cochran took the bronze.

    Heide Orth from Germany beat South Africa’s Petro Kruger to win the 75 doubles, then teamed with Kruger to beat Cathie Anderson/Carolann Castell in the doubles final. Anderson took bronze in singles; Ann Hunt/Sheila Weinstock won the doubles bronze.

    Lucille Kyvallos’ hard work paid off when she won the 85 singles; Mary John Lynch was the finalist. Lynch/Rose Austin won the doubles in a round robin; Margaret Canby/Angie Ray took silver.

    Jane Lutz won the 90 singles over the ever ebullient Rita Price and doubles with Price.

    Results are here.

    Photos (courtesy of Judy Job) are here.

  • 2018 Dates Announced for National Women’s 35/45/55/65/75/85/90 Clay Courts

    Sue Bramlette, the Tournament Director for the USTA National Women’s 35/45/55/65/75/85/90 Clay Courts in Houston has announced the 2018 dates for this wonderful tournament. This tournament is open to all USTA female members who meet the age requirement. 

    The dates are February 26 – March 4 2018. 

  • Thu, Smashey Advance to 35s Singles Final Saturday in Houston

    Julie Thu and Kaysie Smashey took different routes to the 35s final, but both arrived there in straight sets. Thu blasted her way past Julie Lessiter 61 60, in a match that looked closer than that score. Thu, a Stanford star in the 90s, is a lefty who hits two-handed off both sides.ThoughThu said she much prefers hard courts, she looked pretty comfortable on the clay. Smashey edged her way past #2 seeded Nancy Hilliard, in a closely contested semi. Smashey had a 4/1 lead in the first set, at which time Hilliard served a 15 or so minute game and held, and broke…they stayed on serve but Smashey broke at 65 for the set and won the second 63. Smashey is aptly named…when I first came by the court, onlookers told me to look for her overhead smash, which they said was amazing. The final is a repeat of the 30 hard court final in March, which Thu won.

    Hilliard-003 IMG_0110 IMG_0121 Smashey, Kaysey-003 Smashey, Kaysey-004

    In doubles, Smashey/Thu and McCambell/Hilliard advanced to the final without drama.

    In other action, Susan Boyer will meet Sally Smith in the 55 consolation final. Boyer beat Buholz 62 61. Susan was just too consistent and crafty on the clay for Buholz. Smith edged Kathy Vick in a long match…one in which Vick actually won more games. 75 16 64. Smith said she was a bit more aggressive in the third set and quit thinking too much.

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    Sue Bramlette, the many hat wearer, survived a long match with Cindy Babb (and retrieved a lot of drop shots). She will face Carol Gay who had a walkover.

    Grace Woo beat Kathy Langer in the 75s Kathy said the balls got heavy in the 2nd set which favored her, but that Grace blasted her off the court in the third with new balls. Patti Boyer beat Dorcus Miller 61 64.

    In 45 doubles, Hartsock/Thomason will play Hess/Schaefer. Charlotte Hartsock won the backdraw yesterday.

    In 55 doubles, Smith/Warden were down 26 15 0-40 when their opponents retired (plane to catch tomorrow). They play Boyer/Erin Boynton tomorrow.

    In 65 doubles, Gay/Johnson will take on Pruitt/Simmons for 5th tomorrow.

    In 75 doubles, Langer/Tietz will play O’Sullivan/Oldfield.

    In 35 doubles, Loeffler/Phillips play Graham/Guszak.

    All results: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=171179

    Photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/111133686884013323699/HoustonNationalSeniorWomenSClayCourts2016

  • Barker, Downing, Fales, Lutz & Price Earn Singles Gold in Houston

    There were gold ball matches and main draw 35 matches going on all around the club today but the match of the day had to be the 45 consolation doubles match between Pam Cooke/Kim Lackey, the #3 seeds and Susan Dawson/Tosha Smith. I heard that Dawson/Smith had nine (9!) match points but Pam/Kim won 16 76(14) 75 to live to play another day.


    Diane Barker completed her utter domination of the 55s with a comprehensive 62 60 defeat of Tracy Houk. Barker hit winner after winner past Houk, which no one else was able to do all week. Houk moves extremely well, and defends really well, so getting the ball past her isn’t easy, but Diane hit laserlike groundies corner to corner and finished with sharp angles and volleys. She played just amazingly well. I took bronze over Susan by default (sore/tired  shoulder).

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    in the 65s, Martha Downing was just as precise in beating Toni Novack, if not hitting with quite the same power. She hit her targets and didn’t allow Novack to hit her famous dropshots, or not often enough anyway. Molly Hahn won the bronze over Kathy Barnes.

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    Donna Fales moved smoothly past Charleen Hillebrand to take the 75 crown in straight sets. Suella Steel beat Sheila Weinstock for the bronze.

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    Jane Lutz won the 85 singles …again!

    Rita Price beat Cathie Hall in the final 90s RR match, with men from a nearby senior center watching on and cheering (I heard Rita got a marriage proposal afterwards!). Rita won 61 62, she moved beautifully.

    Julie Cass/Alissa Finerman won the 45 doubles, edging Jean Marie Alpert/Tammy Morris 76 75. The #4 seeds, Laura Hudson/Cynthia Rice won the 3/4 playoff over Neuthaler/Bottinelli

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    In doubles, Tracy Houk and Kathy Vick played a terrific match to beat Susan and me. The ball just kept coming back…our match lasted about three hours. Lots of interesting exchanges. Unfortunately for us Diane didn’t let Tracy hit enough balls to wear her out! Vicki Buholz/Marianne Caplan took the bronze with a 75 62 victory over Pam Cooke/Kim Lackey.

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    The 65 doubles champions are Ann Stanley/Sue Bramlette (sorry, had the wrong winner’s name earlier but the right photo!) who beat Downing/Kathy Bennett 63 21 retired (Kathy was ill). Leslie Vallejo/Kathy Barnes took the bronze with a marathon three setter over Cindy Babb/Barbara Hubbard 75 in the third.

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    Hillebrand/Steel won the 75 doubles over Weinstock/Jane Pang. Donna Fales/Roberta Sung took the bronze.

    And the 35s were in action too today. Julie Lessiter upset #4 seed Amy McCambell but the rest of the seeds advanced to the semis including Nancy Hilliard.

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    All results: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=171179

    Photos of players: https://picasaweb.google.com/111133686884013323699/HoustonNationalSeniorWomenSClayCourts2016

  • 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.

    Results: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=171179

  • Houston Wednesday: On to the Semis and a Visit by Katrina Adams

    We had an early start today, 8:30, but it was overcast, so the shadows weren’t a factor today at least and the weather was fine, 60s in the morning and 80s in the afternoon with a brief rain shower.

    I played Vicki Buholz, a 5-8 seed today. She’s from the Dallas area, and teaches tennis at T-Bar there and is a member of the 2016 USA Maureen Connolly Cup team. The conditions were quite heavy and slow which probably favored me a bit. We had a 2+ hour match which was much closer than the 61 64 score would indicate. I did a lot of running! Diane Barker took out Susan Boyer 64 61 and I play Diane tomorrow morning. Susan Wright had a tussle with Marianne Caplan but won 76 64 (and finished before Vicki and I did, even though we started at the same time). Tracy Houk outlasted Kathy Vick 62 61. Tracy and Susan, who have known each other since the juniors in NorCal, will face off tomorrow.

    In doubles, Susan and I played Abbi Neuthaler and Ligia Bottinelli. We won 63 62 but it lasted nearly two hours and featured a lot of long points and games (and lobs..hey, it’s clay).


    We play Vicki and Marianne in doubles tomorrow; they beat Yvonne Gallop/Anne Pellow 64 62 today. Pam Cooke/Kim Lackey took out Kathy Foulk/Terri Thompson and in the match of the day, Houk and Vick beat Boyer/Erin Boynton 64 in the third…that was a match that had a lot of long points and rallies…it was fun to watch.

    The 45s finals are set for singles and will be a repeat of the 2015 final between Jolene Watanabe and Julie Cass. Both advanced easily to the final, losing only 3 games between them. so both should be well rested for the final. Cass combined with Alissa Finerman to advance to the semis. They face the team we beat today in the semis. Abbi and Ligia upset #3 seeds Cooke/Lackey 76 (4) 75, rallying from 53 down in the second to win the final four games.

    In the 65s, there were a number of upsets. In singles, Molly Hahn (5) took out her doubles partner, Vicky McEvoy (3) 64 63. Kathy Barnes advanced when Anne Guerrant retired after Kathy won the second set (she lost the first). Toni Novack beat Sue Bramlette and Martha Downing took out Carol Gay. In doubles, Barnes/Leslie Vallejo upset #3 seeded Hahn/McEvoy 46 64 64 but the remaining seeds advanced, though Cindy Babb/Barbara Hubbard barely escaped with a win over Debra Pruitt/Pam Simmons.

    The four top seeds prevailed in the 75 doubles, though Miller and Woo won by the skin of their teeth over Judy Janc/Norma Veal 76 (5) in the third (no wonder Norma was napping in the locker room later in the day!). However, in singles, Donna Fales, Charleen Hillebrand, Sheila Weinstock and Suella Steel advanced with ease to the semis.

    In the 85s, Carol Cofer and Jane Lutz are headed for a collision as are Cathie Hall and Rita Price in the 90s.

    There was a super cocktail party with great food in the afternoon and Katrina Adams came by to watch some tennis and talk to the players and answer questions here. It was nice for the Chair of the Board of the USTA to take the time out of her busy schedule to visit the best senior tournament in the world.

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    More results: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/TournamentHome/tournament.aspx?t=171179

  • Julie Thu Wins 35s at the Clay Courts (Indoors!); Nancy Hilliard/Kaysie Smashey Win 35 Doubles

    The rain in Houston threatened all week…and finally made good on its promise, drenching Houston today and forcing the tournament indoors on the final day at the Galleria Tennis and Racquet Club…indoor hard courts that is.

    Julie Thu, seeded 3, beat unseeded Nancy Hilliard in a tight two-setter to win her second singles gold ball in the past month. (She won the 30 Hard Courts a week or so ago in Austin over her doubles partner, Meredith Walton). Thu/Walton then took on Hilliard/Smashey in the final which was won 2-2 retired when someone on the Thu/Walton team had to retire with an injury (I’ll update this when I find out who was hurt).

    The other match that was played was Tracey Thompson/Kathy Vick, the final of the 55 consolation. Vick earns the Houdini award of the week, she had so many escapes! She lost the first set as she did yesterday, rallied again to win the second but went down 52 in the third before rallying to tie the match, at which point Thompson had to leave to catch a plane…so Vick placed 5th in the singles in the 55s.

    Many thanks to Cathy Lassiter, Sue Bramlette, Judy Job, Harriett Hurlbut and the staff and volunteers which made this tournament so wonderful.

    Draws: http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=155251#&&s=0

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  • BRRRRRRR…The Houston Weather Today Eclipsed the Tennis

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    Soooo..yesterday it was 81 degrees in Houston, a record at Hobby Airport…today it barely hit 40, and with the windchill it was in the 30s all day. Play was delayed three hours this morning due to rain, and main draw matches were cancelled in most divisions except the 35s and 45 singles. Players pulled out every layer of clothing they had (and borrowed other items) in an attempt to stay warm…others went shopping for gloves and hats. in the 45s, 2010 40 Clay Court champion Mary Dineen upset #4 seeded Tracy Houk in the 45s 62 61. She plays top seeded Jolene Watanabe in the semis. Julie Cass has yet to drop a game in reaching the semis and plays Shelly Works tomorrow. Cass and Alissa Finerman also reached the doubles final, beating Vicky Buholz/Cindy Johnson in the semis. The other 45s semi is scheduled for Friday. Top Seeded Patricia Zerdan pulled out of the 35 Clay Courts and out of the 40s Cup team as well with what I heard was a shoulder injury. We wish her a speedy recovery. That gave Carolina Blouin a walkover into the semis. An intriguing match tomorrow is Gee Gee Garvin and Nancy Hilliard. There were no other main draw matches today, but lots of consolation matches took place. In the 55s #2 seeded Pam Cooke/Tracey Thompson beat #4 seeded Erin Boynton/Abii Neuthaler to advance to the final of the consolation doubles against Dawson/Lang.

    Kathy Langer received the Betty Gray Washington Sportswoman award today at the dinner, voted upon by her peers. It was well deserved.



  • Houston National Senior Women’s Clay Courts March 2nd, Day 1: In an Upset, Dry Weather!

    The weather today in Houston was dry, cool and calm, a marked contrast to Sunday which was wet and cold. At the end of the day the only upsets were in the women’s 55s and 65s, but there were osme close calls in the 75s. Cindy Johnson, playing her first national in a long time (10+ years) played a 5-8 seed, Yvonne Gallop and won 75 63, using extreme consistency and an all court game. Gallop was the only seeded singles player in action in the 55s. In doubles, Gallop and Kathy Foulk pulled an upset of their own, beating last year’s finalists, Erin Boynton/Abbi Neuthaler, the 4th seeds 62 46 62. In the 65s, Simmy Pell, another player returning from a long absence, and Sue Bramlette a 5-8 seed staged a dramatic match. After splitting the first two sets, Pell raced to a 5-1 lead in the third, only to get tight while trying to close out the match. Bramlette also improved the depth on her balls at that stage and rallied to tie the match at 5-5; Pell then relaxed and went up 65; Bramlette fought hard and ran hard in the next game, one of the best played in the set, to force a tiebreak. Pell played a great tiebreak, hitting deep and aggressively throughout and won it 72. Cindy Babb also won a match 76 in the third, beating Sheila Johnson to advance. In the 75s, Kathy Langer, playing only her second tournament after back surgery last summer, came within two points of beating 2013 finalist Ria Graham in the 75s before Graham won four straight points to win the third set tiebreak 75. Chris Smith and Lyn Tietz also had to go three sets to beat Lola O’Sullivan and Barbara Oldfield respectively. As usual there was a nice breakfast and lunch for the players, included in their entry fees. Hopefully there will be some photos tomorrow!

  • Zerdan Claims 35 Singles Title; Meredith Walton/Julie Scott Thu Win 35 Doubles Crown

    Patricia Zerdan, saying that she felt no pressure this year as she was playing “down” into the 35s (she’s 40) won the 35s singles title in Houston, beating Meredith Walton, the giant slayer, in the final in straight sets. Walton had a terrific tournament, upsetting the #3 and #1 seeds en route to the final. Walton and former Stanford star Julie Scott Thu won the doubles crown in three sets over top-seeded Simona Bruetting and Gee Gee Garvin. In singles, Thu beat Bruetting in two close sets to take the bronze while in doubles, Tammy Morris/Jennifer Toney took the bronze.

    There were also a number of consolation finals to be played. Erin Boynton reported that she lost to Ann Pellow in three sets; Pellow won the first set and Boynton the second, outdoors on clay and at 3/2, Boynton leading, it began to rain, the match was moved indoors and Pellow adjusted well, winning four straight games. Morris/Emily Schaefffer won the 45 doubles consolation. Molly Hahn/Vicky McEvoy won the 65 doubles consolation and Kathy Langer/Lyn Tietz were 5th in the 75 doubles (by default over O’Sullivan/Shields). The rest of the consolation matches were played earlier in the week or were defaults.

    Burnett Herrick won the 75 consolation by default over Nanda Fischer (who lost to Herrick in the main draw); Andrea Rice beat Anna Zimmermann on Saturday to place 5th in the 45s.

    This is the best senior tournament. I can’t say enough times what a nice event it is and each year it gets better and better. Sue Bramlette and Cathy Lassiter (TDs), Judy Job (handles the checks, photos and more) and Harriett Hulbert (referee) are the core of an outstanding tournament committee. In addition to a beautiful venue, the tournament provided to every player breakfast, lunch, 2 dinners, t-shirts, hats and other items in a “goodie bag” and Texas sized hospitality. The tournament’s attention to detail is amazing. A huge thank you to Sue, Cathy, Harriett, Judy, the tournament committee, the Houston Racquet Club and its members for a great tournament.

    Draws, click here.


    35Singles: Patricia Zerdan

    35 Doubles: Meredith Walton/Julie Scott Thu

    45 Singles: Jolene Watanabe

    45 Doubles: Julie Cass/Vesna McKenna

    55 Singles: Susan Wright

    55 Doubles: Carolyn Nichols/Susan Wright

    65 Singles: Martha Downing

    65 Doubles: Kathy Bennett/Martha Downing

    75 Singles: Roz King

    75 Doubles: Dori deVries/Roz King    

    85 Singles: Rita Price

    85 Doubles: Jane Lutz/Rita Price

    Jolene Trophy Susan TrophyRoz with trophy DSC02585  DSC0258455 Final doublesDSC02596DSC02587DSC02598

  • Martha Downing Wins 65 Singles (and Doubles); Walton & Zerdan Reach the 35s Final

    Martha Downing edged Brenda Carter today 76 46 76, dominating only the tiebreakers in this outstanding final (according to Barbara Hubbard and Janet Watanabe…I wasn’t there). Carol Clay turned the tables on Molly Hahn, who had beaten her twice last year, winning in three sets to take the bronze.

    In the 35s which only began on Thursday, Patricia Zerdan edged Julie Scott Thu in three sets to reach the final. There she’ll play unseeded Meredith Walton who upset #1 seeded Simona Bruetting in three sets. The doubles final though pits the top 2 seeds against each other, Bruetting/Gee Gee Garvin will play Thu/Walton for the gold there.

    The 85s was won by Jane Lutz/Rita Price over Russ/Wiedenmann.

    There was also lots of consolation play going on in all age divisions. in the 55s, Erin Boynton will play Ann Pellow for 5th; in the 45s Andrea Rice won in two tight sets over Anna Zimmermann to place 5th; in the 65s Anne Guerrant beat Betty Wachob in the quarterfinal playoff; in the 75s, Nanda Fisher will face Burnett Herrick for the 2nd time this week for 5th place (Herrick won the first time they played this week) and Carol Cofer won the 85s consolation. Fanny Gamble will play Kristine Diehl in the 35s consolation final.

    While all this tennis was going on, we (Susan Wright and Abbi & Paul Neuthaler) went to NASA to the Space Center (photos to follow)…really impressive.

  • Houston Thursday: Hubbard/Watanabe Reach First Final

    Today was a tough one on the singles court. I played Diane Barker, who, in her third year in the 55s had yet to lose a match in this division in singles. That remains the status quo after I played her today…I won the first game and she won the next 12, hitting deep, deeper deepest then, if I got another ball back, a nice angle volley. She didn’t make many errors, moved extremely well and hit deep and accurately…so I play Kim Zebot for the bronze tomorrow after Susan Wright beat her 62 62. She’s a very nice player and it will be a tough match.

    In doubles Susan and I beat Rita Rector/Julie David 62 60. The biggest drama was a rain delay when we were up 41, but it wasn’t a long one. We play #4 seeded Erin Boynton/Abbi Neuthaler who won in three sets over tournament director Sue Bramlette and Leslie Murveit.

    There were tons of good matches today in all divisions.

    In the 35s, Meredith Walton ousted #3 seeded Gee Gee Garvin 75 in the third, rallying from 0-4 down in the final set. Yulia Bolotova and #4 seeded Julie Scott Thu played next to me and were hitting the ball very very hard. Bolotova though made more errors than the former Stanford star and Julie won 63 63. In doubles, the #4 seeds, Erika Smith/Mary Dailey, fell to Cynthia Rice/Kristen Samuelson in three sets.

    In the 45s, while Jolene Watanabe played flawlessly to beat Shelly Works 61 60, Julie Cass, seeded 4, rallied from 15 down in the third set to beat Jenny Klitch. Cass/Vesna McKenna, the #2 seeds beat Klitch/Anna Zimmermann in one semi, while Smith/Alissa Finerman took out Dailey/Andrea Rice in three sets.

    In the 65s, Carol Clay beat Anne Guerrant in straight sets in the only  upset; she plays top seeded Brenda Carter in the semis while Molly Hahn (who rallied from a set down to beat Betty Wachob) plays Martha Downing. In doubles, the big upset was Barbara Hubbard/Janet Watanabe’s three set win over Wachob/Carter to reach their first final as a team. For Hubbard, it’s her first USTA final. They play Martha Downing/Kathy Bennett who bageled Clay/Ellen Goodman.

    In the 75s, after all the upsets this week, the top 2 seeds, Dori deVries and Roz King reached the final. deVries edged Lyn Little in three sets and King won a close 2-setter over Ria Graham. In doubles deVries/King edged Herrick/Wasser in three sets while Little/Dorothy Matthiessen beat Carol Wood/Graham 60 75.

  • Houston Monday: Ready, Start, Play

    Today was the last tune-up day for me in Houston. It started early, Anna Zimmermann and I hit starting a little before 8 till 9 and I hit serves afterwards. It was a really good practice. The tournament started free lunches and breakfasts today for the players (see the schedule below). I had lunch at the club, a sort of gourmet make your own sandwich bar, complete with  homemade potato chips and roast turkey baked at the Club. It was excellent.

    I watched most of a set between Teal Lang and Janet Mosely. I play the winner of that match tomorrow, Janet, who won 61 61, though the two had many good points…Janet though made fewer errors and hit nice angles.

    There weren’t any upsets today; seeds were active only in the 45s and 75s. However #3 seeded Dorothy Matthiessen had to go three sets to overcome a determined Mary Lynch and advance to the round of 16. Dori deVries had a tussle with Joan Nevins. Judy Levering won a long three set battle over Lola O’Sullivan. Carol Wood on the other hand hit a few dropshots against Dolores Beck and Beck cramped and had to retire (in fairness Beck said she started cramping before the match began…too much practicing outdoors on the weekend after suffering through the bad winter weather in NY.

    I play at 10 tomorrow and so does my doubles partner Susan Wright. We play doubles at 1:30pm…game on.

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