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.
I played my final tournament match in Barcelona last night. I had the “early” start time of 6pm, and we started right on time. I played Carmen Chilleda-Belzunce and played well to win. I played on a sunny day on an East/West facing court and it was tough to see on the side facing West!
After winning the singles, I watches several matches and had dinner. I watched a few games of the 60 singles final between American Veronica Lima De Angelis and Giovanna Tortorella of Italy. Tortorella is a very good player…smooth, accurate strokes and good anticipation. That match went pretty quickly, in contrast to the one between 55s players Sophie Orsini (FRA) and Elisabetta Morici (ITA). Orsini was the more expressive of the two, and she started the match very frustrated, losing the opening set 60…Orsini though found her range on drop shots and steadied her shots from the baseline to finish the mach 64 63. Both players have loopy western forehands, but Orsini has both a slice and two-handed backhand; Morici has a very good one-hander.
I finished the evening watching Lisa play mixed…it was a good match though tough to see the ball, especially high balls, under the lights…both guys had great forehands; the opposing woman had good court sense and cutaway volleys, and there were far more winners than errors. I finally tried one of the crepes being sold at a food truck and it was very good (goat cheese, spinach and walnuts in case you were wondering). The match finished within 30 minutes of the end time for sporting events due to the curfew. Susana Amelia Diaz and Ramzi Shuaibi-Morales won 64 63 over Lisa and Martin. I ran for the tram after the match finished (and made it).
Last night we were scheduled for doubles at 9pm but our match went on about 15 minutes early.. I was scouting my singles opponent for tonight…their (not before) 7:30 pm match started around 8:30, so I didn’t get to see much before doubles. Kim Reed and I played a decent team, the #1 seed in 60 singles and her partner. We had some nice points but won 62 61. Playing under the lights was a bit challenging, though the lights are decent. As we were warming up an official came out to tell us the scoring for doubles had changed to no-ad and a 10 point Match Tiebreak for a third set due to the new curfew (of 1am).
Kim is to my right above and our opponents are on either side of us. Kim just switched racquets and as it turns out we play with the same Volkl model, the V Cell 4. We play rather similarly so that makes sense.
After we finished and took photos, it turns out the match I was scouting (which was on an adjacent court) was till ongoing. Carmen Chillidea-Belzunce, who I play tonight, won the first set 60 before it got dark, but the second set was turning into quite a battle. She was playing Mireia de Gispert Talavera who I played Monday night. Mireia was playing a lot of high topspin balls and coming to net behind some of them, pretty successfully, and pounding some two-handed backhands to good effect. She held off some match points at 5-6 and got the match into a tiebreak, which was even to 3-3…then Mireia stopped hitting high balls and lost four straight points and the match. Carmen stayed pretty calm to finish out the win.
This morning I practiced again with Lisa for about an hour, then took the tram back to the hotel. Just before we started the club had all the kids from the camp on our court to take a photo…there are a lot of them of all ages, from about 3 years to teenagers. She plays mixed not before 10pm. It’s not bad playing at 6 and even 8:45 wasn’t terrible, at least it was light during warm up, but 10pm is tough!
Yesterday I practiced in the late morning (the earliest practice times are 11am) with Lisa B, then went back to the hotel to write my blog and relax before my 6pm singles match. There aren’t many people practicing in the mornings, Reinheld Adams and Michelle Bichon have been out every morning at 11am though. I played Magdalena Gual Pascual, a club member whom I have played her a few times before. She’s very nice and we had a pretty good match. I won 61 61. She whacks her forehand if it’s in her strike zone…but didn’t like my drop shots so much. The other RR match will be played tonight at 7:30 so I’ll go and scout the players.
On the way into the club I watched some of the kids activities…some were learning to ride horses and others were learning to hit a golf ball. I saw yet another big hockey field (and no soccer fields)…hockey is the big game at the Polo Club.
The order of play for the evening only comes out the morning of play…till then players don’t know from one day to the next if they have a match. Luckily for me, the referee told me my schedule yesterday, so I knew I was playing the doubles final tonight, and not singles. We play doubles at 9pm against the #2 seeds (one of whom is the #1 singles seed in 60s), and Kim Reed, my doubles partner, plays her singles semi at 6pm. There are matches scheduled till 10:30…one player has a 9pm and 10:30 pm match. However, due to new curfews in Barcelona from tonight, all sporting events have to be finished by midnight and the club will close at 12:30am.
I practiced with Lisa again today, and we got in nearly two hours before being bumped. Again, only the 70 women were out practicing till we were bumped by two guys around 12:45. We did move courts after an hour and the second court was much drier and faster than the first one, even though they were side by side in the stadium.
After practice I made another trip to the grocery store, for apples and snacks. This time I found the bakery and gourmet part of the grocery, and a Lindt store. I looked at the fish department because it’s so extensive and different from those at home. Normally one doesn’t see three types of squid for example.
Last night I caught the tram just before midnight back to the hotel after a “not before” 10pm start for doubles. The tournament was behind schedule but fortunately our match was quick. I played with Kim Reed, a Brit who lives in Marbella, and she’s a solid singles and doubles player.
Earlier in the day I went to the club to practice serves again, and Kim and her husband ran into me. So I had a good hit with Kim which was great. We warmed up on one of the two center courts which are very deep…good for running, not so good for walking to pick up balls.
After tennis, I took the subway to the L3 Diagonal stop on the Passeig de Gracia, a broad tree-lined shopping street. My destination was Tennis Point Barcelona. I was on the hunt for tennis balls and practice balls for the tournament. I found the latter Wilson French Open balls but no Head tour XT balls. The shop also had a huge selection of Padel racquets which are large thick paddles with holes in them and brightly colored. There was also a large selection of clay court tennis shoes.
The subway stop was also near La Pedrera, a Gaudi designed apartment house which I toured a couple of years ago. There weren’t many tourists around compared to August of 2019.
After that adventure, I returned to my hotel for a late lunch, late because my doubles match wasn’t till 10pm. I returned to the club around 7pm, so I could scout my next opponents. I got there just in time to see the last 20 minutes of the match. Then I waited three hours or so for my match, but ran into some Brits, Alex, Liz and Peter and also an American friend of mine from Florida who was playing mixed. Alex practices with Sue Bartlett of GBR (and Tennessee) when she’s there and just played American Michael Beautyman in the final of the European Championships…both Lisa and I practice with him. Tennis is a small world.
By 8pm, the food trucks were open, champagne was popped and there was a musical entertainment (a woman singer who was pretty good). By 9:30 Lisa and I were both yawning.
Kim and I played our match under the lights. It was pretty dark, but since our opponents were not very experienced, it was ok. After the match we walked to the tram station and got one of the last trams of the night back to our respective stops.
Today I play singles at 6pm. But that’s an article for another day.
Yesterday, after I went to the club (via the tram) I went to El Cortez Ingles, a huge department store about a 10 minute walk from my hotel. It’s 4 or 5 stories…two of which are below street level. I went to the large grocery store in the basement. The Spanish love tinned and fresh fish, along with Iberico ham, sweets and fruits and vegetables. The milk aisle (unrefrigerated) and yogurt (refrigerated) were also large. I got some cooked mussels (delicious with lemon and a salad) and a couple of tins of shellfish…and of course a chocolate bar and apples.
I played my first match in Barcelona at 6pm on Monday night, which is the earliest any matches are scheduled here. I got to the club around 4pm and it took me about 20 minutes to get practice balls and find my court. The kids camps were still going strong with hundreds of kids playing tennis, running through sprinklers on the soccer fields and generally seeming to have a good time.
My practice court was court 38 which is a few hundred meters from court 37. I walked past courts and two field hockey (not soccer) fields to find it. There’s one hard court at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona and I could hear the sound of the players on that court…the sound of very good players hitting. When I got closer, I saw that one of them was Carla Suarez Navarro of the beautiful one-handed backhand club.
I finally found my court and a pro with a bunch of students came on the court within minutes…but also moved to another court, maybe she was lost too. I hit some serves and bounced some balls and did a bit of running…that was my warm up yesterday. At 4:45, there were. still lots of people running around the tournament check-in site, setting up food trucks, the check-in area, etc, but by 6pm everything was fairly sorted out. There was a long line to pay entry fees. Everyone was given a nice shirt (v-necks for women, polos for men, lime green), and a mask from the sponsor. No one asked for the ITF form that everyone was supposed to fill out and show the tournament before playing. The only ask was for proof of payment of the entry fee (80 euros plus a 5 euro IPIN fee). When I left around 7:45, there was music going, champagne being handed out and the food trucks were operational, though things don’t really get going there till well after 8pm.
I played Mireia de Gispert Talavera. I played her here 3 years ago and won 60 60 this time. We played on a court that went east/west, but fortunately it was cloudy or the sun would have been a problem. I was going to watch my future opponents play but ran into one of them…she said her opponent couldn’t play Monday so asked if she could play Tuesday…so I know I don’t play singles today. However, the order of play for today came out as I was writing this (at 10:22am) and I play doubles not before….10 pm!
This morning I left rainy Essen, Germany for sunny Barcelona, Spain. I flew Vueling airlines (affiliated with Iberia), a discount airline that had the best nonstop flight today to Barcelona from Dusseldorf. I think Sunday may not be a great day to fly in Germany in particular. There was one woman at the check in counter for the entire plane full of people. And the way some of the fares work, is that a cabin bag (such as a small roller bag…anything that won’t fit under the seat) has to be checked. I got there early when there were only 30 minutes of people in front of me. But the check in counter only opened a bit less than two hours before the flight was to take off. By the time I’d checked my bags, the line was several hundred feet long. On the other hand, there were few people at security, most of the TSA equivalents were standing around. The security guy though where my bags were inspected decided to check everyone’s bags for what I assume was explosive residue. I still had plenty of time though and the flight was on time. By noon I was in warm Barcelona and at my hotel by 1pm.
After checking in and organizing my stuff, I walked to the Reial Club do Polo de Barcelona to meet the Guille, the son-in-law of members of my club at home. We’d hit once before when his family visited there, and they’ve since moved back to Barcelona. We had a good hit. The tournament is using the same Wilson balls as were used at the French Open and they were good to hit with, a little less flighty than the heavy duty Wilson US Open balls used three years ago. They seemed more durable too.
After hitting, I walked to a gas station to get more water and snacks (all other stores are closed on Sundays) and then back to the hotel.
From the 1st January 2021, all normal grades and ranking points for all existing tournaments were reinstated, subject to an ITF analysis of travel restrictions and player accessibility.
With immediate effect the following will apply to the ITF Seniors Rankings:
Points earned from 18 March 2019 to 2 September 2019
Points earned from 9 September 2019 to 16 March 2020
Points earned from 7 September 2020 onwards
Points earned in this period will drop on a weekly basis between 14 March 2022 – 29 August 2022 Points remain countable for 3 years (156 weeks)
Points earned in this period will drop on a weekly basis between 6 September 2021 – 14 March 2022Points remain countable for 2 years (104 weeks)
Points earned from 7 September 2020 will drop after 52 weeks. Points earned drop after 52 weeks
Between September – December 2021, players will lose points earned between September-December in both 2019 and 2020. For example, points earned on 9 September 2019 and 7 September 2020 will drop on 6 September 2021.
Between January-March 2022, players will lose points earned between January-March in 2020 & 2021. For example, points earned on 6 January 2020 and 4 January 2021 will drop on 3 January 2022.
Results from higher graded (World Championships, S1000, S700 & S400) tournaments will be counted a maximum of once within a player’s best 4 results during the extended rankings period, i.e., double counting of the same tournament is not permitted. If a player competes in the same tournament on multiple occasions within the extended period, the best result will be counted.
Points earned from the World Championships will remain countable until the next edition is played, even if this date is beyond the extended rankings period. E.g., points earned from the Super-Seniors World Championships in September 2019 will drop after the next edition of the Super-Seniors World Championships takes place (scheduled for October 2021).
I started today by somehow getting lost on the way to the courts (I think my gps was set to the wrong address)…somehow I got to the club though and had good warm ups with Heide Orth and Heidi Eisterlehner at 9am. Since I didn’t play till 1:30 I think went back to the hotel for a while (didn’t get lost 👍).
I played Jutta Brandtmann at 1:30. She had a nice big forehand, but missed a fair amount. I won 60 60, but I play a much better player tomorrow, a French player, Corrine Franoux, who edged the 4th seeded Swiss player, Yvette de Roche 63 67 76 (5). We were set to play at noon but now play at 10:30. She’s either in great shape or tired…or both. On the other side of the draw, Jutta Boekmann beat #2 Dagmar Sperneder 62 61 and plays #3 Sylvia Lievers-Kronenburg next. They play at noon so I can scout that match.
The lines here are thin and perforated, and brushed with a thin brush (sometimes) after sweeping the court with a mat.
We are playing with Dunlop tournament balls, which are good balls…they should be, one can costs 12.5 euros (for 4 balls), or about $15!
I am playing with Boekmann in doubles but we don’t play till Friday afternoon.
Today was another practice day in Essen. I hit quite a bit, first with Heide Orth (what a beautiful backhand and deadly drop shot), then with Heidi Eisterlehner (also a beautiful backhand!), then with Haim Ohn, the men’s 65s 9th seed, from Israel who was nice enough to hit with me. He’s a lefty with a great serve and forehand (massive topspin). I broke a string against him, the third one since I arrived June 24th. In Spain labor was 9 euros (about $11) a racquet (with my own string); here it is 15 euros (about $18). It was quite windy today especially in the afternoon. Below are photos from the courts around 9:30…two were very wet and two were dry; the Women’s 65 draw, and the flags blowing full out around 2pm.
I went back to the hotel mid-afternoon and decided to do a load of washing while I was at the gym (the laundry room is off the gym). The machines are controlled by an app called Wewash…no coins needed. The app is pretty cool…you can reserve a washer or dryer or see if it’s occupied before going downstairs and when the load is done you get a notification.
I cooked my pfifferlinge (chanterelles) tonight and added them to pasta (with tomatoes, a little butter)…very good.
Tomorrow I play my first match at 1:30 pm. I am warming up early, 9am, and after my match I have to change out my rental car because I was notified there was a recall on it. I have a Toyota Yaris which is quite small, perfect for the small parking spots at the club, and pretty much everywhere in Europe.
I ran errands early, grocery stores and picked up my newly strung racquet.
I went to a Rewe, a supermarket chain here. I found more of the colored German eggs. I read about them yesterday and found out they are boiled eggs “Brotzeit Eier”. They used to be available only at Easter but now are available year round. I also found more chocolate and some water, with and without bubbles. I also got some German rolls. I know France is famous for its baguettes but to me, the bread in Germany is unsurpassed. There’s lots of whole grain rolls with nuts and seeds, and they are reasonably priced and delicious.
Next I went to Aldi. Aldi also owns Trader Joe’s, and had several items sold under the Trader Joe’s name, including peanut butter and pistachios. I found pfifferlings (a type of mushroom, chanterelles in the USA) there (they will make an excellent addition to a pasta dish.)
At both Aldi and Rewe they had a sign “Kundenparkplatz” and either 1 or 1.5 std. “maximal parkdauer”. It means you have to display this device on your dashboard (every car comes with one), with the time set to hour you left the car, or you can be towed.
After picking up my racquet and a can of balls (12.5 euros for 4 balls…about $15 a can!), I had lunch. Of course I had to try one of the colored eggs (which of course were not refrigerated). It was surprisingly delicious, perfectly cooked.
I practiced a bit in the afternoon with Dagy Spernader for an hour or so, and it was raining most of the time. After that Heide Orth and Heidi Eisterlehner arrived and we joined Dagy and Sabine and a few others to catch up. I think I am warming up both Heide and Heidi tomorrow and also hitting with Dagy and Sabine!
Sunday in Germany is mostly a rest day…few stores are open other than at airports and railway stations, or gas stations, and restaurants are open. I had a pretty relaxing day as well…when in Germany…
After lunch, with an eye on the weather (rain was forecast), I drove to the ETUF Essen, where the tournament will be held. I saw the TD, Sabine Schmitz, and Fritz and Dagy from Netherlands and Austria. Sabine had set me up to hit with a friend and practice partner of hers and we had an excellent hit, even though it was raining, at times pretty hard, during the first 45 minutes or so. I didn’t even take a jacket with me to practice…it was warm enough when I left but in the mid 60s and damp when we finished. My hat was soaked when we finished and my racket handle was slipper than when I play in 90 degrees temperature and humidity in Florida!
After hitting we joined Sabine and her friends in the restaurant for drinks (they drank, I listened). It was nice to be back at a European tournament.
The Etuf Essen club is on the Baldeneysee, a lake created by damming part of the Ruhr river. The club has sailing, soccer and hockey, golf and of course tennis. The restaurant has a large terrace in addition to nice indoor seating.
It was a “hurry up and wait” sort of morning Saturday. I left my Airbnb early, before 6 am (finally saw a sunrise in Spain). Luckily I bought fuel the day before because the gas station at the airport was packed. My fuel gauge was still close to full so I passed. Good thing because I followed the GPS (google maps), not the rental car signs to the airport and ended up first in the drop off area, then in the parking garage (and it was tricky to exit… I owed 65 cents and the credit card payment wouldn’t process at the exit gate.. it took 15 minutes to exit). The rental car return signs are small but once I abandoned GPS I found them and returned the car.
I flew Eurowings to Düsseldorf. It’s a discount airline owned by Lufthansa. I don’t really pack well to fly discount airlines but after figuring out where to check in (tip: take the elevator outside the terminal to the 2nd floor to check in. You won’t be admitted into the arrivals area.) and showing my vaccination card and passport (and paying a bag fee, since one small carryon only is allowed), I was good to go through security. FYI there was a COVID testing spot at the airport and the line was long. Take a self antigen test with you if you aren’t vaccinated or are returning to the USA and take it the day before flying.
Another tip: go upstairs to go through security unless you are traveling to another Baleric Island. There’s an escalator by the front of the terminal.
Once in the terminal the waiting began. We left the terminal 30 minutes late. As is common in Europe, buses took us from the terminal to the plane. In this one terminal there were so many airlines: Eurowings of course, Lufthansa, Ryan Air, Lauda, Norwegian, Wizz Air, Easy Jet and more. Europe feels like one country in some ways but this was definitely an international terminal.
Upon arrival in Germany, unlike in Spain, I didn’t have to show any proof of a covid test or vaccination which surprised me. So the check-in personnel at the airport are the ones validating vaccination cards or covid tests, at least traveling from Mallorca to Germany. And no one asked me how long I had been in Spain. Mallorca is considered a low risk area.
In Dusseldorf is in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, about 45 minutes north of Cologne, is not really a big tourist destination. The airport wasn’t super busy, but was not empty. The rental car pickup is on airport ground but quite a walk. I rented from Alamo and it was on the 7th floor of the parking garage and was pretty much deserted. There were only a few cars there and no line for once.
After driving to Essen, (30 minutes north of Dusseldorf) and I checked into my hotel (and there I was asked for a negative covid test…I showed my vaccine so I was ok). I then went to get my racquet strung at Tennis Point (which recently I believe bought Midwest Sports, an online retailer in the USA..or the other way around). This is a big retailer what sells lots of racquets, balls, shoes, accessories, bags, and clothes. There are different brands than we normally see in the USA, such as Bidi Badu, Ellesse, Lotto for clothes, and there were large numbers of clay court shoes and even some indoor shoes (smooth soled). In the USA K-Swiss doesn’t normally sell clay shoes but there were a large number of them in the store. I bought a can of balls and paid for my racquet and it was on the next stop.
I went to Decathalon to get an exercise mat (about $3), and came across a large grocery/variety store, so of course I had to check it out. It was another large store like the one in Spain which sold everything from washing machines to candy bars, but not quite as nice, particularly the produce. There was more bread but less ham (still a lot) and of course a huge number of yogurt and quark options. The chocolate and candy aisles were larger too. Since I was in Germany I bought some Ritter Sport bars, which were present in large quantity, variety and low in price (about $1-2 for a 100 gram bar).
After dropping off the items at the hotel I walked to a nearby Lidl which happened to be at the train station. I am also near the center where there are some pedestrian streets full of shops and people who were enjoying their Saturday afternoon.
Later today I am hitting at ETUF-Essen where the tournament is set to take place. Weather permitting…looks like there will be some thunderstorms in the afternoon.
I played the 65 singles final and 50 doubles final today and both went well. I beat Mary Morgan of Houston 62 61 and even served and volleyed and chipped and charged some! (1: Hard courts encourage that behavior; 2: Fast hard courts encourage it even more). Mary is one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet (and very extroverted to boot). It was a pleasure to play the match.
Jenny Klitch beat Shelly Works in the 55 final 60 62 and played a terrific match, combining hard drives with superb drop shots all match long.
After our singles wins Jenny and I played 50 doubles against a good team from Kansas City (Victoria Marks and Theresa Lampe and Valerie Marks)…they beat Works/Rainy Miller yesterday. We won 64 76 (3) and it was a good, competitive match with many changes of strategy.
We play the 55 doubles final tomorrow against Miller/Works and Jenny plays the mixed final (which was rained out tonight) directly afterwards.
There were a lot of matches today…I saw a few since I was at the club from 7:30 am till 4pm. I also ran into some old friends…Hugh Thomson, Jerry and Marcia Thomas, Ellen and Tony Dawson, and others…it’s nice to see tournaments going again!
In men’s 50s, Eoin Collins (1), a former world champions, beat Todd Smith 62 62 to reach the final against Sean Staley, who took out #2 seed Garry Nadebaum. Collins used his impressive lefty groundstrokes to lead his march to victory.
In men’s 60s, Tim Klitch (2) (Jenny’s brother) beat David Luedtke (4) 63 61, using on the rise hitting and the apparently patented Klitch touch to advance. He faces Peter Markes who had an interesting match with Alex Behar. Alex injured his foot (plantar it seems) in the 2nd game and was hobbling around the court thereafter…but for a set he redlined his shots, limping to the ball and giving it a rip, and won the first set 62. It’s hard to play an injured player! The match was on serve at 2-3 in the second when there was a short rain delay…Peter didn’t drop a game thereafter, and took the second 62 at which point Alex retired.
The match of the day was the men’s 55 doubles final. Featuring the #1 (Scott Works/Kelly Ward) and #2 (Steve Schultz/Marc Weiner) seeds, the match had everything…tight score line (the top seeds winning the first set; the #2 seeds coming back from a break down to win the second, the third set culminating in a tiebreak), great serves/returns/volleys/touch, all played in front of an appreciative crowd on the center court. Schultz/Weiner won the match.
Works has a second chance for a title in the 50 doubles, with Nadebaum.
Kaysie Smashey won the 40s, Julie Thu the 45s and Nancy Hilliard the 50s…all are multiple time Cup members. Terri Thyssen took the 60s and Barbara Starnes took the 70s title.
In men’s tennis, many finals are still to be played, but Robert Barrie won the 65s, John Newman the 80s, and the remaining divisions either have finals tomorrow or the scores haven’t been reported.
In doubles, Mary Morgan/Terri Thyssen won the 60 doubles; Rush/Starnes took the 65s title.
Thu/Haggard won the mixed 40s; the remaining divisions were rained out Sunday night and will be played Monday.
Swenson/Foster won the men’s 65 doubles; Tommy Connell/Tony Dawson (on the comeback from a shoulder replacement!) took the 70 doubles; and the 75 and over doubles score was not reported yet.
Saturday was the calm after the storm…and it was a big one last night, complete with thunder, lightning, pouring rain, downed trees and power outages. I was lucky…we had flickering lights a few times but no power outages…but other parts of Austin are still without power. And it was hot today…upper 80s but feeling like low 90s with the humidity. But the predicted thunderstorms and rain bypassed Austin today and we had sunshine, scattered clouds and lots of tennis.
I finally started my tournament, winning my 65 singles match (I am into the final against Mary Morgan, who took out Pam Simmons, the #2 seed in two close sets), and with Jenny Klitch, winning the 50 doubles semis, putting us into the final.
Jenny also won her singles, doubles and mixed today, dropping only a pair of games in mixed and none in singles. Her brother Tim is in the 60 singles semis as are the other top 4 seeds, including #1 Peter Markes. In doubles Tim Klitch and J Trammel lost an entertaining match to the very good #2 seeds, Schultz/Weiner in three sets; the winners face Scott Works/Kelly Ward in the final.
Tomorrow promises to be a really busy day, especially for Jenny…we both have singles finals, followed by 50 doubles, then 55 doubles, then for Jenny, mixed.
Kaysie Smashey, W40 and Nancy Hilliard, W50, were off to winning starts today. There are a couple of excellent players in the W35, Karoukina and Alina Mihailescu. They play the final tomorrow. Smashey/Julie Thu play the W35 doubles final too.
In men’s 50, Gary Nadebaum (2) and Eoin Collins (1) are in the semis and on a collision course. Other familiar names are Hugh Burris (M70), and Jerry Thomas (M75); Hugh Thompson and Thomas are also in the 75 doubles.
I’m here in Austin for the Memorial Day tournament at the Westwood Country Club in Austin. It’s a big tournament with age divisions from 35 to 85 and some family events plus some NTRP age divisions. The senior age divisions earn ITF S700 points in addition to USTA Level 2 points.
I have been practicing here the past two days since I don’t play till tomorrow. Today I scouted my potential singles and doubles opponents in between hits. It was very hot the past two days, and humid, which led to the massive thunderstorms that hit around 6:30pm today, with thunder and lightning.
It is nice to see friends from around the country I haven’t seen for a while. The social events are not on this year but everyone was given a nice shirt and a gift card to a barbecue restaurant.
Tomorrow, weather permitting I have singles and doubles.
Ros Nideffer/Debbie Spence Nasim (1) beat Dina McBride/Tracie Currie (2) to win gold at the 50 Hard Courts. They dominated the division, never dropping more than 5 games in any match. Jenny Rens Keller/Jen Dawson (3) took the bronze over Vicki Buholz/Gayle Prejean.
In contrast to the 50s, an unseeded team won the 60 doubles, Sue Pendo/Julie Juliani, taking out local favorites Una Davis/Lucia Romanov in a match tiebreak. They were the only unseeded players to win gold this year. The bronze went to Colleen Clery Ferrell/Tracey Thompson who beat Julie David/Gail Warden in straight sets.
The 70s title went to Vicky McEvoy/Judy Dixon over Kathy Barnes/Carol Gay. Sue Bramlette/Cindy Babb (who lost 11-9 yesterday to McEvoy/Dixon in a final set MTB) took bronze with a straight set win over Barnes/Gay. Interestingly, the two teams who played a MTB instead of a full third set yesterday, won in straight sets today.
Roz King/Dorothy Wasser (2) beat top seeded Suella Steel/Sheila Weinstock by default (Suella hurt her Achilles I believe…it was a lower leg injury of some sort which forced her to retire in the final). Charleen Hillebrand/Sheila Palmer took bronze over Lorna Brooks/Jean Ainger.
Ann Young placed 9th in the 60s beating Kim Dean 10-8 in a MTB, her 2nd straight 10-8 MTB win. Christen Bartelt was 9th in the 50s. Gloria Melendez was 9th in the 70s (though there was a lot of attrition in that division…lots of injuries). Dorcas Miller took 9th in the 80s.
And that’s a wrap for this year’s edition of the USTA Level 1 Women’s 50-80 Hard Courts. It was a different sort of tournament with no beach or cocktail party (but nightly happy hour, complimentary food). The format for Level 1 doubles was different to the dismay of many players, but dictated by the USTA National Adult Comp Committee not by the tournament. (Since the men’s event was a Level 5, the section, not the national committee determined the format…but it was confusing). It was great to see far flung friends again. Till next time…happy hitting.
Andrea Rice put on a dominating performance in the final of the 50 Hard Courts, beating top seeded Nancy Hilliard 61 62. Dina McBride finished third (winning the 3/4 playoff by default). Mariko Atoji finished 5th.
Ros Nideffer won the 60s in equally dominating fashion, beating Fran Chandler 60 63. Vicki Buholz beat me 62 64 in the 3/4 playoff and the consolation is still ongoing. Ann Young edged Terri Thyssen in a match tiebreak 10-8 and faces Kim Dean who ousted Ginny Beneke in straight sets.
Judy Dixon cruised past everyone in the women’s 70s, beating first time national singles finalist Barbara Hubbard 63 61. Barbara is a player from Hawaii who has been playing national tournaments for year, gradually improving from losing first or second round, to now, in the 70s reaching singles finals…a gold ball will follow some day! Cathie Anderson took the bronze and Carol Gay finished 5th; the 9th place playoff is ongoing.
Charleen Hillebrand ousted Suella Steel to win the 80s; Hillebrand led 5-2 when Steel retired with a leg injury. Lorna Brooks finished 3rd, beating Susanne Clark by default (Clark pulled a calf in the 2nd set tiebreak of her semifinal against Steel).
The 50 doubles final will be #1 Nideffer/Debbie Spence Nasim (who ousted Jenny Keller/Jen Dawson) vs McBride/Tracie Currie (who beat Vicki Buholz/Gayle Prejean).
In 60 doubles, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club members Una Davis/Lucia Romanov are in the final after beating Colleen Clery Ferrell/Tracey Thompson in a match tiebreak 10-7. They will take on unseeded Sue Pendo/Julie Juliani who ousted Julie David/Gail Warden.
The 70 doubles semis were a bit odd though extremely competitive. The USTA has mandated a new format for doubles involving round robins leading to a knockout draw and has dictated that all doubles matches be decided by match tiebreaks. The USTA has mandated that the same format be used for all Level 1 (gold ball) tournaments. The top seeds, Kathy Bennett/Liane Bryson played Kathy Barnes/Carol Gay (3)…and Barnes/Gay won 63 16 76 (7)…they played a full third set due to umpire error. (The Level 5 men’s event is playing out the third set of singles and doubles and the same umpires are used for both events.) The #2 seeds Vicky McEvoy/Judy Dixon faced #4 Sue Bramlette/Cindy Babb and they also split sets (the score isn’t correctly reported but each team won a set) and then played a match tiebreak won 11-9 by McEvoy/Dixon. Both were great matches and it was unfortunate that an umpire error marred the results.
In 80 doubles, Steel/Sheila Weinstock will play Roz King/Dorothy Wasser in the final while Lorna Brooks/Jean Ainger take on Hillebrand/Sheila Palmer.
The top seeds in the women’s 50 singles advanced by vastly different paths. Andrea Rice, the 2nd seed, had to rebound from a 6-0 first set drubbing to beat Dina McBride (3) 06 64 62. Andrea sliced and diced off her forehand, drove her backhand and showed off her excellent net skills in the win. Nancy Hilliard beat Marlo Carruth (4) by default (injury).
60s: Ros Fairbank Nideffer (1) beat Vicki Buholz 61 62 to adance to the singles final where she’ll face Fran Chandler (5). Fran beat me for the umpteenth time. The first set was close but once Fran closed that out her errors disappeared and her aggressiveness and movement increased…she won a well deserved 64 60 match.
70s: Judy Dixon (1) blitzed Cathie Anderson (5) not allowing Anderson a game. She’ll face Barbara Hubbard (5) in the final. Hubbard upset #2 seed Kathy Barnes earlier in the tournament and today beat unseeded Marianne Saibara.
80s: Local star and club member Suella Steel, unseeded, took out #2 Susanne Clark. She’ll face a familiar foe, Charleen Hillebrand, who beat 2019 champion Lorna Brooks 61 62.
50 doubles: Vicki Buholz/Gayle Prejean beat #4 seeded Deb Higa/Jami Jones in a match tiebreak; Jen Dawson/Jenny Keller (3) held off Julie Silveira/Mary Beth Williams 62 76; Nideffer/Debbie Spence Nasim (1) beat Christen Bartelt/Amy Alcini in a fun to watch match 63 62 and Tracie Currie/McBride edged unseeded Jodi Rea/Christine Paulson in a match tiebreak.
60 doubles: Tracey Thompson/Colleen Clery Ferrell edged 2019 champions and the top seeds, Susan Wright and Shannon Gordon Carney 61 57 1-0 (7)…those match tiebreaks in this new doubles format are a challenge! Una Davis/Lucia Romanov (5) beat #4 seeded Tina Karwasky/Jennifer Shorr 3,4 and those two teams play each other in the semis. Meanwhile, Julie David/Gail Warden advanced via default (Kathy May pulled a calf); Susan Pendo/Julie Juliani advanced via default (Kathy Vick broke a bone)…
70 doubles: Seeds 1-4 advanced without dropping a set to the semis.
80 doubles are still in the round robin stage. I saw a bit of Roz King/Dorothy Wasser (2) vs Charleen Hillebrand/Sheila Palmer (4); the latter team were up 4-1 in the first and 4-2 in the 2nd but lost in straight sets.
There were some good consolation matches today particularly in the 60s; Ann Young took out Maria Nunez 3,1; Kim Dean played great in beating Tracey Thompson 67 64 1-0 (8)…Tracey also played well, it could have been a main draw quarter or semi another time. And Shannon Gordon Carney edged Tina Karwasky in the 5-8 playoff and plays Susan Wright in the 5/6, another tough match.
It was quarterfinal day at the USTA Women’s Level 1 hard courts and there were a number of upsets.
The 50s division did not have any upsets though. Top seeded Nancy Hilliard, #2 Andrea Rice, # 3 Dina McBride and #4 Marlo Carruth all advanced in straight sets, though Christina Kaus gave Carruth a battle before losing 64 63. Dina finished her 9:30 match at 10:05..very efficient. Hilliard has moved into the final when Carruth defaulted the semi later in the day due to injury.
In the 60s, two “age-ups”, Vicki Buholz and Fran Chandler, took out #4 Shannon Gordon Carney (62 36 61) and #2 Susan Wright (62 63) respectively. Chandler though is a multiple world singles champion and Buholz has won her share of gold balls, so the upsets were minor ones. Ros Nideffer (1) held off unseeded (but a member of the 100+ gold ball club) Tina Karwasky 63 64 and I beat Kathy Vick (5) who retired down 3-1 40-15 with a foot injury (and we are at urgent care in La Jolla as I write this). I play Fran tomorrow and Vicki plays Ros.
Updated…the visit to the physio ended like this for Kathy:
In the 70s, upsets were rampant with only top seeded Judy Dixon avoiding the upset bug. Cathie Anderson (5) edged Carol Gay (3) in 3 sets; Carol Clay (4)retired down a set and 1/0 to unseeded Marianne Saibara, and Barbara Hubbard (5) upset #2 seeded Kathy Barnes in two tight sets. Judy plays Cathie while Saibara plays Hubbard for a spot in the final.
In the 80s, 2019 champion Lorna Brooks (unseeded in 2019, and again in 2021) beat #4 Sheila Weinstock 64 64. Suella Steel upset #3 Roz King 62 in the third. Top seeded Charleen Hillebrand and #2 Susanne Clark advanced in straight sets. Hillebrand takes on Brooks and Clark will face Steel (a 97 gold ball winner herself) in the semis.
The last matches of the doubles round robins are this afternoon, and the knockout quarterfinal rounds begin tomorrow.
In men’s action, Bill Kellogg has sailed into the 60 & 65 doubles finals and 70 singles final (receiving a walkover in the semis).
One thing I noticed today: The tournament for the first time in the 26 years I’ve played it, is using Wilson regular duty balls…normally reserved for indoor and clay. The women at the US Open used regular duty balls but use 6 balls per match and get new ones every 7/9 games. We get new ones only for third sets…and the regular duty balls wear out QUICKLY on outdoor hard. (Apparently containers of goods are going overboard from ships at record rates this year, over 1000 lost at sea already in 2021 per the UK Telegraph).
Here are the singles results; there weren’t doubles upsets today in the women’s divisions. There were a few upsets in the men’s division, notably the top seeds in men’s 75 doubles lost today. And TD Bill Kellogg is still in 60 & 65 doubles and 70 singles. He’s a great multitasker!
In the 60s, there weren’t any upsets but there were a couple of three-set tussles and #5 seed Jennifer Shorr defaulted to Tina Karwasky with a leg injury she suffered in her 76 76 marathon win yesterday. Doubles partners Shannon Gordon-Carney and Susan Wright had to battle hard in singles to advance to the quarters. Shannon took on former San Diegan Tracey Thompson (now of Las Vegas) and had to regroup after losing the 2nd set 60, winning 64 06 63. Shannon said Tracey just blew her off the court in the 2nd set. Susan took on Maria Nunez who displayed her much more consistent game, which is always tricky since she is a lefty using plenty of spin. Maria won the first set,