• Tag Archives Travel
  • 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.

    Tips:

    • 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


  • The Team is Coming Together in Lisbon

    Lisbon, Portugal

    Today, Thursday, all of the USA Marble Cup team members have arrived in Lisbon. Susan, Jenny and I met Diane and Jack Barker at the CDN Jamor (National Stadium) in Oeiras, just outside of Lisbon. The Uber driver dropped us off near the stadium…with all of Jenny’s luggage…and then we found out we were a 15-20 minute walk from the courts. We followed the signs to the courts and then didn’t see where the office was. I went looking for it and found the ITF office and Hayley Iveson in front of the stadium court. Diane and Jack arrived shortly after (also having been dropped off far from the courts).

    We all practiced on two courts, then Susan and I went to meet Robin Harris at the airport and Diane, Jack and Jenny back to their hotel…or we assume they did…as we left they were trying to find their Uber driver, who was lost. We’re practicing at 10 tomorrow so we’ll find out then.

    We eventually found Robin at the airport…in the Metro (not sure how go right after exiting the baggage claim lead to the Metro, which entailed going out of the airport and down a level) but we collected Robin and headed back to the flat. It was our smoothest airport Uber experience so far. I’ll be giving airport tours soon.

    We showed Robin the local grocery store and our apartment, I cooked salmon and yams and we’re ready for a dual practice day tomorrow.

    This is how small our elevator is…Susan barely fit with Robin’s suitcase.

    Let the Practice Begin, Lisbon

    Adios Mallorca, Hello Lisboa

    Photos


  • King Van Nostrand Sweeps 85s; San Diegans Win 75 Doubles

    While in a rain delay during Thiem/Novack (and the Barty/Anisimova semi was…streaky).

    I won my singles semis against Gundi Wieland from Germany. She beat the #3 seed yesterday; I won 60 60, though we had some good points. Gundi is the second straight lefty I’ve played and I practiced with a lefty most of last week…so it will be a bit weird playing a righty tomorrow! However, I warmed up with my doubles partner, Ellen Neumann who is in the 55s and a righty.

    Ellen played an excellent match against Laura DiVittori who is the #2 seed in the 55s. When I started watching it was the beginning of the third set and there wasn’t much between the two of them…believe perhaps. Laura won 75 in the third set, rallying from 1-4 and 4-5 down. Lots of slices and drop shots and from Ellen, great drives, from DiVittori, high changeups at critical times.

    King Van Nostrand beat his doubles partner, Herbert Althaus of Germany in the 85 singles final and then teamed with him to beat Hans Jell of Austria and Ashley from New Zealand. Ashely was really happy since they won 8 games. King is on his way home to Florida after this tournament.

    Dave Van Den Berg and Karl Placek won the 75 doubles over Peter Pokorny and his partner, and they are off, Dave to Spain and Karl to his native Czech Republic. Karl lost his semifinal singles today.

    Lisa Prechtel won her singles today and plays DiVittori in the 55 singles final.

    Taras Beyko from Canada was playing again on Center Court and Germany’s Stephanie Kolar was on a side court playing W40.

    Michel Bichon beat Heide Orth in the 75s in three sets but they are the top seeds next week, so may play again soon.

    They are using Babolat Team balls (not available in the USA…and they come in a metal can!). 8 Euros for 3 balls or you can rent them with a 5 euro deposit. Needless to say we search for lost balls and on the warm up court there is a lot of foliage at the end and side of the court where balls go to hide. So far we’ve found them all.

    Lake Worth, DiVittori, Neumann, Prechtel, Kolar, Beyko, W60, Sabine, Karl & Dave

    one.

    Draws are here. 


  • GMP Cup 2018 Champion

    Thursday September 14, 2018, Umag, Croatia

    It was a lovely day to play tennis today in Umag…a bit of cloud cover to make it feel cooler and no wind.

    I played Sylvia Reigl of Austria in the final. Sylvia is a good athlete….she shows up for matches on her scooter…I’d fall off of one! She took up tennis late, but has a strong lefty forehand, and likes to run. She also seems to like pace so I rope a doped her, giving her little pace and few angles. She hit four winners in the first game…after that I won the next 12, though she had game points.

    I watched the end of my doubles partner’s match after mine ended. She was playing Laura DiVittori of Italy, who is a nice player with good variety. Laura won but Ellen played pretty well.

    45 minutes after they finished we were on the doubles court. We played the final on center court which was cool. There were a few people watching (maybe to get some shade and comfortable seats!). We played Petro Kruger and Sue Jamieson and Ellen played fantastic doubles. I was consistent and we won 61 61 but really had a fun match. Petro hit one shot where she misfit the ball and the ball hit her racquet several times (one continuous motion) before it ricocheted off the frame and into the court for a winner.

    After doubles, I watched Ellen (and Marc Pepin) play mixed against DiVittori and Quentin Massey of NZL. There were lots of long games but DiVittori and Massey won the majority.

    There was a trophy presentation after the matches….big trophies (though the mens’ trophies, even for consolation were much larger than the women’s trophies…hmmmm…but the women’s had handles). Ellen won three trophies but she was driving home so it was ok.

    I rode my bike around for a while after that and ran into some Aussies at the grocery store and then back at the ATP stadium, ran into my doubles partner from Klosters and Barcelona, Kerry Ballard, and also some Americans, Brent Abel, Don Long, Jimmy Parker, Michael Stewart and Don Clark from the 70s and 75 teams, and Mai Ichikawa.

    And that’s a wrap on the Umag tournament. It was fun, decently organized, with good weather. The venue is nice, if you want to see Croatia, it’s a good starting point.


  • GMP Cup 2018: Successful Start

    I played my first match at the GMP Cup in Umag today, and beat an Austrian player, Ingrid Bruggraber. We played on Grandstand Court, and the match was live streamed and umpired, very unusual for a senior event. The courts here are really slow and have a lot of clay on them. (I know I wrote that before but it’s worth repeating daily). And the balls, Head ATP are pretty heavy. I hit a lot of successful dropshots today.

    After playing and lunch (and a massage!) I rented a bike and with another American, Joann Nicodermus (the massage therapist) rode to a Croatian Lidl and also to a Spar. It’s really interesting looking at grocery stores in different countries. The Lidl format is similar but the foods are different (alas, no carrot salad!). The Spar, which is more of a traditional grocery store had lots of pate; the Lidl specialty seemed to be ice cream and ice cream bars. It was a nice ride and I was happy to be back on the wheeled transport of my choice, a bike, rather than driving a car!

    There wasn’t a lot more to the day today but I have a couple of matches tomorrow, singles and doubles. The tournament is trying to finish by Thursday, then I’ll have some time to explore the area more.

    The tournament website (including a link to matches which are being live streamed) is here: Tournament Web Site and Live Streaming Links


  • Practice Day

    Sunday August 19, 2018, Ulm, Germany

    Susan Wright, Robin Harris and I took Pat Purcell to the bus station for her 7am bus, and the start of a very long road home. We left just after 6am, and Pat left me with the extroverts of our group! Though I must admit, 2 extroverts and 1 introvert is a better ratio than the reverse, especially since Robin and Susan have been friends since junior tennis days.

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    We went from the bus station at 6:30 am to go practice as there are no practice courts after 8:30 am so far this week. We had a good very early morning practice, then went back home to organize and to get strings for my racquets.

    I dropped Susan and Robin off around 11:30 and got a massage and, most importantly, WiFi for several hours!

    We all have the day off today but expect to play singles and doubles or doubles and mixed tomorrow.

    Draws and order of play and results are here.


  • Switzerland is Beautiful

    Today started with an early hit with Nora Blom and then another 20 minutes with Haim Ohn who plays in the men’s 60s. Both are lefties. After hitting, icing and breakfast I took the tram up the mountain…two actually Gotschnagrat at 2285 meters where it was 11 degrees Celsius or about 60 degrees. The sun was in and out and the air was refreshing up there.

    I wasn’t going on a long hike, but did want to walk towards the Parsennmuette, which would give me some nice views…well fantastic views.

    As soon as I exited the tram building I could heard the cow bells. There were small herds of cattle near the Gotschnagrat and by the Parsennmuette and a few along the way. This animal got stuck on the trail by one of the wires put up to the keep the cattle from wandering and it was upset and bawling.

    There were hikers and some mountain bikers on the trails. Most people give the common Swiss German greeting of “Grüezi” (sounds like Gritzy to me) as they pass.

    It was just beautiful up there, and though the trams up were full, it is a huge area and didn’t feel crowded. I stayed up there for a couple of hours, and took the tram back down when I heard thunder rumbling.

    I went back to the club to watch my potential opponents, Annelies Simons and Swiss Barbara Von Oppersdorff. Annelies was down 52 when I came up but won the set 76. I left then, and later saw Annelies retired up 76 26 54. So I play Von Oppersdorff who is tall with a big serve.

    I went back to the hotel until the TD called me at 5:50 to let me know that doubles (the draw closed at 2pm) was starting not before 6…really around 7pm! That was a surprise since there were no doubles draws up when I left and it was after 2pm. So I got ready to play and as I walked back to the club it was sprinkling and I heard thunder. In the end play was rained out for the day. I play singles tomorrow not before 2pm (5th match with a 9am start) and doubles not before 6pm.

    The hotel WiFi is slow so I walked away while the photos were loading…and just walked back now.

    Draws are here.

    Photos are here.


  • Düsseldorf Shopping Expedition

    Today Jenny Cerff and I had a plan (well I had a plan) to go to Düsseldorf, walk the full length of the Konigsallee and then go to the Rhine and walk along it and possibly visit a castle. We made it to Konigsallee and a few streets around it and not much further. We did however cross the Rhein in the car several times due to missing turns! Fortunately it’s not a toll road.

    It was another lovely day, and there were again hoards of people out shopping and watching World Cup soccer.

    We arrived about 11am in Düsseldorf and left after 9pm when shops were closing. Jenny is a shrewd bargain hunter and found some nice work and tennis clothes and I got a dress. We actually had to talk one dress (for Jenny) off of a mannequin since it was her size and the last one in the store. Below are the before and after photos of the mannequin. The mannequin’s arms had to be removed to remove the dress. Many years ago my Cup teammates and I attempted to undress a mannequin in a German sporting goods store to buy the clothing it was wearing. It was a hilarious moment in a “you had to be there” way (we removed a leg but not the shorts, finally a store employee helped us out). This time it was a smoother process…

    We found a huge sports store, the Decathalon. It had everything from girls ballet leotards to bowls to camping gear to tennis clothes under one roof.

    It was a fun day and we do plan to make it to the Rhein tomorrow after a morning tennis practice.


  • The German Open, Last Practice

    After a day off , Jenny Cerff and I hit the practice court today for a final tune-up before the tournament. We had a solid practice. It was another warm sunny day, marred only by the racket of a grass mower cutting several feet of growth off the levee behind the courts. I thought they were grinding wood, it was so loud! Then music began over the PA system. It was a good challenge to our concentration.

    I found out a bit about my opponent today. She’s a marathon runner, very fast and left handed, it’s a bit of a tricky opener. Jenny plays a woman who is on the German Cup team this year, also a challenge.

    After tennis, as usual we bought ice from the Edeka, then hit Tennis Point (so I could get my racquet strung), and Penny Market.

    The recycling of bottles here is interesting. There’s a deposit of 15-25 Euro cents on most cans and bottles. At most stores there’s a machine where customers can insert bottles they purchased at that chain and get a refund to use at the store. It’s fast and easy.

    We returned to the club and they have put flags up from many countries including South Africa, which Jenny appreciated. There’s no USA 🇺🇸 flag though, so I stood in front of the German Open sign instead.

    Top 65s players Nora Blom and Heidi Eisterlehner were in action on the 2 center courts today. Nora is shown below (iPhone photo).

    German Senior Open Draws

    German words of the day:

    Platz = Court

    Trinke = drink

    Eis = ice cream


  • Germany: Practicing on the Red Clay

    Jenny Cerff and I had a good practice this morning at the ETUF club. The weather has been quite nice, with highs in the low 80s and lows in the upper 50s-low 60s, and a slight breezes, perfect for tennis. Sabine, the TD took a few photos of us from the club balcony overlooking the courts.

    The draws are out and I play a good German player on Tuesday afternoon. The draw is below.

    After about a two hour workout, I had a massage and Jenny had lunch, then we hit the Edeka to get ice (no ice at the club at all that we could find), and got back to the hotel. We went out wandering on foot to and Aldi market and then to a DM (something like a small Walgreen’s with organic snacks and no Snickers bars) where I got Saptil, my favorite travel laundry soap…though I did just find out there are laundromats nearby, so finding and using one may be another day’s adventure. We passed a lot of bakeries, which had some really tasty looking treats, but managed to resist. We figured out what this parking sign meant…pay parking.

    Most of the stores we’ve been frequenting don’t take Visa, MasterCard or AmEx. They do accept some cards, but not those. So be prepared to use cash at Penny Market or Edeka.

    This pretty church is next to our hotel, wedged between two modern buildings.

    We are practicing very early tomorrow before going to Dusseldorf for the day to watch a German league match. More on that tomorrow (or more likely on Sunday).


  • Mont Tremblant Thursday

    Tennis was played today…the predicted rain stayed away and the courts were busy with matches all day. I played another local player, Martine St-Amant and won 60 60. I warmed up again with Mirek but apparently didn’t warm him up well enough since he lost to Luiz Penna. Penna though is quite a good player.

    Tomorrow I think I play the final against Jeannie Maceachern who won her round robin group. She’s a solid player so it should be a good match.

    After playing and having lunch, I went to the other venue which has a dozen courts for the players to practice on, an did a bit of serving and footwork to get ready for tomorrow.

    There are quite a few good international men here, including Glen Busby, Jimmy Parker and in men’s 40s, David McNamara. I was watching some matches and saw McNamara playing…he’s very tall, fit and hits the ball a ton. His warm up was playing 18 holes of golf in the morning! There were a lot of people watching matches too.

    Draws are here: https://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100042086


  • Finals Set for Women’s 50/60/70 Singles & Doubles

    It was another gorgeous La Jolla day full of lots of great tennis from 8am to after 8pm. The finals are now set for most of the women’s divisions.

    In the 50s, Andrea Rice ended unseeded Michelle Saunders’ run and Ros Nideffer beat Shelly Works to book a date with Rice in the final tomorrow. In doubles, #2 seeds Debbie Higa/Jami Jones overcame a slow start to beat #3 seeded Ellie Hammargren/Jennifer Lyons 60 in the third. Debbie Spence Nasim/Ros Nideffer’s slow start consisted of dropping 2 games in the first set vs zero in the second against Paulson/Rice. It will be a rematch of the 40 Hard Court final from last December in the final. As I left, Newman/Prejeen were playing Works Zimmermann in a 5-8 playoff match at a little after 8:30. Works/Zimmermann finally won it 63 in the third. They face Lane/Karwasky who beat Oconnor/Traylor in three sets, finishing around 8:30.

    Susan Wright continued her stellar play in the 60s, beating #3 seeded Leslie Airola Murveit without dropping a game, while Shannon Gordon Carney showed no ill effects from her 7 hours on court yesterday, beaing #2 seeded Tracey Thompson 75 61 to reach her first national singles final. Thompson/Wright advanced to the doubles final, edging Una Davis/Colleen Clery Ferrell 75 64. Robin Harris and I beat Tina Karwasky/Carolyn Lane 63 62. Robin played terrific tennis (to the surprise of no one). The marathon match of the day in this division was in the quarterfinal playoff between Andrea Barnes and Sherri Bronson, finally won 76 in the third by Bronson.

    In the 70s Brenda Carter won the battle of the Brendas, beating Brenda Winstead to advance to the final. Molly Hahn finally ended Betty Wachob’s marathon run, beating her 75 75. This final will be a repeat of the clay final from three weeks ago in Naples, Florida. The doubles final will be a repeat of the semis at that event. Leona Bryson/Kathy Bennett beat Elizabeth Barnhill/Barbara Hubbard and Carter/Wachob showed no mercy on Carol Gay/Sheila Johnson.

    The 80s moved into the semis without upsets, other than that #4 Carol Wood defaulted her quarterfinal singles match due to injury and Dorothy Matthiessen retired up a set and down 43 to Burnette Herrick.

    Next report will probably be on Saturday morning. We play at 2:30. If on Court 1 you can stream it online.


  • National Hard Courts Day 3: Long Matches, Great Tennis

    Wednesday May 9, 2018

    La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, La Jolla, CA

    The National Women’s Hard Courts continued on Wednesday, which was quarterfinal day for the women’s 50 & 60s. There were lots of long matches, great matches and a few upsets too.

    Betty Wachob won another grueling match today over Gwenda Ward, 61 57 76 (5)…the same score by which she beat Carolann Castell the day before. Luckily though her doubles was shorter…she combined with Brenda Carter to advance quickly to the semis.

    Shannon Gordon-Carney also won a three+ hour singles, upsetting #4 seeded Colleen Clery Ferrell, a local tennis director and fan favorite, 46 62 64. Her doubles though was also long and grueling, lasting over three hours against Clery Ferrell and Beach Club member Una Davis. Colleen and Una won it 67 (6) 63 64, finishing around 8:30 pm under lights. Colleen/Una had multiple set points in the first set before succumbing in the tiebreak and fought hard to win the second…points were lasting 10, 20, 30 shots even though Una and Colleen were at the net more often than not. Cindy Abel, Shannon’s partner, was just returning to national play after a long absence but was lobbing and moving as well as ever and Shannon, who played at UCLA, is a fine doubles player. The match was played in great spirit before an engaged crowd on Court 1.

     

    Shannon Cindy
    Colleen Una
    Joy
    Shannon
    Colleen
    Una Davis

    In the 50s, Michele Saunders caused her second upset in a row, beating #4 seeded Alicia Rowley 76 57 63. With such long matches, it’s understandable why matches were backed up so long today! Saunders takes on Andrea Rice next while Shelly Works will face Ros Nideffer. Rice beat another Beach Club member and fan favorite, Jenny Rens in an entertaining match 64 64. Rice teamed with Paulson to upset the #4 seeds, Works/Anna Zimmermann in three sets to advance to the semis.

     

    Jenny Rens

    Jenny Rens

    Robin Harris and I beat Donna Drosner/Debbie Burgess 61 61 and take on Tina Karwasky/Carolyn Lane, who upset #4 seeds Andrea Barnes/Leslie Airola-Murveit 60 63. Colleen/Una face Tracey Thompson/Susan Wright on the other side of the draw.

    In the 70s, Brenda Winstead upset Mary Alice Pisani, the 4th seed 75 36 64. In doubles Carol Gay/Sheila Johnson ousted Molly Hahn/Suella Steel, the #3 seeds.

     


  • Klitch, Rice, Barker, Hahn Claim National Singles Titles Saturday in Naples

    There were four singles finals on Saturday (Roz King claimed the 80s title on Friday). One match stood out though, which was the nearly two and a half hour battle between Susan Wright the #2 seed, and top seeded Diane Barker. It was a reprisal of the final of the world championships last year, and was another tight battle. Diane won the first set 64 but not before Susan rallied from 35 15-40. The second set went on serve (unusual in general in women’s tennis, let alone in the 60+ division) for the entire set with very few break points, though Susan did have a break point with Diane serving at 5-6, so also a set point. Diane played a brave point and eventually forced a tiebreak which she won 7-3, and with it another gold ball and national clay title.

    The 40s final was between Jenny Klitch and Lizl Kotz. Klitch had too much variety for Kotz, winning 61 61. The 50s final between Shelly Works and Andrea Rice was won 60 61 by Rice who played brilliantly. the 70s final was also one sided with Molly Hahn putting on a great display, slicing deep and attacking throughout to win 61 61 in her first national 70s final.

    There was no 40s doubles. The 50s doubles title was won by Klitch/Vesna McKenna 61 46 retired over Mary Dailey/Rice. (Rice had to catch a plane….matches started late on Saturday.)The 60s doubles was finished yesterday, won by Nichols/Wright. The 4th seeds, Kathy Bennett/Liane Bryson beat Hubbard/Watanabe to take the 70s 60 61. And the 80s finished yesterday, won by DeVries/King.

    There were also a lot of bronze ball matches. In 50 singles, Alicia Rowley edged McKenna 63 76. Rowley/Works won the doubles bronze too with a straight set win over Kruger/Waterlek. The 60s 3/4 playoff was won by Bunny Allare in three sets over Frances O’Sullivan. Jones/Neuthaler won the doubles bronze yesterday. Betty Wachob took bronze in 70 singles with a 63 60 win over Lesley Pixley and she took the 70 doubles bronze too with Carter over Carol Clay/Ellen Goodman in 3 sets. This match pretty much was the last of the tournament…it was nearly 3 hours long and ended around dinner time Saturday.

    The other interesting result was that between Toni Novack and Ellen Goodman who were playing for 5th in the 70s. Novack led 60 50 40-0, and made a wrong move, tried to stretch it out…and couldn’t so had to retire, leaving Goodman with the win. Never give up!

    Draws are here.

    Photos are here.


  • Hubbard/Watanabe Upset Top Seeds at National Clay

    On a breezy warm (but not oppressively hot) day in Naples, nearly all the seeds were in action, second round (round of 16 or quarters) matches were played and no one ended up at the hospital…all in all business as usual. (FYI, Carol Gay was recovered enough to visit the tournament site, though said she felt woozy still. She also said the ride to the hospital…strapped to a gurney and cramping…was something special, and not in a good way. But she will be ok in a few days she thinks.)

    Barbara Hubbard/Janet Watanabe (Jolene’s mom) upset Molly Hahn and Sue Kimball 76 (5) 63 today in the women’s 70s. It wasn’t Sue’s best day…she also dropped her singles match to Ellen Goodman 61 63 and in all fairness (though she didn’t complain about it), she was suffering from a calf strain. The better women on the day won. Mary Alice Pisani, who upset Carol Gay yesterday, continued her fine play into the quarters where she’ll face Betty Wachob. The other seeds advanced to the quarters including Toni Novack (below).

    In the 60s, Betsy Savitt edged #5 seeded Mary Morgan 64 76. Sally Smith played a great match to upset #6 seeded Sherri Bronson 60 63. The other seeds advanced.

    Dorothy Wasser showed she is more than a doubles specialist, taking the middle set off of #2 seeded Dori DeVries before fading in the third. King, Weber and Herrick, the last 3 world champions, all advanced as well to the semis.

    In the 50s, the three seeds in action, McKenna, Rice and Works, advanced without incident.

    In 50 doubles, McKenna/Klitch advanced to the semis while a round of 16 match has yet to be played.

    All four seeds advanced to the semis in the 60s doubles, though there were some tight first sets in a couple matches…Mosely/Smith stuck with #3 seeds Jones/Neuthaler for a set, before succumbing 76 62. Peltz-Petow/Savitt likewise were neck in neck with Purcell/Allare before falling 75 60. Susan and I beat Lesley  Pixley/Lee Roisman.

    In the 80s, top seeded Herrick/Wood edged Kathie Meyering/Jeanette Tubbs 46 75 62. They face either DeVries/King in the semis. Wasser/Weber, the #2 seeds, advanced to the semis.

    Photos are here.

    Draws are here: http://m.tennislink.usta.com/tournamenthome?T=212073


  • Paris: Museum & Wandering

    Today I had a plan to go to the Musee d’Orsay and to find a Christmas market. I took the slow way to the museum, getting off the Metro about a mile from the museum which allowed me to wander past the Place de la Concorde (which has a huge Ferris Wheel now along with a column) and the edge of the Tuilleries gardens and walk across the Seine en route to the Musee.

    The Musee d’Orsay is a portrait and sculpture museum. It’s not a modern art museum, but instead has rooms of Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Pissaro and much more. I liked a lot of the paintings and spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around the building. The building used to be a railway station and the big clock and curved ceiling reflects that. It was busy but the wait to buy a ticket was short and other than the Degas exhibit, the rooms were not overcrowded. 

    After I left the museum I walked to the Les Halles area, past the Louvre (which is huge!) I was trying to find a Christmas market and eventually I did. It wasn’t really all that impressive even though it’s apparently the largest in Paris. It had the usual stalls of food though with a French flair, which meant lots of cheese stalls, and not too many sausage and no gingerbread stalls that I saw. It was decorated nicely with twinkling lights above and on the Christmas trees, and there was a path lined by white trees leading to Santa (or so I assumed, I didn’t follow it).

    After leaving the fair, with some nice Tomme de Savoy cheese, I wandered around the Forum des Halles which is pretty much in the center of Paris. It was a bright and cheery mall with a Monoprix (sort of like a Target but with better food). I bought chocolate…Lindt, though Swiss, is featured predominantly here and there are lots of flavors one doesn’t see at home (pistachio, roasted sesame, etc).

    It was a pretty fun day and the weather hasn’t been too bad, in the 40s. Tomorrow I hope to get an early start for more museum going and shopping, the holidays make it very festive.

     

     


  • California —-> Barcelona

    It’s been a busy and very fun week. I went up to the Monterey/Pebble Beach California on the Central Coast for my niece’s fairytale wedding in Pebble Beach, where we had three perfect sunny days, a rarity in July on the northern and central coast…normally it’s foggy and cold…instead it was mild and sunny and oh so gorgeous. I did have time to visit a few of my favorite spots on 17 Mile Drive one morning.

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    After the wedding, I had a couple of hours sleep, then drove to San Francisco and flew to Barcelona for a tournament. The tournament is being held at the Royal Polo Club in Barcelona, a huge club with (you guessed it) polo fields and red clay courts…and padel courts (that was not a misspelling), and lots of soccer fields plus some nice pools and restaurants. The tournament is weird in that there is no play before 6pm and matches have starting times of 6, 7:30, 9 and 10:30. Tonight, Tuesday, I have a 10:30 doubles match! I’ve not played that late since it rained a lot at the 35 grass and we had to start a doubles match around midnight.

    I’m playing doubles with Erin Boynton from Canada. Yesterday Erin and I went to the grocery store for supplies, then  practiced. We were assigned court 28, but never actually found it, but luckily for us, there was another court open and we were able to hop on it for a couple of hours. Later Erin, her daughter Hannah and Iwent to a tapas restaurant and also had paella.  We walked by the Gaudi House, Casa Batillo, a really cool examle of his architecture.

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    The courts here are pretty slow but the Babolat Roland Garros balls combined with the high bouncing red clay make the courts a little faster and definitely bouncier than the clay in Germany for example. The courts are pretty good though.

    There are lots of clay courts, padel courts and soccer fields near my hotel. The Polo club is on one side and, below, the David Lloyed club is on the other side.

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  • Rain in Spain Causes Tournament Pain

    I had a lot of time to think of things that rhyme with rain (pain, bane, wane, gain) because all play was cancelled today. (Sad smile).

    Jenny (Klitch) and I walked over to the courts around nine. It was sprinkling lightly and several of the courts appeared close to being playable.

    I walked over again at 11:30 and well…all were very wet with puddles. Some of these courts don’t dry well…some still had puddles on them yesterday even though it hadn’t rained for two days. There seem to be no court dryers here for clay courts.

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    There was a sign to check back at 12:30, but when I asked the front desk personnel (no one was in the tournament office), I was told no play before 3pm. I got a number to call (no postings are on the website) and was told play was cancelled for today and that singles would be played tomorrow. Doubles will be played Saturday if players agree or else cancelled. Since we are in the QF of doubles, I doubt that all our possible opponents will stay, but that decision is for another day.

    On another note…next time you complain about the price of balls in the USA, consider this (a euro is about 1.06 USD now but was 1.6 not too long ago).

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    The view wasn’t as pretty today but still is nice:

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    5pm update: The staff at the club worked hard today on the courts and got out the old fashioned squeegees, like they use on hard courts and rolled all the courts. Here is someone working on the last court (while it’s sprinkling again!)

     

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    All for now…we are going to be scheduled to play early tomorrow. You can check results here

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