USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships
J. Fred Sidhu
Monday, May 14, 2012
Sometimes it takes a tennis player a little while
their rhythm in a tennis match regardless of what level they may be
In Monday’s first-round action at the United States Tennis Association
National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships, unseeded Colleen Clery Ferrell
of San Diego got off to a slow start against Kimberly Zebot of
Dana Point, Calif. before coming back to score an impressive 6-4, 6-3
victory to advance to the second round.
On a bright, sunny day on Court #1 at the La Jolla
& Tennis Club, Clery Ferrell fell behind 3-0 in the first set
before she rallied and won six of the next seven games to wrap up the
The 55-year-old Clery Ferrell took command of the second set as she
established a 5-2 lead and served for the match in the eighth game.
However, Zebot broke serve and then served to stay in the match. Clery
Ferrell went on to the secure a service break and close out the match.
“I started out really slow. I just started
(Zebot) backhand and started getting a little steadier and was able to
string some points together and win the first set,” said Clery Ferrell,
who is Club Director of the Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego.
Being the mother of a 12-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter
doesn’t give Clery Ferrell much time to travel, so she enjoys the
chance to play tournaments such as the USTA National Senior Women’s
Hard Court Tennis Championships at the LJB&TC.
“I love San Diego and I love playing at the Beach
It’s so prestigious and there is so much tradition,” she said. “I savor
the opportunity to play a National tournament close by.”
Clery Ferrell, a native of Chicago, will play her
second-round match on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. (PDT) against third-seeded Tracy Houk
of Half Moon Bay, Calif. Houk, who received a first-round bye, reached
the Women’s 50 singles final in last year’s tournament.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue to play here and do
the best I can against the top players in my age division,” Clery
Nideffer, the top-seed in the Women’s 50 division,
received a first-round bye and will play her opening match against
unseeded Margaret Smith
of Torrance, Calif. on Tuesday at 10 a.m. (PDT)
Nideffer, who lives in the San Diego community of
Bernardo, played on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour from the
late 1970s through late 1990s. A two-time Wimbledon singles
quarterfinalist and a two-time French Open doubles champion, Nideffer
achieved a career-high singles ranking of 15 in the world in 1990.
Tuesday, May 15
Playing with confidence and using an aggressive
all-court game, top-seeded Ros
Nideffer cruised past unseeded Margaret Smith
of Torrance, 6-0, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals of the Women’s 50
division at the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis
Nideffer will face fifth-seeded Vicki
Buholz of Dallas, Texas in a quarterfinal match scheduled
for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. (PDT).
Playing on Court No. 8 on a bright, sunny day at
Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Nideffer used two service breaks to
out to a commanding 4-0 lead over Smith in the first set.
With Nideffer serving the fifth game, Smith had three break points
after taking a 40-0 lead. However, Nideffer, once ranked as high at
15th in the world, fought off each break point as she hit two overhead
winners followed by a forehand winner. She eventually held serve to
extend her lead to 5-0.
After breaking Smith’s serve to win the first set,
Nideffer opened the second set by holding serve to take a 1-0 lead. In
the next game, Smith came back and held her serve when Nideffer netted
a forehand service return on game point to tie the second-set at 1-1.
That would be the only game Smith would win as Nideffer went on win the
next five games to close out the match which took a little over an hour
“I just forced myself to keep going for my shots
trying to get into the net and be aggressive,” said Nideffer as she
spoke about the key to her second-round victory. “I was happier with my
serve today. I had fewer bad tosses, so that’s progress.”
The 51-year-old Nideffer played on the Women’s
Association (WTA) Tour from the late 1970s through late 1990s. She is a
two-time Wimbledon singles quarterfinalist and a two-time French Open
Following her time on the tennis tour, she concentrated on raising her
family and didn’t play much tennis, but she has re-discovered that
competitive spirit on the court that made her one of the top players in
“There was a long period where I didn’t play at
started to play a little bit and I got the bug to want to try and play
better and to try and play as well as I can,” Nideffer said. “I want to
get myself to play some points like I used to. It feels so good to hit
a good serve and get in and hit a good volley.”
In other action, tennis legend Dodo Cheney
of Escondido, Calif., played her first singles match in the Women’s 90
Round-Robin. Cheney was scheduled to play only doubles this week, but
was a last minute entry into the singles event.
The 95-year-old Cheney, who is a member of the International Tennis
Hall of Fame, dropped a 6-4, 6-1 decision to 90-year-old Lovie Beard of
Houston, Texas. Cheney will play her second round-robin match against Anita Claeboe of
Ponte Vedra, Fla. on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. (PDT).
Wednesday, May 16
Karwasky of Glendale, Calif. played another near-perfect
match to advance to the semifinals in the Women’s 60s division.
The 59-year-old Karwasky, who will turn 60 later this year, wasted
little time in eliminating fifth-seeded Chieko Holt of
Klamath Falls, Ore., 6-0, 6-0, in a quarterfinal match played on Court
Karwasky has yet to lose a game in the tournament.
After receiving a first-round bye earlier this
week, she defeated unseeded Pricilla
of Windsor, Colo., 6-0, 6-0, in the second round on Tuesday.
In her quarterfinal victory, Karwasky controlled the match from start
to finish. She attacked Holt’s serve frequently throughout the
afternoon as she approached the net off her own service return to set
up a winning volley. The strategy helped Karwasky break Holt’s serve
each time during the match, which took a little over an hour to
“I was playing pretty good. My ground strokes were
in nice and deep and I feel pretty comfortable on a hard court,” said
Karwasky, who grew up playing on public hard courts in Los Angeles.
As the number one seed in the Women’s 60 division,
Karwasky admitted feeling a little bit of pressure. “It always puts
pressure on you to do well (as the top seed),” she said. “Everybody is
watching you, especially when they put you on the center court. You
just want to perform well.”
Playing at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis
Club is a
special experience for Karwasky. “This is one of the most beautiful
spots in all of the United States,” she said. “I’ve been coming here
ever since I was a little kid when my mother used to play senior
tournaments and she used to leave me at the beach to build sand
Karwasky, who played on the women’s professional
tennis tour in the 1980s, will take on fourth-seeded Molly Hahn of
Belmont, Mass. in a semifinal match on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (PDT).
In other action, top-seeded Ros Nideffer
advanced to Thursday’s semifinals of the Women’s 50 division as she
defeated fifth-seeded Vicki
Buholz of Dallas, Texas, 6-2, 6-2, in a morning
quarterfinal match on Court No.1.
Nideffer needed nearly two hours to eliminate Buholz in a match
highlighted by many long rallies and numerous deuce games.
Thursday, May 17
Houk of Half Moon Bay, Calif., playing with fierce
determination and tenacity, ousted defending champion Frances Chandler
of Jackson, Tenn., 6-4, 6-0, in the Women’s 50s division semifinals.
A year ago, Houk reached the Women’s 50 singles final where she lost to
Chandler, 6-2, 6-3, but on a breezy, mostly sunny Thursday afternoon on
Court No. 2, she outlasted the steady-playing Chandler in one-hour and
Chandler and Houk exchanged service breaks early
first set of their semifinal match, but at 3-3, Chandler was broken and
Houk held serve to take a 5-3 lead. Chandler, who was seeded second,
held her serve in the next game to close the gap to 5-4.
Houk then served for the first set but fell behind 15-40 and with two
break point opportunities Chandler looked poised to break serve to tie
the set score.
However, Houk fought off both break points and
went on to
hold serve and close out the first set.
The first game of the second set proved to be the turning point of the
match as Houk scored a key service break after winning an extended
16-point game. That was all Houk needed as she reeled off the next five
consecutive games to win the match.
The victory was especially gratifying for Houk,
played against Chandler since their days in the 30 and over Nationals.
Houk said even though they’ve taken turns winning matches against each
other, Chandler has had the upper hand in their last few matches.
Houk credited her tenacity and fitness for helping her win their latest
“No matter what the score is, I play each point
was the last,” she said. “I just dig in deep and play every point as
hard as I can.”
After losing last year’s final to Chandler, Houk felt she
to work on getting more physically fit. “I just needed to get in better
physical shape. I knew I could mentally do it, but I needed to be more
physically fit,” she said. “I came in here (this year) a lot more fit.”
The 50-year-old Houk advances to this year’s
Women’s 50 singles final, where she will play top-seeded Ros Nideffer on
Friday at 10 a.m. (PDT).
Nideffe defeated fourth-seeded Mariana
of Winston Salem, N.C., 6-4, 6-1, to reach the singles final against
A two-time Wimbledon singles quarterfinalist and a two-time French Open
doubles champion, Nideffer was once ranked as high as No. 15 in the
Friday, May 18
Determined not to let history repeat itself,
top-seeded Ros Nideffer
of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., defeated third-seeded Tracy Houk
of Half Moon Bay, Calif., 6-1, 6-3, to win the Women’s 50s singles
title at USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships.
On a breezy and partly sunny morning on Court No.
1 at the
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Nideffer, a former touring tennis
professional, used an attacking net game to overcome Houk in the
singles final, which took one-hour and 38 minutes to complete.
In their only previous meeting, Houk scored a thrilling 6-7 (3), 6-3,
7-5 in the semifinals of the 2004 USTA National 40s Hard Court
Championships at the LJB&TC.
Nideffer let a 5-1 third-set lead slip away in
Nideffer, a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist and a two-time French
Open doubles champion, remembers that four-hour encounter like it was
“It’s a match that I’ll never forget. I had come
tournament not having practiced. I figured I was going to work my way
in and just go for my shots,” Nideffer said. “Then I came up against
her and she hit these moon balls and (had an) awkward style. I just
lost confidence and couldn’t put the ball away. I was afraid to come to
the net. I couldn’t volley and I couldn’t put the match away.”
In the Women’s 50s title match on Friday, Nideffer
to a quick start as she pressured Houk from the very first game.
Nideffer came to the net at every opportunity and either drew the error
or hit pinpoint volley winner to build a 5-0 lead.
“I didn’t want to get into a long baseline rallies and I knew I had to
get into the net. I was a bit nervous about that. I just forced myself
to come in,” said Nideffer, who went on to close out the first set, 6-1
in 34 minutes.
Houk did raise the level of her game in the second
began hitting her passing shots with more accuracy. However, Nideffer
played a solid game at 2-2 to break Houk’s serve at love to take a 3-2
Nideffer and Houk then played the longest game of the match, which
featured 26 points. Nideffer had to fight off six break points before
holding serve for a 4-2 lead.
Houk later served to stay in the match at 5-3, but Nideffer clinched
the match when Houk’s forehand passing shot sailed long on the second
After she was presented her USTA gold ball
victory, Nideffer said, “It’s very satisfying. The thing I feel best
about this week is just how tough I played. It wasn’t always pretty,
but I played very tough and I played smart.”
In other tournament action, tennis legend Dodo Cheney of
Escondido, Calif. and
Elizabeth Cookson of San Mateo, defeated Lovie Beard of
Houston, Texas and Anita
of Ponte Vedra, Fla., 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to win the Women's 90s doubles
title. Cheney, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, was
awarded her career 391st USTA gold ball.
Saturday, May 19
Boynton of Toronto, Canada, rallied from a set down to
defeat fifth-seeded Tracey
Thompson of San Diego, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, to reach the Women’s
50s singles consolation championship.
After losing in the second round of the main draw earlier in the week
to fifth-seeded Kathy
of Lubbock, Texas in a tough three-setter, Boynton won three straight
matches to advance to the consolation semifinals against Thompson, who
had lost to eventual runner-up Tracy
Houk in the main draw quarterfinals.
Boynton, a Canadian-based orthopedic surgeon who
in Quincy, Ill., committed nine double faults and struggled to find her
rhythm in the first set as Thompson jumped to a 5-1 lead and went on to
close out the set in 40 minutes.
In the second set, the 52-year-old Thompson began to relax and go for
more on her serve.
“I decided that I just have to relax and I’ve got
to play and hit the ball and really go for my serve,” she said.
Thompson only double faulted once in the second
would build leads of 3-1 and 5-2 before serving out the set to level
the match at one set all.
Boynton, who did not pick up tennis until her mid-30s, clearly had the
momentum on her side as she broke Thomson’s serve twice early in the
third set to take a 3-0 lead.
Later as Boynton served with a 5-2 lead, she had two match points at
40-15, but Thompson fought back to break serve as Boynton double
After Thompson held serve, Boynton served for the
match at 5-4.
Despite losing her third match point, Boynton went on to serve out the
match, which took two-hours and one minute.
Due to her medical practice and family
Boynton plays a limited tournament schedule during the year, so she
welcomed the opportunity to play in the consolation draw to get extra
match play after losing in the main draw.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for me to come and
with these ladies and work my way up the ladder. I’ve had an
unbelievable week. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’ve learned
so much about tennis,” she said. “This would be just the icing on the
cake if I could walk away with that (consolation title) tomorrow.”
Boynton will face fifth-seeded Vicki Buholz of
Dallas, Texas in the Women’s 50s consolation singles final on Sunday.
Sunday, May 20
of Dallas, Texas won the Women’s 50s Consolation Singles title at the
USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships as she easily
defeated unseeded Erin
Boynton of Toronto, Canada, 6-1, 6-0, in one hour.
Earlier in the week, Buholz, a member of the
States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), reached the
quarterfinals of the singles main draw where she fell to eventual
champion Ros Nideffer
Buholz, who has taught tennis at the T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas for
over 20 years, played solid tennis in dominating the Women’s 50s
consolation singles final against Boynton, which was played on a cool,
partly cloudy morning on Court No. 1.
After holding serve to take a 2-1 lead in the
Buholz began mixing up her shots and went on to win 16 of the next 20
points to put away the first set in 33 minutes.
In the second set, Buholz continued her steady play as she kept Boynton
from finding her rhythm and getting back into the match. With a 5-0,
Buholz easily served out the match.
“I’m excited. It feels great. I prepared well and
I did a
good job of mixing it up,” Buholz said after her victory. “I kept the
ball low and kept her out of her rhythm.”
As she was well aware that Boynton rallied from a
to win her consolation semifinal match on Saturday, Buholz was careful
not to lose her intensity and concentration after winning the first set.
“Everybody here is a fighter. Anything can slip,
have to play each point with intensity,” Buholz said. “I tried to
really focus on each point."
Final tournament draws are available at: http://tennislink.usta.com/TOURNAMENTS/TournamentHome_New/Tournament.aspx?T=113672
Designated one of the Top 50 Tennis Resorts in the
by Tennis Resorts Online, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club's
reputation as a top tennis destination started in 1942 when it
attracted its first major tournament, the Pacific Coast Men's Doubles
Championship. The Club’s staff includes Director of Tennis Conan
Lorenzo and a variety of experienced United States Professional Tennis
Association pros who offer a full range of lessons, clinics, camps and
In addition to hosting the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court
Tennis Championships, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club also
the USTA National Men’s & Women’s 40 & Over Hard
the USTA National Father & Son Hard Court Championships,
for November 26 – December 2, 2012.
A cherished beachfront resort for more than 75
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club is a fourth-generation,
and operated company dedicated to the operation of a 14-acre beachside
resort. The resort includes three properties, including the exclusive
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the 128-room La Jolla Shores
and the historic Marine Room restaurant. Resort amenities include 14
championship tennis courts, a nine-hole Par-3 golf course, heated
swimming pool, two additional oceanfront restaurants and cocktail
lounges, and one of Southern California’s only private beaches. For
more information visit www.LJBTC.com.