The USTA sent 10 teams to compete in Umag and Novigrad Croatia, September 10-16, 2012, and seven came home with the Cups: The USA successfully defended its titles in the Von Cramm (Men’s 60), Britannia (Men’s 65), Bitsy Grant (Men’s 75), Gardnar Mulloy (Men’s 80), Alice Marble (Women’s 60), Althea Gibson (Women’s 70) and Queens (Women’s 75) Cups. The USA finished second in the Kitty Godfree (Women’s 65) and Doris Hart (Women’s 80) Cups.
The Alice Marble (Martha Downing Captain, Tina Karwasky, Mary Ginnard and Toni Novack), Althea Gibson Cup, (Donna Fales Captain, Cathie Anderson, Charleen Hillebrand and Lurline Fujii) and the Queen’s Cup (Kathy Langer, Captain, Dorothy Matthiessen, Dori deVries and Lyn Tietz) all won their Cups without dropping a match during the week, though each team dropped a set at No. 1 singles once. The Marble Cup team beat Netherlands in the final. The Gibson Cup team ousted Australia to win the Cup, and the Queen’s Cup team defeated Germany to win.
The Von Cramm Cup (Larry Turville, Captain, Paul Wulf, Tony Dawson and Wesley Jackson) split singles in the semis against Germany and again in the final against France, but Turville, playing No. 1 and the deciding doubles in each tie (with Dawson), was the hero of this team, winning the singles in both semis and the deciding doubles point.
The final of the Britannia Cup was extremely exciting. Up till that point the U.S. team (Armistead Neely, Captain, Brian Cheney, Jimmy Parker and Richard Johnson) had advanced smoothly, but facing a tough Spanish team led by world No. 1 Jorge Camina Borda, it was a different story. Neely, playing No. 2 singles, advanced when his opponent retired at 0-5 with an arm injury. Camina Borda quickly evened the tie with an impressive, straight-sets win over Cheney (incredible drop shots). That set the stage for a fantastic doubles match.
The USA team huddled to discuss its doubles pairing…all four players are terrific doubles players. In the end Cheney/Johnson, both tall and lean, took the court against Jairo Velasco (a former Davis Cup player) and Camina Borda. The first point set the tone…five lobs by the Spaniards (and some dipping shots)…five overheads by the Americans. The Spaniards won the first set 6-3. The sun moved, the Americans got their rhythm, and they won the second set and, not without difficulty, moved to 5-3 in the third. Of course, the Spanish team tied the set at 5-5, but the Americans broke back and Johnson served it out to clinch the tie.
It was a clinic of clay court doubles, dinks to the feet, then lobs followed by more dinks and angles, high quality, high percentage tennis.
The Bitsy Grant (Jim Nelson, Captain, Lester Sack, Herm Ahlers, Larry Sears) final also came down to the doubles in the final, which was played against Germany. Ahlers dropped a tough three setter at No. 2 singles; Sack evened the tie at 1-1, and combined with Nelson to win the doubles point and the Cup.
The Gardnar Mulloy (George McCabe, Captain, John Powless, Joe Russell and Saul Snyder) team split its singles matches in the final against Canada. McCabe won at No. 2 over Ken Sinclair, and Powless dropped the No. 1 to Lorne Main of Canada. McCabe and Powless won the deciding point over Sinclair/Main, rallying from 0-3 down in the third to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and retain the Cup.
The Kitty Godfree Cup team (Betty Wachob, Captain, Brenda Carter, Carol Clay, Leslie Pixley), was seeded third and had a tough road to the final. On Thursday, the beautiful weather ended, and it was rainy and then, in the afternoon, windy (gusts in the 40mph range). The USA faced Netherlands. Clay won in three sets, and Carter then lost at No. 1 singles. By that time it was too late (dark) to play the doubles, so it was played on Friday morning.
Friday was clear but extremely windy, steady 25-mph winds and gusts over 40 mph, really miserable tennis weather. The USA prevailed in the doubles 6-3, 6-3 and next faced Great Britain. This time USA dropped its No. 2 singles (Wachob), and Carter won at No. 1 singles. Carter/Wachob again took the court to play the deciding match, late in the day. They split sets but went up 5-2 in the third and had match points at 5-4, only to fail to win them. At 5-5 in the third, the match was suspended due to darkness!
Saturday (nice weather finally), the USA won the set 7-6 (after holding two more match points at 6-5) and went on to face France. Clay played at No. 2 but pulled a muscle in the second set. She battled on but lost in three sets, and Carter lost at No. 1 to the world No. 1, Gail Benedetti. It was a valiant effort by the Americans. The USA did win the doubles point (Wachob/Pixley).
The Doris Hart Cup (Jane Lutz, Captain, Lucille Kyvallos, Margaret Canby, Joyce Jones) was seeded No. 2 and advanced smoothly to the knockout portion of the draw with Canada and Netherlands. On the windy Thursday, they beat Netherlands 3-0. In the final match, which was on Friday, the USA team, after an initial misunderstanding as to the day they were to play Canada, put up a strong fight but lost 2-1. Lutz lost at No. 2 singles in three sets and Kyvallos in straight sets. Kyvallos/Canby won the doubles point.
The Jack Crawford Cup (Fred Drilling, Captain, Allan Carter, Rudy Hernando, Tom Brunkow) placed fifth.
It was the most successful showing ever by the USA in the ITF Super Senior International World Team Championships.