By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, Calif.
– In a semifinal singles match featuring two Americans, top-seeded Diane Barker of Daniel Island, S.C., defeated fourth-seeded Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 6-3, 6-1, to advance to the final of the Women’s 55 division at the 2012 International Tennis Federation Seniors World Individual Championships.
It was just last week when Nichols and Barker were teammates, as they represented the United States in the ITF Seniors World Team Championships and helped lead the U.S. to the Maureen Connolly Cup (Women’s 55) title at San Diego’s Balboa Tennis Club.
On a bright, sunny Friday morning at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, they faced each other in the singles semifinals. Barker got off to a slow start, as she lost the first seven points of the match and Nichols took an early 2-0 lead in the first set.
Barker recovered and eventually broke Nichols to get back on serve. Barker began moving Nichols around the court during rallies, and when Barker had Nichols out of position, she would either go for an outright winner or come to the net to put the ball away.
With Nichols serving at 3-4, Barker scored a critical break when she hit a down-the-line winner on break point to take a 5-3 lead. In the following game, Barker went on to serve out the first set.
Nichols served to open the second set, and on break point against her serve, she tried a drop shot, but Barker came up with a forehand winner to take a 1-0 lead. As Barker gained momentum in the match, the top seed increased her lead to 4-0 before Nichols held serve to make the score 4-1.
At 5-1 in the second set, Nichols served to stay in the match, but on match point, Barker ended the match with a forehand winner. Barker advances to the Women’s 55 singles final, where she will meet second-seeded Patricia Medrado of Brazil, a former touring tennis professional.
"It’s always a physical match with Carolyn. She does not give up, and she will fight and run down one more ball. You’ve got to do a lot of running," Barker said after her semifinal victory. "It’s always a tough match playing her, but I’m glad it’s over, and I’m glad to be in the finals."
In other action on Friday, seventh-seeded Kelly Pace-Wilson of Cameron Park, Calif., ousted top-seeded Ana Salas-Lozano of Spain, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), to advance to the finals of the Women’s 35 division.
In a quarterfinal match in the Men’s 50 division, third-seeded Mike Fedderly of Palm Desert, Calif., edged Peter Markes of Austin, Texas, 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-3.
Tournament officials announced that all finals for each age division (35s, 40s, 45s, 50s and 55s) will be played on Saturday, Feb. 18, and Sunday, Feb. 19, at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (PT).
Tournament admission to watch the matches is free and open to the public. On-site parking is available at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club for a nominal fee.
For the most current draws and results for the 2012 ITF Seniors World Individual Championships, go to: www.itftennis.com/seniors
Recently designated one of the top-50 Tennis Resorts in the world 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 will be hosting the 123rd edition of The Pacific Coast Men’s’ Doubles Championships in March 2012, and the USTA National Hard Court Championships for Women’s 50-90 age groups in May 2012.
For more information on Tennis Events at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, please visit www.LJBTC.com
. For information on the ITF Senior World Championships, please visit www.ITFSanDiego.com
About the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc.
Celebrating its 75-year anniversary in 2010, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club is a fourth-generation, family-owned 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 Hotel and the historic Marine Room restaurant. Resort amenities include 14 championship tennis courts, a nine-hole Par-3 golf course, two swimming pools, two additional oceanfront restaurants and cocktail lounges, and one of Southern California’s only private beaches. For more information visit www.LJBTC.com.