By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, Calif. – After watching the action at the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships, which wrapped up on Sunday, May 19, it is easy to see why tennis is billed as "the sport for a lifetime."
Nearly 200 competitors came from across the United States to play in the Women’s 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s divisions in the senior hard court championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. The common bond the players shared was their love and passion for the sport of tennis.
One player, Shelley Susman of San Diego, played in her first competitive singles tournament in almost 30 years.
Susman, the daughter of 1961 Wimbledon women’s singles champion Karen Hantze Susman, played collegiate tennis at San Diego State University in the mid-1980s, but injuries forced her to stop playing until two years ago, when she began playing in doubles leagues.
Playing in the Women’s 50s, Susman won her first-round singles match.
"It felt fantastic. It felt great to be out there and getting back into the [singles] game," Susman said. "It’s nice to see some of my peers, and it’s good to get back to my roots in tennis."
Playing in the Women’s 50s for the third time was the charm for Tracy Houk of Montara, Calif., who lost in the singles final the past two years. However, this year there was no stopping the top-seeded Houk, as she lost only 14 games in winning the title.
Houk was nearly flawless in the final, defeating second-seeded Frances Chandler of Jackson, Tenn., 6-1, 6-0.
"I just went in there determined. I knew I could do it," Houk said. "I wanted to put 110 percent into it, and I did. I love this tournament. It’s my favorite tournament, and I look forward to coming here every year."
Third-seeded Vicki Buholz of Dallas was eliminated in the singles quarterfinals of the Women’s 50s, but she managed to finish the tournament on a winning note, as she won the consolation title for the second straight year.
"I love tennis. I have a passion for tennis. I play every match I can play," Buholz said. "I love this tournament and every win is a win."
"It was a spectacular week of entertaining tennis during these senior championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club," said Tournament Director and LJB&TC President Bill Kellogg. "The fans who attended and the players who participated had a great time. We are already looking forward to next year's event."
USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Women's 50 Singles
Tracy Houk (1), Montara, Calif., def. Frances Chandler (2), Jackson, Tenn., 6-1, 6-0
Judy Newman (5) Scotts Valley, Calif., def. Carolyn Nichols (4) Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Women's 60 Singles
Tina Karwasky (1), Glendale, Calif., def. Mary Ginnard (3), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-4, 6-4
Martha Downing (2), Shingle Springs, Calif., def. Chieko Holt (4), Klamath Falls, Ore., 7-6(5), 6-3
Women's 70 Singles
Catherine Anderson (2), Del Mar, Calif., def. Charleen Hillebrand (1), San Pedro, Calif., 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
Sheila Weinstock (5) Framingham, Mass., def. Grace Woo (3), Pittsford, N.Y., 6-1, 6-3
Women's 80 Singles
Margaret Canby (1), San Antonio, def. Doris Lutz (2), Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 6-4
Louise Russ (3), Boca Raton, Fla., def. Claire Zoeller (4), Santa Fe, N.M., 7-6(4), 6-4
Women's 50 Doubles
Robin Harris, San Diego, and Tracey Thompson (4), San Diego, def. Vicki Buholz, Dallas, and Kathy Vick (2), Lubbock, Texas, 6-4, 7-5
Women's 60 Doubles
Mary Ginnard, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Tina Karwasky (1), Glendale, Calif., def. Kathy Barnes, San Jose, Calif., and Susan Bramlette (5), Houston, 6-2, 6-4
Women's 70 Doubles
Lynn Little, Palm Desert, Calif., and Diane Willauer (2), Indian Wells, Calif., def. Claudia Giacomini, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Sheila Weinstock (3), Framingham, Mass., 7-5, 7-5
Women's 80 Doubles
Jane Buffington, Lincoln, Calif., and Beverly Winans (1), Newport Beach, Calif., def. Margaret Canby, San Antonio, and Doris Lutz (2), Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 6-3
Women's 90 Doubles
Elizabeth Cookson, San Mateo, Calif., and Lucille Trefzger, Lake Oswego, Ore., def. Jane Howard, San Diego and Helene Salvetat, Hossegor, France, 6-4, 6-2