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Senior International

2013 ITF Senior World Team Championships Blog: Carolyn Nichols

By Carolyn Nichols, special to USTA.com
Monday, April 1st: Works Wins First World Individual Title in Turkey
Americans Scott Works, Tina Karwasky, Susan Wright, Danny Waldman, Diane Barker, Mark Vines and Wesley Cash won ITF World Individual Titles in Turkey.
Works teamed up with a German player whom he'd never met before and won the 45 men's doubles. He was the only American younger than age 55 to win a world title this year. His wife, Shelly, won the 45 consolation singles and participated in the team competition as a member of the U.S. Margaret Court Cup squad that finished sixth last week.
Barker won her second straight 55s title with ease, never dropping more than three games a match. She beat Karwasky in the semis and Australia's Ros Balodis in the final. Karwasky and Wright, the top seeds, edged the no. 3 duo of Pat Purcell and myself in a match tiebreak for the gold. Both I and Karwasky were bronze medalists in singles. Barker, Wright, Karwasky and Purcell comprised the U.S. Maureen Connolly Cup team which won the Cup the previous week.
Waldman won the 55 singles as the no. 8 seed, beating world no. 1 Paul French in the quarters in three sets and winning the semis and final in straight sets. Cash and Vines, who won the 55 doubles "Gold Slam" in 2012, added the 55 world doubles title to their impressive resume. Cash had extensive knee surgery a few years back and wasn't sure if he'd ever again be able to compete at this level, so was delighted with the win. They beat Mike Tammen and Waldman in the final.Cash and Vines were members of the silver medal-winning U.S. Austria Cup team the previous week, and Tammen was a member of the Fred Perry Cup team which finished seventh.
Patricia Zerdan was the 35 singles finalist, beating the no. 2 seed in three sets to reach the final. Alas, it would be a match she'd lose in a very close affair, 7-5 in the third -- a great effort in her first ever ITF World singles final.
Other U.S. players who medaled in Turkey:
  • Mary Dailey and Ken White, silver, 50 mixed. In the semis, the two were down 9-5 in the deciding match tiebreak and held off five match points to advance to the final.
  • Ross Duncan and Carolina Blouin, bronze, 35 mixed
  • White, bronze, 50 doubles
  • Dailey, bronze, 45 doubles
  • Ross Duncan, bronze, 35 doubles
Sunday, March 24: Final resuts from Turkey
The U.S. Bueno Cup team once again had to come from behind for a victory, this time against France in the final. Tracy Houk played well in a loss to Catherine Suire, a former tour player with lots of weapons. However, Ros Nideffer won comfortably in no. 1 singles and then combined with Vicki Buholz to cement the win with an emphatic 6-2, 6-0 win in doubles.
The U.S. Connolly Cup team retained the Cup when they beat Great Britain in the final for the third straight year. Susan Wright was pushed by Sue Bartlett, who lives in Tennessee but plays for Great Britain. Wright was up a set and leading 5-2 in the second when the winds came, with Bartlett finding more depth on her serves and groundstrokes. Bartlett won four straight games before Susan stemmed the tide to force a tiebreaker. Bartlett went up 6-3 and had 5 set points in all before Susan clinched the win on her fourth match point, winning the breaker 14-12. A tremendous battle between two talented players.
Diane Barker made short work of the British no. 1 Frances Candy, spotting her a game then taking 12 in a row to win the Cup.
The U.S. Austria Cup team had to finish a doubles match delayed by rain against Germany in the morning which went three sets (the U.S. had a match point in the second set tiebreak but failed to convert). They then played Great Britain, led by world no. 1 Paul French, in the final. Peter Markes got the Americans off to a good start, winning in three sets at no. 2 singles. Mark Vines, no. 2 in the world, had a set point opportunity in the first but failed to close things out and lost it 7-5. French would go on to win his match, setting up a doubles decider. Sal Castillo and Wesley Cash played the match for the U.S. and fell in straight sets. Thus, Team USA took silver.
The U.S. Dubler Cup team reached the final and faced France on Saturday. Mario Tabares played no. 2 singles in a fantastic match on the center court before hundreds of enthusiastic and engaged spectators. Tabares seemed to be the crowd favorite due to his serve and volley style. After dropping the first set 6-0 and going down a break in the second, he worked his way back into the match and took the second set. The third set was mostly on serve and very close. Mario had two match points -- which were break points leading 6-5 -- but his opponent played too well on both points. Both players hit some spectacular shots in the breaker, including a terrific down the line backhand pass which gave the France an advantage they wouldn't relinquish. France quickly made it 2-0 when Jeff Tarango of the U.S. lost at no. 1 singles, clinching a silver finish.
The U.S. Lenglen Cup team also lost to France 2-0 as well in a semifinal affair, setting up an encounter with Switzerland on Saturday for the bronze medal. Mary Dailey, a doubles specialist, successfully coached the singles players to victories. Patricia Zerdan won at no. 2 singles and Sophie Woorons-Johnston won at no. 1, both in straight sets.
In other play, Justin Touchstone (Weston) was a member of the U.S. Italia Cup team which lost its final match to Australia and finished tenth overall in the division. Trish Riddell and Mary Dailey were members of the Young Cup team which finished eighth. The U.S. finished 6th in the Court Cup, 7th in the Perry Cup and 14th in the Trabert Cup.
For all results go to itftennis.com/seniors.
Friday, March 22: Team USA Advances to Final in Connolly Cup
The U.S. Connolly Cup team advanced to the final behind the strong singles play of Susan Wright and Diane Barker. Wright won easily at no. 2, leading Barker to take the court and play a highly anticipated match against Australia's Ros Balodis, who almost single-handedly beat the USA Bueno Cup team in 2012. Diane won 6-4, 6-1 and didn’t allow her talented opponent to get to the net. The conditions were heavy and cool, with rain hitting the court almost as soon as the match finished. Tina Karwasky and Pat Purcell then attempted to play the doubles and split the first two sets of their match with Australia and just started the third when play was called.
The Austria Cup team was down a match to Germany -- Peter Markes lost in three sets at no. 2 singles -- putting the pressure on team captain Mark Vines to emerge victorious in no. 1 competition, which he did. The doubles will be completed tomorrow.
The Dubler Cup team had to rally to advance to the final. They split the singles, with no. 2 Eoin Collins losing and Jeff Tarango winning the no. 1 match. The deciding doubles was played by Mario Tabares and Tarango. They split sets and won the third, 6-2. The two played great together and were all smiles after the exhausting contest.
The U.S. Bueno Cup team completed a come from behind victory over Czech Republic when Ros Nideffer completed a rain delayed match against Barbora Koutna. The match was stopped at 6-6 by rain in the first set before play resumed. Nideffer took the tiebreak, 7-4, and the second set, 6-1. That set up a deciding doubles match with the Americans relying on Nideffer and partner Vicki Buholz. The duo ran into early struggles, down 5-1 in the first set amidst cold and breezy nighttime conditions. They rallied to win the match 7-6, 6-1, by cutting down on errors and closing off the net. They team will play France tomorrow.
The U.S. Perry Cup team is playing Great Britain. Thomas Schlack won at no. 2 singles, picking up teammate Mike Tammen who lost his first match all week at no. 1. The team is getting ready to play the decisive doubles point.
The Young Cup team is down 1-0 against Argentina in the seventh place playoff. Stephanie Stone lost at no. 2 singles in straight sets, while Debbie Higa will go on when the weather improves in the no. 1 singles contest.
The Trabert Cup teams both lost both singles to the Czech Republic. Daniel Marting lost at no. 2, while Carsten Hoffmann lost at no. 1. The team plays Turkey tomorrow in the fourteenth place playoff.
The Italia Cup lost 2-0 to Australia. Justin Touchstone had a tough three-setter in no. 2 singles and Gabriel Venter lost in straight sets at no. 1. The team finished twelfth overall.
The Court Cup lost at no. 1 singles and Shelly Works is down a set and 2-1 to Argentina. They will finish the match tomorrow.
Thursday, March 21: USA Dubler Cup Team Advances to Semis
The U.S. Dubler Cup team was the only team in medal contention which advanced today. Let’s just say this clay is *really* slow! Mario Tabares, would start the day off well in defeating his Dutch opponent 6-4, 6-2. Jeff Tarango then took the court for no. 1 singles and had a real battle, winning 6-4, 0-6, 6-2. The doubles was unplayed. The Americans play third-seeded Italy tomorrow. There is a high probability of rain tomorrow in this region, yet the courts here dry unbelievably quickly -- hopefully the weather won’t impact play too much.
The other U.S. teams playing today who were in medal contention were the Lenglen Cup team and the Perry Cup team. The Lenglen Cup women took on top seeded France. Patricia Zerdan went down quickly in no. 2 singles, forcing Sophie Woorons-Johnston to net a victory in no. 1 competition to keep the U.S. alive. Woorons-Johnston almost pulled it off, winning the first set and serving for the second set. Her opponent upped the level of her game at that point, and started hitting huge forehands, rallying to win the match and clinch the tie for France. The French team won the doubles as well over Carolina Blouin and Mary Dailey. The Lenglen Cup team has tomorrow off and will play on Saturday for the bronze.
The Perry Cuppers, meanwhile, lost to a very tough Italian team, 2-1. Bill Moss lost at no. 2 singles, and then Mike Tammen played a superb match to level the tie at 1-1. Tammen and partner Ken White then lost a close two-setter to the Italians. The team will play for a spot between fifth and eighth place starting tomorrow.
The Court Cup team played on one of the four "beach" courts against Spain. Shelly Works finally got in the workout she so enjoys and won 7-6, 6-1. Anna Zimmermann then fell at no. 1 singles and it was down to the doubles. Since Erika Smith was injured yesterday, Works played doubles on this day with Alissa Finerman in a two-hour battle, earning victory with a 7-6 score in the third set. They play for fifth Saturday against a tough Austrian team.
The Italia Cup team lost 3-0 to Sweden, with tough losses for Mark Tepes (no. 2 singles), Ross Duncan (no. 1 singles) and the team of Justin Touchstone and Gabriel Venter in doubles.
The Young Cup team lost a tough one to Switzerland 2-1. Deb Higa made her Cup singles debut and lost in straight sets. Trish Riddell, in no. 1 singles, rallied from a set down to win. Riddell and Vesna McKenna played the doubles point and got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the first set, only to lose the next nine games. They ultimately lost the 6-3, 7-5 and now play Argentina for seventh place.
Tomorrow the Bueno Cup team plays Czech Republic, the Connolly Cup team plays Australia and the Austria Cup team plays Germany. 
Wednesday, March 20
Overall it was a tough day at the office for the U.S. teams in Turkey. The Bueno, Connolly, Austria and Lenglen Cup teams advanced 3-0, but the Perry and Dubler Cup teams had to clinch their ties in the doubles. The Trabert Cup team lost 1-2 to Great Britain, and after applying the tiebreak, ended up third in their group. The Young Cup lost 0-3 to Canada, while the Court Cup fell 1-2 to South Africa.
The Italia Cup beat South Africa to finish second in its round robin group.
The Lenglen Cup team steamrolled Estonia, losing just one game in three matches. Carolina Blouin and Sophie Woorons-Johnston both won 6-0, 6-0, while Mary Dailey and Woorons-Johnston won the doubles point. Captain Patricia Zerdan said the hardest part about the tie was watching, as it made her very nervous! I hope she survives a tie where the team loses, say, two or three games. They play France tomorrow at the main site at 9:00 a.m.
The Bueno Cup team beat Sweden decisively behind singles wins by Tracy Houk and Ros Nideffer and a doubles win by Fran Chandler and Vicki Buholz. They have tomorrow off and will play the winner of the Czech Republic and Great Britain match on Friday.
The Connolly Cup advanced easily over Germany. Susan Wright won at no. 2, Diane Barker took the no. 1 point and Tina Karwasky and Pat Purcell won the doubles point. They play third-seeded Australia on Friday.
The Dubler Cup team, as mentioned, lost the first match of the day against Latvia. Kelly Ward fell 7-5, 6-4 in no. 2 singles, yet was picked up by teammates when Eoin Collins won the no. 1 singles point, 6-3, 6-0, while Mario Tabares and Jeff Tarango won the doubles point, 6-1, 6-0. They play The Netherlands tomorrow in the quarterfinals of the final round of competition.
In the Perry Cup, Thomas Schlack started the team off with a win against the Czech Republic at no. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1. Ken White, however, fell 6-4, 6-1 in the no. 1 singles point. White more than made up for it in the doubles, teaming with Mike Tammen to best the Czechs 6-2, 6-2, and advance to the final rounds. The Perry Cup now plays Italy in the quarterfinals.
The Austria Cup team beat New Zealand, but both singles went three sets before Sal Castillo at no. 2 and Mark Vines at no. 1 finally finished off their opponents. Wes Cash and Peter Markes won the doubles point. They play the winner of Germany and France on Friday.
The Young Cup team played a tough Canadian team and were swept in an upset, as the team was seeded third. Vesna McKenna fought hard at no. 2 singles but lost in three sets, whileTrish Riddell had a tough loss at no. 1 singles and the duo of Debbie Higa and Stephanie Stone fell in the doubles. They will now enter a playoff for 5th to 8th place placing, next taking on Switzerland tomorrow.
The Court Cup had some bad luck today against South Africa. Shelly Works won 6-2, 6-2 in about two hours, but then Anna Zimmermann lost in three sets at no. 1 singles. With it all on the line, Alissa Finerman and Erika Smith lost in three sets in the deciding doubles. Erika hurt her foot in the second set, yet they managed to win it 6-2. Soon after, she hurt it further -- she heard a pop -- and couldn’t move. Alissa was all over the court and Erika hung in there until the end but had to leave the court on crutches. I had to find the physio, who sent me to the doctors who then led me to the doctor’s office at Ali Bey where they had used crutches for a 10 euro fee (new ones were 25 Euros). We took them to Erika and a cart was ordered to transport Erika back to her room. Vesna, who is our resident paramedic, was called to the court and looked at Erika’s foot, which was swollen and looking black and blue on the ball of her foot. It was a really sad ending to the match, as Erika was planning on playing the individuals with Dailey next week and this was her first ever Cup team. The Court Cup plays Spain in the 5-8 playoff tomorrow.
The Trabert Cup team lost to Great Britain, dropping both singles points: Willie Quest at no. 2 and Carsten Hoffmann at no. 1; Daniel Marting and Neel Grover won the doubles point. The Trabert squad now stands in a 2-1 tie with Romania and Great Britain. After the  tiebreakers were applied, they came in third in their group and have to play for 11th through 15th place on Friday against the Czech Republic, seeded sixth.
The Italia Cup beat South Africa 3-0 to finish second in their group. Mark Tepes won in three sets at no. 2 singles; while Ross Duncan won at no. 1 singles in straight sets. Gabriel Venter and Justin Touchstone won the doubles points in three sets. They play Sweden tomorrow in the 7-12th place playoffs.
To review: On Thursday, Lenglen play for a spot in the final; Young and Court Cups play for a spot in the 5-6 playoff; Italia Cup plays in the 7-12 place playoffs; Perry and Austria play quarterfinals.
Friday will see the Connolly, Austria, Bueno Cups contest the semifinals, and the Trabert Cup will play for 11-15.
Tuesday, March 19
Italia Cup team lost -- they were overseeded, I thought, and the Romanian team simply outplayed them. However, they fought hard and were good sports all the way through. 
This red clay is the slowest I've seen and the bounces are, let us say, challenging.
The Trabert Cup team pulled a rabbit out of their hat to win.
Monday, March 18
The Trabert, Lenglen, Court and Connolly Cup teams from the United States were in action today and all won 3-0.
The Trabert Cup team played Ireland. Willie Quest started things off at no. 2 singles followed, by Carsten Hoffmann at no. 1 and Neel Grover and Daniel Marting winning at doubles.
The Lenglen Cup played Poland. They only moment of doubt was at no. 1 singles: Sophie Woorons-Johnston just got to Ali Bey on Saturday night, and was playing a former touring pro (Sophie is also a former touring pro). She won the second set 6-4, and I saw match point (they were initially told they were playing at 11:30 and I got there before noon, only to find them almost finished). Patricia Zerdan won at no. 2 singles and the team of Mary Dailey and Carolina Blouin took the doubles point.
The Court Cup played Turkey and the significant fact there is that Shelly Works won her match at no. 2 singles in under an hour! None of the Texas players believed me when I told them that. Anna Zimmermann won at no. 1 singles and Erika Smith and Alissa Finerman picked up the doubles point.
The Connolly Cup played Spain and won both singles, with Susan Wright at no. 2 and Diane Barker at no. 1 swiftly (even if Susan didn't win as quickly as Shelly Works!). Pat Purcell and Tina Karwasky won the doubles point in three sets. All ten teams are in action tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. except the Bueno Cup, which plays at 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, March 17
It's St. Patrick’s Day, as the Irish contingent reminded us by wearing big green hats, was a busy one. At 8:00 a.m., all the U.S. teams met on center court for photos. Everyone was extremely cooperative, though the men’s 35s didn’t show other than Mark Tepes since their captain missed the captains’ meeting and his flight and his luggage! However, they were all present and accounted for at the opening ceremonies, with their nice, sharp new track suits which look very similiar to the Davis Cup style.
I took group, section, team and individual photos of every player and team other than a couple of the Italia Cup and finished exactly at 9:00 a.m., which was when I told everyone we’d be done. All the players were practicing, most double sessions, for next week.
The captains’ meetings took place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. today. The United States is seeded fourth in the Italia Cup team, third in the Young Cup, third or fourth in the Lenglen Cup and either first or second in all other Cups. This is the first year the seedings were done primarily from rankings, which helped our U.S. squads, I think.
The Women’s 35s play at an alternate site within walking distance at 11:30, while the women’s 45 & 55 and Men’s 40s U.S. teams all play at 9:00 a.m. at Ali Bey; 45s on Court C13, 55s on B 10 and the Trabert Cup on Center Court.
All other U.S. teams have byes.
The opening ceremonies were today at 4:30 p.m., a wonderful tradition for the World Team Championships. There are 190 teams and 31 different countries represented here in 2013, and it could be the best in the tournament's long, proud history.
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