By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
SAN DIEGO -- There are times when the score of a tennis match is not a true indicator of the high quality of an encounter between two players.
That was certainly the case on the opening day of the 2012 International Tennis Federation (ITF) Seniors World Championships as the defending champion United States Margaret Court Cup (Women’s 45) team defeated a stubborn team from the Netherlands, 3-0.
On a cool, partly cloudy day at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Mariana Hollman of Winston-Salem, N.C. gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead as she defeated Mirjam Van Den Tillaar of the Netherlands, 6-1, 6-3, in a match that featured numerous long baseline rallies.
In the second singles match of the day, which took over two hours, Shelly Works of San Antonio, Texas, used her steady baseline game to overcome Annemiek Wissink of the Netherlands, 6-2, 6-1.
Hollman then teamed with Judy Newman of Scotts Valley, Calif., to defeat Sandra Hagman and Van Den Tillaar, 6-4, 6-2 in an entertaining doubles match.
"We came out knowing that the competition was going to be strong. The Netherlands team has historically had a very strong field of players," said U.S. team captain Jarilyn Joseph of Pacific Palisades, Calif. "Today, we wanted to come out strong in the first match and we did that. We were fortunate to pull out our two singles."
Despite winning the match without the loss of a set, it was anything but easy for the Americans according to Joseph, who spoke about the challenges of competing in an international event like the ITF Senior World Team Championships.
"You hope your players will be able to adjust to the different games styles, especially dealing with the international level of tennis," Joseph said. "Everyone comes with different styles and different strengths. Each country will have a different style of play and strength."
When asked what her team has to do to defend its Margaret Court Cup title this week, Joseph responded, "We’re a young team, but we’re a real hungry team to defend the title for the U.S. We have players that can really stay out there all day. We have a lot of heart and I’m hoping that will pull us through."
Even though the top-seeded U.S. team had clinched the victory over the Netherlands by winning the first two singles matches, Joseph said it was important for them to win the doubles match because in the round-robin phase of the tournament, every point counts in case of a tie.
The U.S. Margaret Court team, which is playing in Group A, will face Poland at 9:15 a.m. (PT) on Tuesday.
The 32nd annual international team event, which is the senior equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions, features 10 age divisions. The age divisions and the trophies they are playing for are as follows:
Men’s 35 – Italia Cup Women’s 35 – Suzanne Lenglen Cup
Men’s 40 – Tony Trabert Cup Women’s 40 – Young Cup
Men’s 45 – Dubler Cup Women’s 45 – Margaret Court Cup
Men’s 50 – Fred Perry Cup Women’s 50 – Maria Esther Bueno Cup
Men’s 55 – Austria Cup Women’s 55 – Maureen Connolly Cup
The cup competitions are being played at the following locations:
- Austria Cup and Maureen Connolly Cup – Balboa Tennis Club, 2221 Morley Field Drive, San Diego
- Tony Trabert Cup and Young Cup – Barnes Tennis Center, 4490 West Point Loma Boulevard, San Diego
- Italia Cup and Suzanne Lenglen Cup – La Costa Resort and Spa, 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad
- Dubler Cup – Morgan Run Club & Resort, 5690 Cancha de Golf, Rancho Santa Fe
- Maria Esther Bueno Cup – San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, 4848 Tecolote Road, San Diego
- Margaret Court Cup and Fred Perry Cup – La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla & La Jolla Tennis Club, 7632 Draper Avenue, La Jolla
The United States team is the defending champion in the Young Cup, Margaret Court Cup, Maria Esther Bueno Cup, Austria Cup and the Suzanne Lenglen Cup.
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. There is no charge to park at other tournament venues.