Dina McBride raises the women's singles trophy at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
© J. Fred Sidhu
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Top-seeded Dina McBride of Valencia, Calif., erased the memory of last year’s final, as she defeated second-seeded Ros Nideffer of San Diego (Rancho Bernardo), 7-5, 6-2, to win the women’s singles title at the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships.
McBride, a former collegiate tennis star at the University of San Diego, reached the women’s singles final a year ago, but had to retire early in the match as she suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
Despite playing only one set of singles during her recovery this past year, McBride entered the tournament and made an incredible run to the title this week at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
Playing under bright, sunny skies, McBride trailed Nideffer 4-5 as she served to stay in the first set. After holding serve to tie the score at 5-5, the 52-year-old Nideffer, a former touring tennis professional, opened the 11th game with a doubles fault and four points later, McBride broke serve to lead 6-5.
McBride went on to serve out the set as she fought off a break point and won a hard-fought 14-point game. She then jumped out to a 4-1 second-set lead and went on to serve out the match at 5-2 to win the title.
"I was down 4-5 (in the first set) and came back and won that set. That was a big turning point in the match. I think she (Nideffer) had a little bit of a letdown," McBride said.
"Even being up 5-2, matches can turn on a dime. I was ready to go the distance. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy," said McBride. "I was elated when that (final) ball went out. It’s unbelievable. I’m so excited and happy."
As she thanked Tournament Director Bill Kellogg and spectators following the match, an emotional McBride dedicated her victory to her father who could not attend due to illness.
In the men’s singles semifinals, defending champion and top-seed Oren Motevassel of Rancho Mirage, Calif., advanced to his third straight National 40 Hard Court men’s singles final as he eliminated third-seeded Jeff Greenwald of Anselmo, Calif., 1-6, 6-0, 6-2.
It was the third straight year Motevassel defeated Greenwald, the 2009 men’s singles champion, in the semifinals. The previous two matches also went to three sets.
Motevassel will face fourth-seeded Martin Barba of Carlsbad, Calif. in the men’s singles final, which is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2, at 10:30 a.m. PST at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Barba, the 2008 men’s singles champion, blanked Teet Ratsep of Aliso Viejo, Calif., 6-0, 6-0, in the other semifinal match.
Play continued in the Father/Son and Grandfather/Grandson USTA Hard Court Doubles Championships on Saturday. Both events will conclude on Sunday, Dec. 2.
USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Oren Motevassel (1), Rancho Mirage, Calif., def. Jeff Greenwald (3), San Anselmo, Calif., 1-6, 6-0, 6-2
Martin Barba (4), Carlsbad, Calif. def. Teet Ratsep, Aliso Viejo, Calif., 6-0, 6-0
Dina McBride (1), Valencia, Calif. def. Ros Nideffer (2), San Diego, Calif., 7-5, 6-2
Championship – 10:30 a.m. PST
Oren Motevassel (1), Rancho Mirage, Calif., vs. Martin Barba (4), Carlsbad, Calif.