2009 USTA Womens 40s and 50s Clay Court Nationals at The Club
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USTA Womens 40s and 50s Clay Court Nationals
at The Club

April 2009 By Scott Harrison

Pensacola tennis players and fans who didn't come out to The Club on Friday and Saturday to watch the Women's 40-50 Clay Court Championships missed some world class tennis to the max. On Friday, the Women's 50 semifinal match between #2 seed Susan Wright and #3 Carolyn Nichols was a classic. The match was 4 and a half hours of intense hitting, of offense and defense and of a few critical shots here and there to decide the 6-7(5), 6-3,7-5 win for Wright.

The Women's 40's semifinals provided drama on Friday as well. Both matches went three sets with top seeded Renata Marcinkowska and second seeded Vesna McKenna winning as well.

Saturday provided more scintillating tennis as well as some courage in the Women's 50 doubles. In the women's 50 singles final, Susan Wright again battled for three hours but was on the short end of a 6-1, 6-7(4), 7-5 score to top seeded Diane Fishburne who hasn't lost in years on clay. But, this time Fishburne was extended to the maximum against the clay hating Wright. It was wonderful powerful tennis.

Vesna McKenna upset three time defending champ Renata Marcinkowska 6-3,6-3 in the final. It was the first loss in several years for Marcinkowska.

Both 50's finalists then had the semifinals doubles to play and against each other to boot. Marianne Robertson and Susan Wright were the top seeds and went down to third seeded Diane Fishburne and Rita Rector 6-3 in the third. Fourth seeds Pam Cooke and Debbie Croft upset second seeded Carolyn Nichols and Chris Ramsower-Pearlstein 6-1 in the third. The drama and the courage came in the Women's 50 final where Cooke and Croft won the first set 7-6(4). Early in the second set Croft went down hard and fractured her left arm. After having it wrapped, she held it up the rest of the match as if waving to the crowd. She also had to serve underhanded to get the points started. Fishburne and Rector took the second set 7-5 while Croft figured out how to play with her injured wing. In the third set, Croft figured it all out and she and Cooke went on to win 6-2! Afterward, they headed to the emergency room to find out just how bad the arm was injured (it was fractured and didn't require setting) and both ladies got an IV for dehydration! What a match! What desire!

We all waited out the rain for two days but were finally treated to two days of awesome tennis.

Saturday and Sunday brought on the USTA National Mother/Daughter Clay Court Championships as well. Defending champs Allison and Jennifer Pfeifler had no trouble getting their second straight gold ball beating Jean Lee and Krysta Edge 6-2,6-3. This is the second straight year that the Gulf Breeze teams faced each other in the finals and the third straight year in the finals for the Pfeiflers.

Ann Geisel and Linda Thompson took the second place Silver Ball in the Senior Mother/Daughter division.

Former Pensacolian Tiffani (Toth) Thompson and her daughter, Madison, who now live in Prattville, AL also played in the event.


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