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Tennis Blog: Florida Players at ITF Seniors in Turkey

March 19, 2013 09:55 AM
Carolyn Nichols blogs for USTA Florida from the 33rd annual ITF Seniors World Team Championships in Antalya, Turkey, held March 18-23, 2013 at the Ali Bey Resort on red clay.
SUNDAY, March 24, 2013
Mario Tabares and Mary Dailey Win Medals in Turkey
The U.S. Young Cup team
The U.S. Trabert Cup team
Floridians Mario Tabares (Miami) and Mary Dailey (Delray Beach) were members of the Dubler Cup and Suzanne Lenglen Cup teams respectively in 2013.
Tabares' team reached the final where they played France on Saturday. Tabares played #2 singles and played a fantastic match on the center court before hundreds of enthusiastic and engage spectators. He also seemed to be the crowd favorite due to his serve/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. Tabares had two match points, which were break points leading 6-5, but his opponent just played too well on both points. Both players hit some spectacular shots in the breaker, unfortunately, at 5-5, Tabares serving, one was a terrific down the line backhand pass which gave the Frenchman a match point. He converted and it was 1-0 France. France quickly made it 2-0 when Jeff Tarango, USA lost at #1 singles. The USA won the silver medal in this competition.
The USA Lenglen Cup team also lost to France 2-0, but in the semis and in the bronze medal match, played Switzerland. Dailey, a doubles specialist successfully coached the singles players to victories. Patricia Zerdan won at #2 singles and Sophie Woorons-Johnston won at #1, both in straight sets.
In other play, Justin Touchstone (Weston) was a member of the USA Italia Cup team which lost its final match to Australia and finished 10th.
Trish Riddell and Mary Dailey were members of the Young Cup team which finished 8th.
The USA also won the women's Bueno and Connolly Cups and finished second in the men's Austria Cup. The USA finished 6th in the Court Cup, 7th in the Perry Cup and 14th in the Trabert Cup.
Special from Trish Riddell
Saturday morning and things are winding down -- lots of tennis has been played, muscles stretched, wins and losses.
The sun is out which is wonderful although the temperat
ure may not be too high it is better than the cold, rainy and dreary Friday we had yesterday. Today is the final day of play and the USA will be going for gold in 3 events.
Some tough losses occurred on the dirt, in the cold and even under the lights. Last night the women's 40's were the last ones done unfortunately not in victory. Debbie Higa fought a tough three and a half hour match in the cold and under the lights, and finished second. Actually the USA were the last four courts playing with the men's 45's and women's 50's clinching their deciding doubles to play for the title this morning, and the men's 50's sadly loosing their decisive doubles.
Off the court we had a very pleasant player dinner Thursday evening. Due to the cold the original location, around the pool, was adjusted to the inside, thank goodness! But it did mean that the teams were split up among two restaurants, but a good time was had by all. And in other events, there were a couple of people crazy enough to test the chilly waters of the Mediterranean, I made it to my knees and that was it! BRRRR.
So even though some of us won't be competing on the court today, there will be a lot of red white and blue on the sidelines cheering loudly and proudly for our teammates.
Lessons learned -- clay is tricky, bring more warm clothes, comradery is awesome, playing and cheering for your country is phenomenal! GO USA!
FRIDAY, May 22, 2013
ITF-FriFlorida's Mario Tabares teams with Jeff Tarango to Clinch Spot in Final for USA Dubler Cup Team
The Dubler Cup team had to rally to advance to the final. They split the singles, losing at #2 (Eoin Collins) and winning at #1 (Jeff Tarango, or JT as his teammate Kelly Ward called him).
It started to rain hard when Tarango was up a set and tied at 3-3 in the second set. When play resumed several hours later, at dusk, Tarango reeled off three straight games to send the tie to the doubles match.
Mario Tabares (Miami) and Tarango played the doubles. They split sets under the lights. The new balls for the third set helped them and they took the third 62 and Mario even broke into a big smile a few times...once when Jeff hit a supersonic forehand and again when they won the match point. They played great together.
The Italia Cup lost 2-0 to Australia. Justin Touchstone (Weston) had a tough three setter at #2 and Gabriel Venter lost in straight sets at #1. It was Justin's first singles match for the USA and he acquitted himself well. The team finished 10th.
The USA Lenglen Cup team had the day off yesterday and plays on Saturday for bronze against Switzerland.
The USA Young Cup team, captained by Trish Riddell (Lakeland) lost to Argentina in the 7/8 place playoff late last night under the lights. Trish and Vesna McKenna (Hollywood) shared the coaching duties for Cup rookies Stephanie Stone and Debbie Higa, who are hardcourt players from California. The heavy damp conditions early in the day and very cold conditions later made playing tough, but the USA team fought hard in their loss.
THURSDAY, March 21, 2013
USA Dubler Cup Team Advances to Semis
The USA Dubler Cup team (men's 45) was the only team in medal contention which advanced today. Let's just say this clay is REALLY slow!
Trish Riddell
However, Mario Tabares (Miami), who started off the day for the Dubler Cup team played well in defeating his Dutch opponent 64 62. Jeff Tarango then took the court for #1 singles and had a real battle, winning 64 06 62 (those new balls really help the US players!). The doubles was unplayed. The USA plays #3 seeded Italy tomorrow. There is a high probability of rain tomorrow in this region, but the courts here dry unbelievably quickly, so hopefully that won't impact play too much.
The Lenglen Cup team played top seeded France. Patricia Zerdan went down quickly at #2 singles and commented that her opponent was just too good for her! Sophie Woorons-Johnston then had to win at #1 singles to keep the USA in the tie. She 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 and rallied to win the match and clinch the tie for France.
The French team won the doubles too over Carolina Blouin/Mary Dailey (Delray Beach). The Lenglen Cup team has tomorrow off and will play on Saturday for the bronze.
The Fred Perry Cup team lost to a very tough Italian team 2-1. Bill Moss lost at #2 singles; Mike Tammen played well to level the tie at 1-1. Tammen/Ken White lost a close two-setter to the Italians and now will play for 5-8 place starting tomorrow.
The Italia Cup team lost 3-0 to Sweden. Mark Tepes played #2 singles; Ross Duncan played #1 and Justin Touchstone (Weston)/Gabriel Venter played the doubles. Their comment on the doubles was that Sweden was just too good today.
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 (Lakeland), at #1 singles, rallied from a set down to win. Vesna McKenna (Hollywood)/Riddell played the doubles point and got off to a quick 3-0 lead...only to lose the next 9 games. They lost the doubles 63 75 and now play Argentina for 7th place.
Tonight was the gala dinner, which this year was split between the beach and main restaurants because it was too cold to eat poolside. There was an amazing amount of food, and desserts! (Great Baklava here, good thing there's so much walking going on.)
For all results on all cups, click here: https://carolynnichols.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/2013-seniors-cup-draws/.
WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2013
Florida Players Mario Tabares and Mary Dailey Win Doubles To Help Teams Advance to Medal Rounds
Overall it was a tough day at the office for the USA 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 2-1 to Great Britain, finishing in a three-way tie with Romania and GB at 2-1 and after applying the tiebreak, ended up third in their group. The Young Cup lost 3-0 to Canada and the Court Cup fell 2-1 to South Africa. The Italia Cup beat So. Africa to finish second in its round robin group.
The Lenglen Cup team (W35) shellacked Estonia -- they lost only one game in three matches! Carolina Blouin and Sophie Woorons-Johnston both won 60 60 and Mary Dailey (Delray Beach)/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 2 or 3 games. They now play France tomorrow at the main site at 9am...I'll be there.
The Dubler Cup team lost the first match of the day against Latvia. Kelly Ward fell 75 64 at #2 singles. Eoin Collins won the #1 singles point 63 60 and Mario Tabares (Miami)/Jeff Tarango won the doubles point 61 60. They play Netherlands tomorrow in the quarterfinals of the final round of competition where matches get tougher.
The Young Cup team played a tough Canadian team and fell 3-0 in an upset, since the USA Young Cup team was seeded third. They will now play off for 5-8 place. Vesna McKenna (Hollywood) fought hard at #2 singles but lost in three sets; Trish Riddell (Lakeland) had a tough loss at #1 singles and Debbie Higa/Stephanie Stone fell in the doubles. They play Switzerland tomorrow midday.
The Italia Cup team beat South Africa today 3-0 to finish second in their group. Mark Tepes won in three sets at #2 singles; Ross Duncan won at #1 singles in straight sets and Gabriel Venter/Justin Touchstone (Weston) won the doubles points in three sets. They play Sweden tomorrow in the 7-12 place playoffs.
So for tomorrow: 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; Dubler Perry, Austria play quarterfinals.
Friday: Connolly, Austria, Bueno Cups contest the semifinals and the Trabert Cup play for 11-15.
TUESDAY, March 19, 2013
USA Wins in Nine of Ten Cups on Tuesday; USA Italia Cup Team Falls to a Tough Romanian Team
The USA had a tough time today with Romania. The Italia Cup team (men's 35) dropped both singles to Romania. Mark Tepes fought really hard against a clay court counterpuncher at #2 singles and nearly tied the second set at 5-5, but ended up losing 61 64. Ross Duncan lost to Dinu-Mihai Pescariu, who at one time (not too long ago) was ranked in the Top 75 in the world.
Mary Dailey
I asked Ross if he was ranked that high, and he laughed and said no. They had some great points but Ross fell 61 62 against a guy who never took off his black track suit and who was wearing untied trainers! Pescariu was just that good. However, Justin Touchstone (Weston) and Gabriel Venter took the doubles point in three sets to salvage a point in the tie.
The Dubler Cup team won quickly against Ireland; Eoin Collins (a native of Ireland) won at #2, Jeff Tarango at #1 and Kelly Ward/Mario Tabares (Miami) took the doubles.
The Lenglen Cup team beat Latvia 3/0 behind Patricia Zerdan (#2), Sophie Woorons-Johnston (#1) and Mary Dailey (Delray Beach)/Carolina Blouin, who won the doubles. They played at a second site, Starlight hotel, about a 15 minute walk from Ali Bey.
Back at Ali Bey, the Young Cup took on Turkey too and won both singles 60 60 behind Floridians Vesna McKenna at #2 and Trish Riddell at #1. SoCal players Debbie Higa/Stephanie Stone, making their Cup debuts, took the doubles point 63 63.
The other USA teams won today: the Austria (55), Fred Perry (55) and Tony Trabert (40) men's teams and the Maureen Connolly (55) , Maria Bueno (50) and Margaret Court (45) women's teams.
Here's a link to all results: https://carolynnichols.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/2013-seniors-cup-draws/
Here's a link to all player blogs: http://carolynnichols.wordpress.com/
Tomorrow all teams are in action again at Ali Bey and Starlight in the last round of the RR matches. The weather should be good. Game on, Go USA!
Yes it is day four for all of us and there has been much excitement, hence the delay in sitting down to write this blog!
Let's start at the beginning which involved canceled flights, flight adjustments, flight delays and unfortunately some lost luggage...about par for the course when you consider traveling half way across the world for some, many connections and many time zones. Regardless, all arrived safely and ready for some sleep before the play began.
Saturday consisted of greeting old teammates, meeting new ones, seeing friends from other teams, other countries and once again meeting new people. The players certainly make this event the special time that it is. Lining up for practice courts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and depositing $20 for a can of four balls!! $5 dollars a ball??? Really?? Definitely chasing the one over the fence at that price!
Red clay is definitely not "comfortable" for most of us, even those of us that play on the Florida Har-tru. VERY chunky, heavy and bounces beyond belief. Oh, and don't forget the gale force winds! Fun was had by all! Vesna McKenna and I thought the adventure park may be a good alternative after the hail storm but it was closed, we did however sneak on for a quick picture! And the courts were actually playable within a very short time so afternoon practice was a go.
The other very important part of the day -- meals. These are held at the main restaurant, open buffet all you can eat -- or in some instances, all you are willing or dare to try! Some great fresh food, some different styles and something for everyone, including a 50-plate dessert bar -- YUM!
Sunday began early with pictures on center court for everyone followed by lining up again for practice courts...you get the picture. Red clay starting to make sense, starting to stain the shoes and socks and S-L-O-W-L-Y becoming bearable...and then the festivities officially began Sunday afternoon with the opening ceremonies. It was awesome to see so many countries represented and to see the great comradery between all, especially amongst the Irish since it was St. Patrick's Day and they had their "silly hats" on!
Monday and things are heating up...unfortunately not the weather, very cool in the evenings but pleasant during the day. Matches being played on site at Ali Bey and at the nearby Starlight Hotel for the Lenglen Cup (women's 35's). All USA teams were victorious on the first day as they were on Tuesday, although with a little more excitement.
The men's 40's team went on court at 9am and did not finish until 5:30!!! Three tough three-setters with some incredible tennis and absolutely more fun since Carsten Hoffman and Neel Grover won the deciding doubles match 6-4 in the third set, with many USA players on the sidelines cheering them on.
Yet another reason this event is so special -- playing and cheering for your country -- nothing like it!
MONDAY, March 18, 2013
From left, Florida players Justin Touchstone, Mary Dailey, Trish Riddell, Vesna McKenna, and Mario Tabares
The USA Trabert, Lenglen, Court and Connolly Cup teams were in action today and all won 3-0.
The Trabert Cup team played Ireland. Willie Quest started things off at #2 singles followed by Carsten Hoffmann at #1 and Neel Grover/Daniel Marting at doubles. They played on Center Court and I got some photos which I will try to upload soon (the internet keeps going in and out on my laptop but not the iPad I'm typing on...good thing I brought a keyboard for it).
The Lenglen Cup played Poland. Their only moment of doubt was at #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 2nd 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 #2 singles and Mary Dailey/Carolina Blouin took the doubles point. They played at the second venue a short bike ride away or a short walk on the beach. I biked, I'm very happy I brought my bike here.
The Court Cup played Turkey and the significant fact there is that Shelly Works won her match at #2 singles in under an hour! None of the Texas players believed me when I told them that. Anna Zimmermann won at #1 singles and Erika Smith/Alissa Finerman picked up the doubles point.
The Connolly Cup played Spain, and won both singles, with Susan Wright at #2 and Diane Barker at #1 swiftly (even if Susan didn't win as quickly as Shelly Works!). Pat Purcell/Tina Karwasky won the doubles point in three sets.
The pins arrived and I found them with the Connolly Cup after Aysegul Tek finally arrived and I distributed them to all the teams before noon. They all like them and so do I and the bag tags are being well received. They look nice. I also gave Daniel Marting his bag tags.
All 10 teams are in action tomorrow at 9 am except the Bueno Cup which plays at 11:30.
The teams have good camaraderie and so far so good.





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