By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, CALIF. – In the final round-robin match of the women’s 90 and over division, Mary Mentzer of North Fort Myers, Fla. defeated tennis legend Dorothy "Dodo" Cheney of La Jolla, 6-1, 6-4 to win the title at the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
Cheney, who had captured the women’s 90 and over doubles title with Mentzer earlier in the week, was attempting to win her career 391st national title, but fell short against her doubles partner in a match that was delayed by light rain for one hour.
Playing under cool and cloudy conditions on Court No. 8, the players exchanged service breaks to start off the match, but Mentzer won the next five games in the row as she broke Cheney’s serve three more times to wrap up the first set.
Mentzer continued to hit pinpoint service returns as she raced out to a commanding 5-1 second-set lead and seemed on her way to an easy victory. However, Cheney would not go down without a fight as she broke back and then held serve to make the score 5-3. She then broke Mentzer’s serve for the third time in the match to close to 5-4.
Serving to stay in the match, Cheney fell behind 15-40, but fought off four championship points against her as the small group of spectators cheered her on. However on the fifth championship point, Mentzer stroked a forehand crosscourt service return winner to end the match and win the title.
The 91-year-old Mentzer said Cheney picked up her serve late in the second set. "She started serving pretty good. You didn’t know whether the ball was going to the left or right. It kind of threw me a bit," said Mentzer, who was presented with a gold ball after her victory for winning the national title.
"It’s just wonderful to win. I always hate to beat my (doubles) partner. I’ve known Dodo for a long, long time (over 30 years). We’re great friends," said Mentzer, who plays tennis four times a week in Florida. "My running is the key. At this age, most people can’t run, but I do, so that is the key."
In other action, top-seeded Charleen Hillebrand of San Pedro, Calif. defeated fourth-seeded Sheila Weinstock of Framingham, Mass., 6-1, 6-2, to win the singles title in the women’s 70 and over division. Hillebrand, who was also awarded a gold ball for winning a national title, had an impressive week as she won five straight matches without the loss of a set on her way to the championship.
Events offered at this week’s USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships include both singles and doubles in the 50 and over, 60 and over, 70 and over, 80 and over, and 90 and over age groups.
The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s 39th Annual Spring Senior Championships for men is also taking place in conjunction with the women’s event. The men’s events will include singles and doubles for 60 and over, 65 and over, 70 and over, 75 and over, 80 and over, and 85 and over age groups.
Admission to the tournament is free and open to the public with a snack bar and dining facility on-site. On-site parking is available for a nominal fee. Daily matches start at 8 a.m.
USTA National Senior Men's/Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championship
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Saturday, May 14 - Results
Men's 65 Singles Championship
Danny Dabby (1), Del Mar, def. Stephen Kaplan, San Diego, 6-1, 6-4
Men's 75 Singles Semifinals
James Curry (3) Waco, Texas, def. Saul Snyder (2), San Diego, 6-2, 6-3
Men's 80 Singles Championship
Ron Boone Washington, Utah, def. Emilio Martinez-De Pison (1), San Diego, 6-2, 6-0
Men's 60 Doubles Championship
Richard Evans, San Diego, and John Wright, La Jolla (1) def. William Kellogg, La Jolla, and Steve Warfield, La Jolla, 6-3, 6-4
Men's 65 Doubles Championship
Dean Corley, Aliso Viejo, and Gary Doi, Laguna Hills (1), def. George Balch, Palm Desert, and Dennis Bowers, Hemet (2), 6-2, 6-2
Men's 75 Doubles Semifinal Round
James Curry, Waco, Texas, and Richard Haskell, Laguna Woods, def. Robert Duesler, Newport Beach, and Leonard Lindborg, Laguna Beach, (1), Def. (ns)
Men's 80 Doubles Round Robin
Addison Appleby, La Jolla, and John Scull, La Jolla, def. Robert Ackerly, La Mesa, and Arnold Pompan, Encino, 6-1, 6-1
Women’s 70 Singles Championship
Charleen Hillebrand (1), San Pedro, def. Sheila Weinstock (4), Framingham, Mass., 6-1, 6-2
Women’s 90 Singles Round Robin
Mary Mentzer, North Fort Myers, Fla., def. Dodo Cheney, La Jolla, 6-1, 6-4
Women's 70 Doubles Championship
Sally Huss, La Jolla, and Sheila Palmer, La Jolla, def. Charleen Hillebrand, San Pedro, and Suella Steel, La Jolla, (1) W/O (inj)