U.S. defends Maureen Connolly Cup in San Diego

February 11, 2012 08:54 AM
Diane Barker of Daniel Island, S.C. clinched the winning point for the U.S. in the finals of the Maureen Connolly Cup.
Susan Wright of Grand Junction, Colo. strokes a forehand during the finals of the Maureen Connolly Cup at the 2012 ITF Seniors World Team Championships.
ITF Seniors World Championships Home 
by J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – It was quite a week at the historic Balboa Tennis Club for the defending champion United States Maureen Connolly Cup (Women’s 55s) team, which was playing in the 2012 International Tennis Federation Seniors World Team Championships.

Earlier in the week the top-seeded U.S. team, led by singles players Diane Barker of Daniel Island, S.C., and Susan Wright of Grand Junction, Colo., rolled over Sweden and Canada in group play without the loss of a set.

On Thursday, they blanked South Africa 3-0 in the semifinals, again without the loss of a set, to advance to Friday’s final against second-seeded Great Britain, who had shutout France 3-0 in their semifinal match.

On a nearly picture-perfect day, the Americans proved to be too tough as they  swept the two singles matches to edge Great Britain 2-1 and successfully defend their Maureen Connolly Cup title.

In the opening match of the day, Wright defeated Great Britain’s Sally Freeman, 6-1, 6-0, and Barker followed with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Frances Candy to clinch the title for the U.S.

Great Britain won the doubles point as Pat Wire and Anne Clark defeated Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. and Leslie Airola Murveit of Portola Valley, Calif., 6-0, 3-6, 6-2.

"It was good, a little nerve-wracking. It’s always easy when Susan (Wright) gets her match first. It takes some pressure off me, so kudos to Susan for that," Barker said after her title-clinching victory.

According to Barker, who only lost four games in her four singles matches, the key to her team’s success in San Diego this week was winning the singles and establishing an early lead in each match.

"You always want to win the singles. A lot of times it comes down to the doubles and then you’re not sure who to put in and who should play, so you’ve got to get the singles," she said.

In other action at the 2012 ITF Seniors World Championships, the U.S. Fred Perry Cup (Men’s 50s) advanced to the final by defeating Italy 3-0  in the semifinals at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

Val Wilder of Tyler, Texas overcame a slow start in the opening singles match and defeated Italy’s Paolo Frasson, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Mike Fedderly of Palm Desert, Calif. eased past Giovanni Lelli Mami of Italy, 6-2, 6-2. Mike Tammen of Portland, Ore. and Peter Markes of Austin, Texas wrapped up the victory with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Italians Lelli Mami and Marco Armellini.

The defending champion U.S. Fred Perry Cup team will face France in the final on Saturday at 9:15 a.m. at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

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
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, San Diego, Calif.
Tony Trabert Cup and Young Cup – Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, Calif.
Italia Cup and Suzanne Lenglen Cup – La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, Calif.
Dubler Cup – Morgan Run Club & Resort, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Maria Esther Bueno Cup –  San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, San Diego, Calif.
Margaret Court Cup and Fred Perry Cup – La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, La Jolla, Calif.

For up to date scores and results from the 2012 ITF Seniors World Team Championships, go to: