By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, Calif. – The situation did not look good for Val Wilder of Fort Worth, Texas, the fourth seed in the Men’s 50 division of the International Tennis Federation Seniors World Individual Championships.
Wilder, a former touring tennis professional, was down a set and a break against unseeded Ross Hessler of Mission Viejo, Calif. in a fourth-round singles match on Court No. 5 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
At 2-3 in the second set, Wilder regrouped and knew what he had to do to win the match. He then turned the tide of the match and went on to win 10 of the last 11 games to defeat Hessler, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 and advance to the quarterfinals.
"He plays like a Brad Gilbert game and today he was doing it really well. He just wasn’t missing," Wilder said after the match. "He would just push the return back in play and I felt like I was getting moon-balled. Then when I would come in, he would rip a passing shot."
When he was down a break in the second set, Wilder, who has won approximately 70 United States Tennis Association National titles, decided if he was going to go down in the match, he would go down fighting. At that point, he began to play more aggressive.
"I started executing more. Midway through the second set, I just stopped missing balls. I was giving him a lot of free points trying to force balls," Wilder said. "I was just more patient, so being a little more aggressive and a little more patient made a big difference."
It was a big day for the United States in the Men’s 50 division as four other Americans joined Wilder in Friday’s singles quarterfinals.
Sixteenth-seeded John Saviano of Los Altos Hills, Calif. pulled off the upset of the day as he ousted top-seeded Karl Pansy of Austria, 6-3, 7-5.
Third-seeded Mike Fedderly of Palm Desert, Calif. and unseeded Peter Markes of Austin, Texas, won their fourth-round matches in straight sets, while 22nd seed Mike Tammen of Portland, Ore. got past Jacques Hervet of France, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
Tournament officials also announced that all finals for each age division (35s, 40s, 45s, 50s and 55s) will be played on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club beginning at 8:30 a.m. (PT).
Tournament admission to watch the matches is free and open to the public. On-site parking is available at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club for a nominal fee. There is no charge to park at other tournament venues.
For the most current draws and results for the 2012 ITF Seniors World Individual Championships, go to: www.itftennis.com/seniors
- Men’s 50s, 55s; Women’s 45s and Mixed Doubles 45s – La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club & La Jolla Tennis Club, La Jolla, Calif.
- Men’s 35s, 40s; Women’s 35s and Mixed Doubles 35s – La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, Calif.
- Men’s 45s, Women’s 40s and Mixed Doubles 40s – Morgan Run Club & Resort, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
- Women’s 50s, 55s and Mixed Doubles 50s, 55s – San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club, San Diego, Calif.