By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, Calif. – For Frances Chandler of Jackson, Tenn. the number 13 is certainly not unlucky, even on Friday the 13th.
On a cool, overcast morning on Court No. 1 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the top-seeded Chandler used patience, consistency and a strong baseline game to defeat unseeded Tracy Houk of Half Moon Bay, Calif., 6-2, 6-3, to win the singles title in the 50 and over division at the National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships.
The victory represented the 13th career national title for Chandler, who was awarded a USTA gold ball for winning the championship.
The match, which featured many long rallies, began as a duel from the baseline in the first set as both competitors traded forehands and backhands back and forth. Houk, who ousted second-seeded Susan Wright in the quarterfinals earlier in the week, hit long, looping high balls as she attempted to keep Chandler pinned behind the baseline.
Chandler remained patient and slowly began winning the long rallies. She overcame an early service break and took charge for a 5-2 lead. Houk served to stay in the first set, but quickly fell behind 0-40 and despite saving one set point, would lose her serve and the first set.
In the second set, Chandler started to shorten the points by approaching the net to hit volleys or attempting drop shots to draw Houk to the net and set up a passing shot or lob.
"Tracy can hit a million balls. I was able to come in (to the net) some and be a little aggressive and that kind of helped me a little bit," Chandler said. "I really didn’t want to hit 50 ball rallies every point. I knew I needed to shorten the points up. If I didn’t drop shot, I need to come in."
Chandler scored an early service break to take a 4-2 lead, but Houk broke back in the next game when Chandler netted a forehand on break point. With Houk serving at 3-4, Chandler broke serve again as she won a long deuce game when Houk’s forehand sailed long on break point.
Serving for the championship, Chandler fought off one break point and eventually got the game score to deuce when she hit a perfectly-executed backhand drop shot winner to give her championship point. On the next point, Houk’s forehand landed wide to end the match.
Events offered at this week’s USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championship 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 this week-long 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.
<div>Named "Club of the Year" for 2011 by the San Diego District Tennis Association, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club is designated one of the "Top 25 Tennis Resorts" by Tennis Resorts Online. In addition to hosting the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club also hosts the USTA National Men’s & Women’s 40 & Over Hard Courts, and the USTA National Father & Son Hard Court Championships, scheduled for November 28 – December 4, 2011.
The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club has also been home to the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships since 1942. The Annual Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship is one of the five-oldest tennis events in the world and has a rich tournament history. First held in 1890 at The Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, California, the event was created to promote the sale of real estate on the Monterey peninsula. The original concept pitted the best players from the East versus those from the West. This coast to coast rivalry was the inspiration for the Davis Cup. Past winners of the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship include Jack Kramer, Ted Schroeder, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Segura, Don Budge, Tony Trabert, Stan Smith, Bob Lutz, Arthur Ashe, Dennis Ralston, John McEnroe, and many other world-class champions. This last March, Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford teamed to capture the 2011 Championship.
The Club also hosted the 2008 Fed Cup, and was also the proud host of the 2006 Davis Cup First Round Tie between the United States and Romania.
About the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. – One of California's most treasured beachfront resorts for more than 75 years, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company dedicated to the operation of a 14-acre beachside resort. The resort includes three properties, including the exclusive La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the 128-room La Jolla Shores Hotel and landmark Marine Room restaurant. Resort amenities include 14 championship tennis courts, a nine-hole Par-3 golf course, two swimming pools, two additional oceanfront restaurants and cocktail lounges, and one of Southern California’s only private beaches. For more information visit www.ljbtc.com.
USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championship
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Friday, May 13 – RESULTS
Women’s 50 Singles
Frances Chandler (1), Jackson , Tenn. def. Tracy Houk, Half Moon Bay , 6-2, 6-3
Women’s 60 Singles
Martha Downing (1) Shingle Springs, def. Carol Clay (2), Fort Lauderdale , Fla. , 6-2, 6-2
Women’s 70 Singles
Charleen Hillebrand (1), San Pedro, def. Dori Devries (5), Reno , Nev. , 6-2, 6-0
Sheila Weinstock (4), Framingham , Mass. def. Suella Steel (2), La Jolla , 4-6, 4-1, Ret. (inj)
Women’s 80 Singles
Doris Lutz (1), Sarasota , Fla. , def. Nancy Stout (2), Sarasota , Fla. , 6-0, 6-0
39th Annual Spring Senior Men’s Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Men's 60 Singles
William Kellogg (1), La Jolla , def. Michael Averbach, La Quinta, 6-0, 6-2
Men's 65 Singles
Danny Dabby (1), Del Mar, def. Jim Cunningham, Temecula, 6-2, 4-6, 6-0
Stephen Kaplan, San Diego , def. Paul Randall (2) Malibu , 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Men's 75 Singles
James Perley (1), Coronado , def. William Duke, San Francisco , 6-0, 6-2
Seymour Moskowitz, (4) Indian Wells, def. Jerry Robinson, San Juan Capistrano , 6-3, 6-2
James Curry (3), Waco , Texas , def. David Frandsen, La Canada , W/O (emerg.)
Saul Snyder (2), San Diego , def. Robert Yin, La Jolla , 6-2, 6-3
Men's 80 Singles
Emilio Martinez-De Pison (1), San Diego , def. Raymond Smith, Chicago , Ill. , 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Ron Boone, Washington , Utah , def. Arnold Pompan (2), Encino, 6-1, 6-4