US Althea Gibson Cup Team Captain Donna Fales blogs from Turkey

October 11, 2010 03:04 PM
Click here for photos from the Super Senior World Team Cup Competition in Antalya, Turkey.
Saturday, Day 6  
Althea Gibson Cup     Antalya Turkey
America won the Althea Gibson Cup World Team Championships today defeating Germany 2­-1. Dori DeVries lost her singles to Renate Castelucci 6-2, 6-4 in a hard fought match. I beat Sigrum Furhamm 6-2, 6-1 to tie the match. Dori and I led the Germans in the doubles 4-2 in the first set when Sigrum took a fall badly injuring her wrist and was forced to default. We were sorry to see the match end that way and particularly to see Sigrum in so much pain. She is the number four seed in the Individual Championships next week and will not be able to play.
We were one of six American teams to win the gold yesterday. Three other American teams took the silver medal. That was certainly the best showing that the US has had in the history of the World Team Championships!
Due to a morning rain delay, the matches did not start until 12:30 PM and the last two deciding doubles matches finished under lights at 7:30 PM. The US Kitty Godfree team lost to the British in three sets and the Men’s 60s defeated the Spanish in a third set tiebreaker! What exciting tennis which makes this event so interesting and so much fun!
A nice finish to the day was entering the dining room after the awards ceremony to scattered applause by other competitors and spectators. We were proud to represent America!
Friday, Day 5
Althea Gibson Cup Team    Antalya Turkey
Our American team was victorious today against Australia. Dori DeVries defeated   
Bobbie Edwards 6-1,6-2.   I defeated Nola Collins 6-1, 6-0. The Aussie team of Norma McGhie and Jill Taylor defeated the American duo of Carol Wood and Ria Graham in a tie break first set 7-6(6), then a very close second set 6-4. Carol and Ria were disappointed to lose, but the win will bring the Aussies back for another year. We are now in the finals to play Germany for the gold medal. 
All of the American teams are playing for medal tomorrow trying to best the Australian record last year of five gold medals out of seven finals.       
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the number of senior players who take up the game later in life and achieve a proficiency that qualifies them for selection to international teams. Three of the four players on the Althea Gibson Cup team did not play tennis until their thirties or later. That is true for 60 % of the players competing in the world team championships. Representing your country is a very special honor in sport. And to see 500 players competing, enjoying themselves and playing the sport at the highest level is awesome.        
Thursday, Day 4
Althea Gibson Cup Team     Antalya Turkey
The US Althea Gibson Cup team had the day off today while Germany defeated Australia 3-0 in our playoff .  Our team elected to visit the Archeology Museum in Antalya which we recommend  to any visitor to the area. Lunch was at a Turkish restaurant overlooking the Antalya harbor. The food was delicious and the view   of the sea and the mountains was picturesque. There was time for a tour of the Old City and a little shopping before returning to Ali Bey. A day away from the courts has made us eager to take on Australia tomorrow. 
The good news upon our return to Ali Bey is that all of the American teams who played today won. So the nine US teams participating in the World Championships will all medal. Now the competition is how many golds.  
Wednesday, Day 3  
Althea Gibson Cup Team Antalya Turkey
Today was another beautiful day in Antalya with clear skies, moderate temperatures and a balmy breeze. Our US team defeated Switzerland 3-0. Dori DeVries started the ball rolling with a 6-3, 6-0 over Erika Fantini. I defeated Ida Ehrat 6-0, 6-0. Carol Wood and Ria Graham scored a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Swiss Captain Beatrice Wettstein and Ida Ehrat.    We are in the playoffs for first, second and third place with Germany and Australia, the defending champions.
The ITF Gala dinner was held tonight outdoors under a beautiful night sky. Over 500 players from 27 different countries are in attendance. The speeches were brief but the music and dancing continued into the night. The setting was spectacular not to be outdone by the fireworks display. The players and guest will long remember this evening.
Donna Fales
Althea Gibson Cup Team Blog 2
Tuesday, Day Two: 
Ali Bey Manavgat Turkey
All of the nine US teams won today. We (the Althea Gibson Cup team) defeated Ireland 3 – 0 with all four members of the team participating. Dori DeVries led off with a 6-0, 6-0 win over the number 2 Irish player. I defeated the number one player 6-0, 6-0. Ria Graham making her US Cup debut teamed with veteran Carol Wood to defeat the Iris team 6-3,6-0. Tomorrow we play the Swiss team.
The weather continues to be in the 70s with a slight cloud cover making perfect tennis weather.   There is a full afternoon of play after the matches are finished leading to story telling around a very active bar at the tennis courts. With play beginning at 8:00 AM, no one is late for dinner or hanging out at the disco. The ITF has a captive audience with the round robin play format.  
Monday, Day one
US Althea Gibson Cup Team     Donna Fales Captain
ITF World Team Tennis Championships 
Ali Bey Manavgat   Antalya Turkey
The 56 red clay courts of Ali Bey are filled with 134 teams, both men and women, competing in the ITF International World Team Championships. The opening ceremony with the teams marching into the stadium in their uniforms behind their country flags provided an array of national colors and a pageantry not seen in regular tournaments.    
On the first day of opening play, the sun is shining and the temperature is a dry 75 degrees. The US Althea Gibson Cup Team, captained by Donna Fales with team members Dori DeVries, Carol Wood and Ria Graham is seeded number one.  The other four seeds in order are Germany, Great Britain, France and Australia. The 11 teams competing are divided into three robins with the USA, Switzerland and Ireland in the smaller robin.   The US team is scheduled to meet Ireland on Tuesday.
Ali Bey is a wonderful venue for the ITF Championships with 56 courts, three restaurants and a beautiful beach on the Mediterranean Sea. Players congregate for dinner renewing old friendships and acquiring new ones. It promises to be a week of fun and good competition.