(from the NTC’s Short Chases)

The US 50’s Singles and Doubles Championships were held at the National Tennis Club on April 1-3, 2005.  8 players participated in the singles and 6 teams in were represented in the doubles draw.

 In the singles, the #1 seed, Greg Van Schaack, and the #2 seed, Chris Cline, went through to the final. In an exciting final, Van Schaack won in 3 sets. After a decisive first set, in which Van Schaack won 6/2, the second set was far more exciting! With Van Schaack leading 5/2, 30 love in the second, the match looked to be over. At this point, however, Cline looking far more relaxed and serving tighter, began chipping away at Van Schaack’s lead. Point by point, he clawed his way back into the match. At 5/4, Cline led 40/30 with a chase better than 2, Van Schaack double faulted to bring the score to 5/5. Cline easily won the deciding game of the second set.

 With momentum on his side, Cline won the first game of the third set and was leading 3/1. In the fifth game, Cline led 40/30 when he fired a ball that bounced off the edge of the tambour. Van Schaack lunged for the ball and framed it over the net, landing around Chase the Door. Cline went for the ball and put it in the net. Van Schaack went on to win the game to go 2/3. The next key point came at 4/3 to Cline. Leading 40–love, with a chase better than 2, Van Schaack double faulted again, to give Cline a 5/3 lead. Despite the edge, Cline put the next 3 balls into the net, allowing Van Schaack back into the match. The tying game was a tentative one, although Van Schaack had the momentum edge. With Van Schaack leading 40-love at 5-all, Cline managed to save three match points to bring the score to deuce, but Van Schaack has had enough and won the next two points and the match! This was Van Schaack’s third 50’s title in the past 4 years.

 On the doubles front, the #1 seeds and last year’s winner, Jim Wharton & Charlie Johnstone made it to the final with no problem. The #2 seeds and last year’s finalist, Chris Cline & Alex Walsh were knocked out in the semifinal by Greg Van Schaack & Tom Rowe in a close match – final score 6/5,6/5! “Fresh” from his victory in the singles and with a 57 minute rest, Van Schaack got back on the court with Rowe to face Wharton & Johnstone. As in the prior day, Wharton & Johnstone got off to a slow start, by getting down 3/1, but quickly worked their way back into the match. They took the first set 6/5, after a Van Schaack double fault and went on to take the second set easily with a score of 6/1. Wharton & Johnstone played good doubles, served tight and kept the pressure on throughout the match while their opponents were plagued with unforced errors. As mentioned earlier this was the second title for the defending champions, and Wharton’s third, who won it with Dick Brickley in 2003.

 In summary, it was a great weekend with lots of fantastic tennis. Special thanks to Rich Smith and Jacques Faulise for a great weekend of marking!