The National Tennis Club played host to the 2012 U.S. Ladies’ Open over the weekend of November 4. Seventeen players from Newport, Aiken, Washington, Boston and the UK descended upon Newport for the singles and doubles events. By all accounts, it was a phenomenal success!
Current Ladies’ World Champion, Claire Vigrass, successfully defended her singles title by beating Karen Hird in the final 6/3, 6/3. Hird came out strong, winning the first two games, before Vigrass found her rhythm. Serving railroads and piques, Hird was able to play some effective floor returns. Vigrass, up 4/3 in the first set, changed her serve to the drag, which Hird found difficult to return on the floor. Hird had problems from the serving end with her railroad serve, forcing her to hit a panicky bobble serve, which Vigrass attacked.
Known for her retrieving, Hird was slightly hobbled by a knee issue, reducing her mobility. She retrieved well, but in the long rallies, Vigrass found the final shot. Vigrass, capitalizing on her shot-making ability and sheer strength, went on to score a decisive win over Hird.
In the doubles, Vigrass partnered with Amanda Avedissian of Newport, while Hird teamed up with the American, but UK-based, Freddy Adam. Vigrass was dominating from the serving end, making it difficult for Hird and Adam to make any chases to get to the serving end. Most of the chases they did get were hazards. When they got to the serving they dominated with Adam hitting a tight railroad to Avedissian, but those chances were rare.
On the hazard end, Adam tried to force too much with too many balls going on to the roof. Vigrass responded by putting the balls away in the corners. Alternatively, Vigrass would play the ball to the tambour, forcing Hird and Adam to play a low drive to Avedissian at the net. While less experienced than the other three players, Avedissian has a strong volley, which she never missed over the course of the match! Pairing her strong volley, with Claire’s experience and shot-making ability proved to be too dominant for Hird and Adam, Vigrass and Avedissian powered through the match, winning 6/3, 6/1.
In the plate, Dana Goodyear-Kopald of Aiken defeated Amy MacMillan on Newport in a well-played match. The final score was 10/3. A junior player, Goodyear-Kopald’s performance underscored the importance and value of the junior programs supported by the USCTA and United States Court Tennis Preservation Foundation (USCTPF).
Besides the tournament matches, all players were invited to take part in two clinics run by Claire Vigrass. The clinics gave players the rare opportunity to get on court with not only the World Champion, but also a female professional. Sponsored by the USCTPF, the women got some valuable playing tips and techniques from Vigrass.
On behalf of all the women players, we would like to thank the National Tennis Club for hosting the tournament and in particular their professionals, Rich Smith and Jake Worseldine for running a flawless weekend (and entertaining all of us off the court!) Thank you also to Amy MacMillan for organizing the Friday evening cocktail party, the Lippincott’s for hosting the Saturday evening dinner and the Stevens, Winthrop’s, Lippincott’s, Macmillan’s and Josh Bainton for hosting the players over the weekend. Special thanks to Ryan Carey and Freddy Adam for providing video coverage throughout the weekend. Archived videos can be seen at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/us-open-2011-newport
Finally, thank you to the co-chairs – Sheila Reilly and Jane Lippincott – for hosting yet another ladies’ event. Working together, the two have organized more Ladies’ tournaments over the past 25 + years, than either cares to remember!