The 2013 U.S. Ladies’ Open was held in Tuxedo Park on June 14-16. Originally scheduled for November 2012, the tournament had to be postponed due to the long-lasting impact of Hurricane Sandy. The delay, however, was worth the wait as 18 women from Boston, Newport, Tuxedo, Queens Club, Hatfield, Holyport and Oxford were treated to a weekend of great weather and spectacular tennis.
In the singles draw, the early rounds went as expected until the quarterfinals. Helen Grassi of Boston played Petra Napolitano of Newport in a 2+ hour match. With a set each, the two players found themselves at 5-all, deuce game, in the third. Five deuce points later, holding the serve and the advantage, Helen played a backhand high on to the tambour. Petra re-directed the ball back to the service end. Helen got to the ball and responded with a backhand cross-court to the nick of the tambour and falling out of Petra’s reach. Game and match to Helen.
In the semifinal matches, Karen Hird, the #1 seed from Hatfield defeated Grassi; while Tara Lumley seeded 3, of Holyport, beat the #2 seed, Freddie Adam from Oxford. The final was played on Sunday between Hird and Lumley – the two had recently faced each other in the quarterfinals of the 2013 World Championship in Paris, with Hird taking the match in straight sets. Hird took the first set 6/4 combining consistent accuracy and tight railroads. Lumley fought back to win the second set, 6/4. In the third set, Lumley with a two-handed backhand and a vicious cross court volley return of serve, took an early lead and never looked back. She took the set and the match – 4/6, 6/4, 6/0.
In the doubles, Lumley paired with Anne Gwathmey of Tuxedo. They had a tough semifinal against Suzy Schwartz of Boston and Helen Grassi, just managing to squeak out a win in the third set, 6/5. On the other side of the draw, Barbara Carse of Hampton Court and Evelyn David of Tuxedo had a close match with Tuxedo’s summer lawn tennis pros – Hayley Downing and CC Sardinha. Carse and David took the match in three sets.
The final featured the experienced doubles team of Adam and Hird against Lumley and Gwathmey. In the end, experience was the key and Hird and Adam claimed the U.S. Doubles title – 6/2, 6/1.
The back draw for the singles and doubles was played off handicap. This was a change from prior opens and led to some spirited play. The singles final featured some new players with Magda Malak of Boston defeating Rose Escobar of Newport. In the doubles final, Malak teamed up with Tuxedo’s loyal women’s tennis supporter – Valerie Evans-Freke to defeat Napolitano and Tuxedo’s Gina Martin.
It was a successful weekend of tennis in Tuxedo, complete with great tennis, gracious hosts and relaxation by the pool in between matches! The field ranged from the novice to the experienced – for many it was the first tournament, while others had more than a few years of matches under their belts. Despite the range in age and ability – all came together for a spirited and lively weekend of competitive tennis.
On a final note, many will recognize the name “Lumley”. Eighteen year old Tara Lumley is the daughter of Colin and Penny Lumley. Penny won the Singles World Championship six times, along with six U.S. Open wins and multiple British, French and Australian Open titles. Suffice it to say, she is a legend in the women’s game and was inducted into the Court Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011. Penny and Tara teamed up to play in the 2013 World Championship, losing to Claire and Sarah Vigrass in the final. If Tara’s level of play is any indication of the future, she will clearly carry on the Lumley legacy! It must have been a great month for Colin and Penny – as not only did Tara take the U.S. Ladies’ title, her brother John – a week earlier – won the U.S. Pro Singles Satellite draw in Newport. Stay-tuned for more news on the Lumley’s!