Young Seniors World Team & Individual Championships (35, 40, 45)

October 12-25, 2019. Miami Beach, Florida

USTA Young Seniors website

Young Seniors World Team Championships

By Lizl Kotz

 

Saturday, October 12

7-day countdown starts...

One week to go until these young (relatively) American ladies head to South Beach Miami to compete against the top players in the world. Text messages rocket back and forth between teammates discussing possible line-up options, uniform combinations, injury prevention, team gifts and not to be forgotten, the team Halloween costume for the ITF Halloween player bash.

 

Saturday October 19

Ballers are ready to play...

The last of the USA players arrive in Miami. The 90-degree, humid air takes time to inhale and players start drinking water with a sense of urgency. The opening ceremonies up the level of awe with skydivers delivering the coins to be used in the match coin toss.

 

October 20 - 25

And the play begins…

The 35s is a tough age group as many players have experience on the WTA tour and are young enough to still draw from it.

... Kaysie Smashey (TX), Julie Thu (TX), Evgenia Docktor (GA) and Heather Nobler (FL) are all southern gals who have had to make friends with the heat and the humidity over the years. This certainly gives them an edge over their first opponent, Ireland.

... Easy win over Ireland.

... Solid win over clay court experts Paraguay 2-1.

... Hard-fought loss to France 0-3. The French brought both their weapons and their consistency.

... The USA bounced back to beat Switzerland 3-0 to take 5th place in the Cup championships. This Suzanne Lenglen Cup team’s talent and experience runs deep and they will be back.

 

The 40s team came together representing America’s west and east equally.

... Millie Yablonicky (CA), Amanda Parson Siegel (NV), Yulia Bolotova (PA) and Lizl Kotz (SC).

... The USA had two easy wins over Mexico and South Africa, both 3-0. I am originally from South Africa and enjoyed speaking and scoring in Afrikaans, my native tongue. Two days of R & R follow (both a gift and a curse) due to byes.

...France came out hot and played aggressive tennis to beat the USA 2-1. The USA battled Spain the next day, losing two marathon 3-set singles matches with an overall score of 2-1.

... Amanda and I made mental notes to remember that a point against a Spanish player really only starts after 20 balls cross the net.

... Spain takes 3rd and USA’s Young Cup team takes 4th.

 

The 45s team is put together from all corners of the USA to include: Tracie Currie (CA), Nancy Hilliard (TX), Jenny Klitch (FL) and Sophie Woorons (SC). A couple of stellar tennis instructors, an accountant and a lawyer --these gals will do battle, watch out! The USA quickly took care of business against Paraguay 3-0 even though Paraguay flipped their line-up, which is illegal.

... The next day the USA woke up ready to take on Brazil. Turns out Brazil didn’t get on the plane due to an injury and didn’t let anyone at the ITF know. The ITF being used to solving problems redid the draw to avoid the USA having three days of no playing. The USA faced the friendly Canadian team but decided to win 3-0 despite their nice disposition.

... Moving on to France, Sophie’s home country. Naturally Sophie has a long history of competition and friendship with the players on the French team. France took the win 2-1 after incredible tennis with huge cheering sections for both teams. The deciding doubles match was heated anyway but became even more so after a line-call dispute. The dispute starts in English and ends in French. France gets the win, barely.

Adds Jenny Klitch: our Bronze medal was the highest finish of any Young Seniors USA team. And in the semifinals, TeamUSA lost in a heartbreaker to eventual champion France 2-1. I lost at No. 2 singles 7-5 in the third set, followed by Sophie Woorons' commanding win at No. 1 singles. Woorons and Tracie Currie fought hard but lost the doubles point 6-4 in the third set. The team rebounded the next day in the fight for the Bronze medal, losing only 6 games across the three matches against Germany, with Woorons and Nancy (Hilliard) Webster soundly defeating their singles opponents, and Currie/Klitch winning the doubles point.

 

It truly was a week filled with great competition and great sportsmanship and an opportunity to celebrate old and new friendships between athletes from all over the world. Thanks to the ITF and the USTA for such a meaningful opportunity.

 

 

Young Seniors Individual World Championships

By Carolyn Nichols, writing from California, USA

 

The Young Seniors Individual World Championships finished November 2nd in Miami Beach, Florida. Anda Perianu, silver and Kaysie Smashey, bronze were on the medals podium for the USA in women’s 35 singles. They teamed together in 35 doubles to reach the semis and earn bronze medals. Perianu was seeded 4th. Perianu was a member of the Suzanne Lenglen Cup team in 2018, which finished second. Smashey was a member of the W35 USA team in 2019.

 

Jenny Klitch and Andrea Rice, both of whom are in the 50s, reached the 45 doubles final. They won the 50 clay courts in 2019. Klitch was a member of the W45 team which won bronze in Miami Beach while Rice

was a member of the gold medal winning W50 team this year in Lisbon, Portugal.

Anda Perianu and Kaysie Smashey