Photo: Srdjan StevanovicRos Balodis (AUS)
Australian Ros Balodis is aiming for her sixth Seniors World Championships singles title this week in Manavgat, Turkey, but she had to battle all the way to make it through to the last four of the women’s 55 event against American Susan Wright today at Ali Bey Club.
Balodis is seeded four and Wright five and this closeness was reflected in the score as Balodis took the first set 63, Wright took the second 62 and Balodis eventually prevailed 64 in the third.
The other three quarterfinals were much more straightforward encounters, all won by Americans: top seed Diane Barker defeated Frenchwoman Betty Michel 60 64, number two Carolyn Nichols dropped just two games to South African Elna Botha and Tina Karwasky, seeded six, went through to the semis when Frances Candy of Great Britain retired with illness in the first set.
If the women’s 55s quarterfinals were largely one-sided, the opposite could be said of the 50 age category. Two Australian players sprang upsets, 12th seed Narelle Raftery beating fourth seed Barbora Koutna of Czech Republic and Kerrie Douglas knocking out her seventh seeded countrywoman Brenda Foster in three sets. Top seed Ingrid Gutmann Resch of Austria, world champion back in 2001, played 2010 champion Fran Chandler of USA and won 76 63 after a hard-fought encounter while Italian eighth seed Simona Bozzano had another three set battle against Argentinean wild card Mariana Metola before winning 36 62 61.
Three of the four quarterfinals in the women’s 45 age category were straight-sets affairs as Lettica Venter (RSA) beat Elisabetta Morici (ITA), Christina Wolf (GER) defeated Simone Vasconcellos-Calves (BRA) and second seed Lesley O’Halloran (IRL) knocked out sixth seed Natalia Harina-Beckmann (GER). The women in the 35 and 40 categories had a day off today as they played their quarterfinals yesterday.
There were also many long battles in the men’s events, including in the 35 category where former Hungarian Davis Cup player Gergely Kisgyorgy defeated top seed and 2009 world champion Benjamin Budziak in three sets.
In the last four Kisgyorgy will play another former professional player, Slovak Republic’s Ladislav Svarc, who beat Budziak’s fellow Pole Marius Zielinski today. The bottom half of the draw saw defending champion Roberto Menendez of Spain beat Germany’s Daniel Dolbea in two close sets, 64 64, while Brazilian Andre Cury, beneficiary in the last round of the withdrawal of Israeli Noam Behr, beat Dolbea’s fellow German Daniel Schillings 62 63.
The longest match of the day happened in the men’s 40 event as third seed Clemens Weinhandl of Austria took on unseeded Italian Andrea Spizzica. Weinhandl edged the first set 64 but Spizzica hit back hard to win the second 61.
The third went right to the wire before the Italian managed to take it 75. In the next round he will play Dutchman Bart Beks, who beat eighth seed Benoit Halle of France 64 63. Halle’s fellow Frenchman Arnaud Magnin, seeded four, was able to exact some revenge as he beat another Dutchman, sixth seed Marcus Hilpert, 67 62 60. Magnin will now play Rene Busch of Estonia, who was a 61 62 winner over second seed Seb Jackson of Great Britain.
The youngest men’s age categories have seen several unseeded players make it through to the last four, but the older ones have gone much more according to seeding. In the men’s 45 event there were wins today for top seed Jeff Tarango (USA), third seed Taras Beyko (CAN) and fourth seed Enrico Casadei (ITA). James Turner of Great Britain, the 15th seed who had accounted for number two Luca Vigani in the previous round, won the first set against Dutchman Rob Simon but was ultimately forced to retire injured. The men’s 50 category saw top seed Alain Moracchini of France and fourth seed Manfred Hundstorfer of Austria win in straight sets, while Italian fifth seed Alessio Frontespezi ended the nine match winning streak of his countryman Viljo Tanganelli. In the other quarterfinal, 21st seeded Spaniard Miquel Puigdevall Lamolla knocked out eighth seed Chris Hearn of Great Britain.
Another Spaniard caused a minor upset in the 55 event, as unseeded Javier Molina Ramos beat seventh seeded Australian Gary Thoroughgood. He will next take on third seed and former world champion Pierre Godfroid of Belgium, who was involved in a battle against Austrian Klaus Liebthal, seeded nine, before coming through 76 16 64. In the top half of the draw, Daniel Waldman followed up his victory over top seed Paul French by beating 12th seeded Spaniard Miguel Mir Rodon, but Waldman’s fellow American Mike Tammen, seeded eight, fell 64 in the third to fourth seed Carlos Behar of Colombia.
Full results and darws are available here.