Photo: Susan MullaneIngrid Gutmann-Resch (AUT)
SAN DIEGO, USA: Several former world champions made surprising exits as the Seniors World Individual Championships continued today in San Diego. In the men’s 35 singles, 2004 world champion Sander Groen (NED) couldn’t follow up his second round win over 2010 champion Thassilo Haun, as he crashed out 63 63 to local player Jeff Thomsen. Mario Tabares (USA), world champion in the 40 age category in 2010, lost 75 61 to Carl Clark in the 45s, while Glenn Busby (AUS), also a reigning world champion, retired injured while 2-5 down in the first set to Klaus Liebthal of Germany. In the women’s events, 2008 world champion Mariana Hollman also retired after losing the first set against fellow American Judy Newman in the 50 age category, while top seed and 2001 world champion Ingris Gutmann-Resch (AUT) bowed out after a three-set battle against American Tracy Houk, herself a world champion in 1997 and 1998.
Meanwhile, other players continued their quest for a first world title. Australian Greg Evans followed up his win over top seed Daniel Dolbea in the men’s 35s by beating American John Chanfreau to reach the last eight. He was joined there by Roberto Menendez (ESP), who overcame a tough challenge from Oren Motevassel 64 76, and by 2009 world champion Benjamin Budziak of Poland.
None of the top seeds were in action in the men’s 40s, although Estonian Rene Busch upset 15th seeded Canadian Julien Heine.
In the men’s 45 event, former champions Manfred Hundstorfer (AUT) and Jeff Greenwald (USA) made it safely through to the quarters, as did Canadian seventh seed Karl Hale and ninth seeded American Martin Barba, who beat eighth seed and 2010 runner-up Bart Theelen (NED).
The top seeds in the men’s 50s also won through today, second seed Vincent Gray (GBR) and fourth seed Val Wilder (USA) having straight sets wins over Ed Charles (USA) and Berend Betz (GER) respectively.
Mark Vines continued to cut a swathe through the men’s 55 draw, dropping his first game of the event to fellow American Rudy Sanchez today in a 60 61 win. Vines should benefit from the gap in the draw left by Busby’s withdrawal. Reigning world champion Dan Waldman (USA) also made it through to the last 16, but third seed Gary Thoroughgood (AUS) fell in three sets to Finland’s Joakim Berner.
The top seeds in the women’s 55s avoided that fate, with the top four of Diane Barker (USA), Patricia Medrado (BRA), Susan Wright (USA) and Carolyn Nichols (USA) all winning easily. Former world champion Sherrie Bronson (USA), unseeded this year, defeated 12th seed Heather Grobler (RSA) 75 64 to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Barker.
Former champions Ros Balodis (AUS) and Fran Chandler (USA) remained on course for a rematch of their Maria Esther Bueno Cup final battle as both won easily today in the women’s 50s, as did third seed Roslyn Nideffer. It was a similar story in the women’s 45s as top seed Klaartje van Baarle (BEL) and second seed Lesley O’Halloran (IRL) both enjoyed straight sets wins over Shelley Works (USA) and Heidi Ruppert (GER) respectively.
The 40 age category featured some of the closest women’s matches of the day. Germany’s Sabine Gerke, who knocked out top seed Tsvetelina Nikolova in the second round, continued her run by beating sixth seed Nina Topper (GBR) in three sets to make it to the semifinals. She will meet third seed Jurate Hardy (AUS), who also needed three sets to get past American Paula Jones. The other semi will feature American Deborah Higa and Great Britain’s Isabelle Tyrrell, who beat Larisa Mitrofanova (RUS) and Piret Ilves (EST) respectively.
Former champions Ana Salas and Noelia Perez of Spain started their campaigns in the women’s 35s today with straight sets wins. Perez eased past Carolina Blouin (USA) 61 61, while defending champion Salas had to work harder to beat Croatian Petra Crimmel 62 75. American second seed Patricia Zerdan also started impressively with a 60 60 win over South African Dedri Prinsloo.