La Jolla, Calif. – (May 14, 2014) – Defending 50 and over champion Tracy Houk of Montara, Calif., arrived at this week’s USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club determined to defend her singles title.
On Wednesday morning, with temperatures nearing triple digits, the second-seeded Houk fought off a strong challenge against a tough opponent and a heat-related illness to capture a 7-5, 6-2, quarterfinal victory over fifth-seeded Eleanor Hammargren of San Clemente, Calif. in two hours and five minutes.
In the fourth game of the first set, Houk started to feel nauseous as she began suffering from a heat-related illness. Houk was treated by the tournament trainer during the breaks at 4-1 and 4-3.
Despite feeling like she “hit a wall,” Houk chose not to retire from the match and continued playing as she drank liquids and iced her body on changeovers in an attempt to lower her body temperature.
As the illness affected her movement on the court, Houk lost the next four games to fall behind 4-5, but she battled back to win the next three games, including a service break at love, to capture the first set in one-hour and 15 minutes.
While continuing to fight the effects of her illness, Houk began the second set on a strong note and took control, building leads of 3-0 and 5-1 and eventually closed out the match with a service game at love.
“It hit me really, really bad. I went down 5-4 (in the first set) and I pretty much thought I was out of the tournament. At that point, I somehow dug in deep,” Houk said. “I think my physical strength is what got me through it.”
Houk admitted that at one point in the first set she considered retiring from the match, but she credited her tenacity and strong will for helping her win the match and keeping her hopes for another 50 and over title alive. “I just really wanted to stay in this tournament,” she added.
The defending champion is set to face fourth-seeded Judy Newman of Scotts Valley, Calif., in Thursday’s semifinals, which are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Newman eliminated fifth-seeded Jill Sickle of Chicago, 6-0, 6-0, in a quarterfinal encounter on Wednesday morning.
Former touring tennis professional Ros Nideffer of San Diego (Rancho Bernardo) also moved into the 50 and over semifinals as she scored a 6-1, 6-2, victory over unseeded Colleen Clery Ferrell of San Diego in a quarterfinal match on Court No. 8.
Nideffer, the top seed who is attempting to regain the title she won in 2012, will face third-seeded Frances Chandler of Jackson, Tenn., with the winner advancing to Friday’s championship. Chandler, the 2011 tournament champion, eased past fifth-seeded Erika Smith of Oakland, Calif., 6-3, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.
In the women’s 60 and over division, two-time defending singles champion Tina Karwasky of Glendale, Calif., advanced to the semifinals as she blanked fifth-seeded Carol Gay of San Diego, 6-0, 6-0.
For complete draws, schedule and results for each age division: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=138251