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Brenda Carter: Updates from Croatia

Brenda Carter, a resident of South Carolina and member of the USTA South Carolina Hall of Fame, will be representing the USA, the USTA, the Southern Section and South Carolina in the ITF World Team Championships in Umag, CroatiaBrenda will be sending updates from Croatia throughout the tournament.

Saturday, September 14
I just re-read the message I sent last night and I forgot to mention how windy and blustery the weather was on Thursday and Friday.  The conditions were extremely tough for everyone!
Luckily, today, the weather was absolutely glorious.  So, to continue where I left off -- Betty and I finished the semifinal doubles match this morning.  We got a good warm-up, won the first game at love to go up 6-5.  Both of us were excited, yet quite nervous.  We went up 40-15 in the next game, giving us two match points.  GB strung together some good points to come back and win that game, so we go to a tie-breaker to determine who goes to the finals!  We played a good TB, which we won 7-3.  We all were very excited. We were going to get to play in the finals and were guaranteed to better our #3 team seeding!
A few minutes later, we hit the court against France, who were without question the #1 seed.  Their number one player is ranked #1 (Gail holds many World titles) in the ITF world rankings and their #2 player is ranked #3.  Carol has a very tough match against their #2 player, losing 6-4 in the third.  Carol was a terrific warrior as she pulled her quad muscle early in the second set after having lost the first set in a TB.  She was on the court for over 3 1/2 hours -- what a battle.  I follow Carol, playing Gail and lost 6-0;6-4.  I was glad I could at least make her play hard in the second set!!  Betty and Leslie picked up a great win for us by taking the doubles point in two sets!.  
After our match was concluded, the Closing Ceremony was held and the top three finishers in each category received medals.  Kitty Godfree Team USA proudly went forward to receive our silver medals.  France got the Gold and Germany defeated Great Britain for the bronze.  There were seven Cups played in Umag and USA won 5 and came in second in two.  At this writing, I know one other Cup was won by USA in Novigrad and one will be determined on Sunday.
It has been a wonderful week for us all.  Our team was awesome in every way, and each of us is thankful for the growth of our friendships.  In fact, the entire event is a great example of people from all over the world getting along and enjoying each other's company.  Our team thanks Pam Percy, who traveled over with Betty.  She's been a great supporter the entire week.
As this "Umag saga" comes to an end, we thank each of you.  Your comments have been appreciated by us all.  We are so thankful for your interest and support.  We also thank USTA, as they make it possible for the USA to send teams to this prestigious event. 

Friday, September 13
It's been a crazy couple of days.  We had rain Thursday -- our first match against the Netherlands started at 2:30 with Carol playing the #2 position.  She pulled out a long 3 setter, then I started around 5:15.  I lost to their #1 player 6-4, 6-3.  It was basically dark when we finished, so that gets us to today.
We played the deciding doubles match this morning and Betty and I won 6-3;6-3, so that put us in the semifinals to play Great Britain.  Our first match in that tie started at noon with Betty playing the #2 singles.  She lost in a tough two-setter.  I went on about 2 PM playing their #1.  Luckily I was able to win, but it took a long time -- it was two sets (7-6;7-5).  So again, it came down to the doubles.  That match started at 5 PM, with Betty and me playing their doubles team.  We won the first set 6-0, then proceeded to lose the second 6-4.  We were up 5-2 and at 5-4, we had two match points which we could not capitalize on.  We are suspended because of darkness tied at 5-5 in the third, to be completed at 9:30 in the morning.  The winner of this set goes to the finals, which will be played immediately following completion!  Keep your fingers crossed for us.
Will post again after tomorrow's play. 
Hope all is well with you -- until later......

Wednesday, September 12
Believe it or not, we had a blemish in the weather today.  We were playing Sweden and the bottom fell out just as Carol was about to finish her match.  The rain created a 2-hour break and we were called back to the courts.  They did a great job getting us back out.  We all are surprised that thery were able to complete all of the matches!
Sweden has gotten much stronger over the years.  They have three of the same players that I met in my first Cup and and new number one player.  We were able to prevail in all three matches, but we really had to play well as they tested us.  Carol won 6-7;6-2;6-2, Brenda won 7-5;6-2 and Betty and Leslie won the doubles 0 and 0.
Tonight there was a banquet for all of the players competing in Umag -- about 600 people!  We were not sure whether we would be able to make it, but we did.  It's always fun to see all of these people in one place.  Everyone is always happy and upbeat, no matter what their circumstances have been on the court.
Again, all of the US teams came out winners and we all look forward to another day, with hopes the rain will be finished and we can stay on schedule.  Here's another resource if you want to see scores of all of the USA teams:  www.carolynnichols.wordpress.com
Our team will play the Netherlands.  Their #1 player is a former ITF World Champion, so we'll have our hands full.
As always, thanks for your good wishes.
Until next time!

Tuesday, September 11
Another beautiful day in Umag!  We played our match against Turkey.  It was a very enjoyable match as the ladies are delightful.  It's been fun to watch them progress as they had never fielded a team until just a few years ago.  Carol Clay won her match at #2 by a score of 6-2, 6-1; I won my singles match 6-3, 6-0; Betty and Leslie won the doubles 6-1, 6-0.  It only gets tougher from here.  We play Sweden tomorrow so I'll let you know!  As far as I know, all of the USA teams also won today.
If you have a lot of time on your hands and want to know more and see more pictures of many who are here, you may go to www.Carolynnichols.com and click on "view all" in the right top quadrant of the site.  You also can scroll down and click on International Tennis Federation Senior site, then click on ITF World Team Championships and snoop around.
Until later, hope all is well!

Monday, September 10
Competitors have gathered in Umag and Novigrad, Croatia for the playing the the ITF World Team Tennis Championships, 2012.  There are over 700 competitors from 34 different countries competing in 10 Cup competitions (5 women, 5 men), in age groups of 60, 65, 70, 75, and 80.  This year’s event has a record number of competitors.
Umag is located in the Istrian part of Croatia on the Adriatic Sea.  It is beautiful and serene and quite laid back, which makes for a very nice setting.  So far the weather has been fabulous.
These updates will focus on the Kitty Godfree Cup (Women’s 65s).  There are 21 teams competing – the largest group I have ever experienced in a number of years of Cup play.  The opening Ceremony was held today -- it's just so moving to wave our flag with all of the other countries.  We are so honored to be here.  In addition, the captains’ meeting was held today.  Team USA was named the #3 seed behind France and Great Britain.  Germany is the number 4 seed.  Three additional seeds were also named as the teams are divided into 7 groups of 3 teams.  A round robin will be played within each group of three and the winnersof each round robin will move into a quarterfinal draw.
We have Turkey and Sweden in our group and since we are the seed of the group, we will not play until Tuesday.  Turkey will play Sweden on Monday,  then we will play Turkey on Tuesday and Sweden and Wednesday.  My teammates are Betty Wachob (Captain), Panama City, FL, Carol Clay, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Leslie Pixley, Malvern, PA.  We’ve spent two days practicing on the red clay courts, (which are in great shape) and we are excited for the competition to begin.  I will keep you posted as I can.
Team Picture L to R:  Leslie, Carol, Betty, Brenda

Thursday, August 23


Hi Friends,
Again, this year, I have the good fortune of being selected to play on the USTA Cup Team (mine is Kitty Godfree Cup).  We will be competing in Umag, Croatia, September 10 - 15.  I hope to be able to send email updates from this International Tennis Federation competition.  This year, there will be 21 countries competing in our Cup, which is the largest I've ever experienced,so it should be exciting.






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