Tahoe Tennis Classic draws record field; 121 teams play in four-day tournament
ZEPHYR COVE — The stands at Zephyr Cove Tennis Club were full late into the day Sunday as the finalists in the Tahoe Tennis Classic battled it out, with the final two matches going to three sets. Regulars and newcomers will have their names etched into the history book of this 32-year-old doubles tournament now run by the nonprofit Zephyr Cove Tennis Club Foundation.
Tournament creators and facilitators for three decades, Hersch and Sheryl Herschman of Zephyr Cove, each went home with winners’ shirts. Hersch won the men’s 65 category with tournament director Bob Beutenmiller, beating Richard Svedeman of Los Altos, Calif. and Tad Yukawa of Palm Desert, Calif. 7-5, 6-3.
Sheryl Herschman also teamed with Carel James of Carson City, Nev. to win in the consolation round of the women’s 7.0. That duo beat Ceci Chourre of Carson City and Susan Horst of Truckee, Calif. 6-4, 6-4.
Yukawa also made it to the finals of the men’s 50 with partner Ryan Johnston of South Lake Tahoe. They lost to Richard Johnson of Ballwin, Mo., and Terry Ward of Chesterfield, Mo., 7-5, 6-1.
The 121-team tournament field set a record, and included 170 players that came from as far away as the East Coast. The popularity of the tournament forced it to be played over four days for the first time — it kicked off last Thursday.
“Impressive tennis was played in Zephyr Cove these past four days,” Beutenmiller said. “It’s one of those events where it’s hard to know which court to watch because the level of play is so outstanding.
“So many matches could have gone either way that I’m sure some players wished they could have a rematch tomorrow instead of having to wait until next year’s tournament.”
The last players to walk off the courts battled it out in an epic three-setter in the 8.0 mixed finals. The No. 2 seed and mother-son duo of Holly and Mitch Rittiman of Zephyr Cove triumphed over top-seeded Denise Hallerbach and Robert Skinner of Reno, Nev. 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
Earlier in the day, Skinner lost in the men’s 8.0 with partner Larry McFall of Reno. The sibling duo of Jim Thorne of Sunnyvale, Calif. and Dennis Thorne of Stateline prevailed 6-3, 6-2.
Hallerbach won the 8.0 women’s title with partner Laurie Sabol of Las Vegas by default. Carol Tretten of Reno and Joyce Youngs of South Lake Tahoe had to forfeit the final because Tretten injured her quadriceps while playing with her daughter, Holly, in the 9.0 category.
Winning the women’s 9.0 over the Trettens were Jeanette Berry and Laura Pierce of Reno 6-4, 6-4. Holly Tretten also lost in the 10.0 mixed finals with partner Blake Beavers of Plano, Texas — the top-seeded team was easily defeated in the finals by Reno’s Dora Lane and Kevin Strawn 6-3, 6-0.
In the men’s 10.0 division, the No. 1-seeded duo of Strawn and Tony Matkulak of Reno never dropped a set on their way to winning the title. In the finals, they prevailed 7-6, 6-3 over Chris Evers and Dave Hagiwara of Folsom, Calif.
The No. 1 seed in the women’s 7.0 was knocked off by the fourth seed in three sets. Playing for their first time together, Donna Rockwood of South Lake Tahoe and Patty Gilliland of Reno beat Carolyn Wright of Zephyr Cove and Becky LeBuhn of Glenbrook, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Wright also reached the finals in the 7.0 mixed with partner R.J. Gardner of Stateline. As the No. 1 seed, they were upset by No. 3 seed Melissa Jester of Zephyr Cove and Heck Mata of Reno 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
Kurt Massing and Bruce Pate traveled from Texas, and came up just short of returning to the Lone Star State as winners. Thor Spargo of Fair Oaks, Calif. and Murray Yoffee of Gardnerville, Nev. won the men’s 7.0 championship 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Only two teams competed in the women’s 10.0 division. Kim Iliffe of Mill Valley, Calif. and Keri Mills of Davis, Calif. topped Carol Akre of Martinez, Calif. and Cynthia Reddick of Sacramento, Calif. 6-3, 6-1.