Clark Robinson had a firm grip on his quarterfinal match in the men's 45 singles Saturday, but it slipped away - just enough to put it within reach of his opponent.
Going cross court with high percentage shots brought it back to the Bountiful player and extended him into the semifinals on Sunday.Robinson, the No. 7 seed in the 45 class in the Wendy's National Senior Indoor tennis championships, beat Len Saputo of San Francisco, the No. 4 seed, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
In other matches, top seeded Charlie Hoeveler beat fellow Californian Robyn Ray, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; David Bryant of Oklahoma, beat Barry Conway of Georgia, 6-3, 6-4; and David Nash of Minnesota, beat Jody Rush of Seattle, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
In the men's 50 singles, Steve Wilkinson of Minnesota, beat Greg Kohles of California, 6-2, 6-3; Geoffery Grant of California, beat Thay Butchee of Tennessee, 6-3, 6-3; John Gorsky of New York, beat Dick Landenberger of Texas, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4; and Gill Howard beat Gordon Smith, both of California, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
Robinson and Saputo held service to 5-all in the first set. Saputo then broke serve and held for the set. In the second, the two held to 5-4, then on Saputo's service Robinson jumped out to love-40 and three set points. Saputo won two, but on the third he hit a volley into the net on an easy put-away.
In the third set, Robinson broke the fourth game to go up 3-1, held to 5-3 and was serving for the match. Instead, Saputo broke.
"It wasn't that I let up. I missed three first serves and he hit some great shots. On the next game I just said I was going to hit low and hard and keep the ball in play. I tried to stay away from the lines," said Robinson.
In the final game, Saputo was down 5-40. Robinson took a service backhand and put it cross-court for a winner as Saputo came in.
Robinson, who is tentatively ranked No. 6 in the 45s and No. 10 in the 40s nationally, will meet Hoelever in the semis at the Snowbird Canyon Racquet Club at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Hoelever is the defending champion of this event and is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in the 45s.
In his Saturday match, Hoelever played well at the start of the match, but started to make unforced errors as the first set progressed. In the second set the errors continued.
"I was getting a little tentative. Not because I was playing poorly, but more because he was hitting some great shots. It didn't look like he was going to get to a lot of shots, but suddenly there he was and coming up with a great return," he said.
In the third set he said the new tennis balls helped both players play better because of the speed and the bounce.
Semifinals in the men's 50 singles will be at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. The finals will be Monday at 9:30 a.m. The finals in the 45s will be at 11 a.m. on Monday.
There is no charge to spectators.