As national senior event finals have gone at the Canyon Racquet Club over the past decade, Monday's was the best. There was not a bad match, not a single dull moment out on the courts from sunup to nearly sundown.
It mattered not that in most cases the seeded players won, as predicted, or that the sole local hero went down to defeat. From the first serve to the last point, it was exciting, anyone-can-win tennis, evident in the fact that it took nearly nine hours to get in four matches.Winning the 45 singles in the Wendy's National Men's Senior Indoors was top-seeded Keith Diepraam of Sugarland, Texas, over No. 2 seed Dick Johnson of St. Louis, Mo., 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
And winning the 55 singles was top-seeded John Powless of Madison, Wis., over No. 2 seed Chuck Devoe of Indianapolis, Ind., 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
The 55 doubles was won by No. 1 seed Powless/Devoe over Clyde Barker of Philadelphia, Pa., and John Sahratian of La Jolla, Calif., 6-1, 7-5.
And, not winning the 45 doubles was Clark Robinson of Bountiful and Diepraam, the No. 1-seeded team. They lost to the No. 2-seeded team of Johnson and Joseph Rush of Olymnpia, Wash., 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. All close matches and all well-played.
The most interest was in the 45 doubles. There was, after all, a familiar face to cheer for. Robinson, an up-and-coming threat on the 45 circuit, got some attention from the top players by finishing runner-up in the event last year.
This year he lost to another new face in the second round of singles but moved with relative ease through the doubles with Diepraam, this despite the fact the two were playing for the first time as a team.
But, as Robinson said, their games blended together like two glasses of water. "We both play a strong serve and-volley game, and we signal and move well together to close off the net."
Good, yes, but that just may have contributed some to their undoing in this match. Getting the message after the first set that their opponents were dangerous when at the net, Johnson and Rush began putting up more lobs in the final two sets, making Robinson and Diepraam move back more often than they would have liked.
Still, Robinson and Diepraam won the second-set tie breaker (9-7), and were in the match until the sixth game of the third set. Diepraam was serving at 2-3 and up 40-love, but Johnson and Rush came back to break. Then it was a matter of holding service for the match, which they did.
"I don't feel bad, really," said Robinson afterward. "I thought we played well. I feel pretty good about the way I played. I thought I played a little better today than I did in the semifinals. It was tough, though, it was real tough."
That had to be especially so for Diepraam. Not only did he have to play nearly five hours of hard tennis, but he is still recovering from knee surgery he underwent in October.
In singles, he played his usual attacking game. Johnson, as he did in doubles, kept pressing and battling Diepraam's net game with passing shots, low shots at his feet as he came in, and lobs.
The finals in the 55 singles was probably the most predictible, but were still intense. Powless and Devoe have played in three of the four national finals, and Powless has won all three.
But, had Powless not been able to adjust his service in the third set, this one may have turned out differently. After losing the second set, 1-6, he adjusted for the third.
"I told myself I had to roll my shoulders more. It's better because I got the ball higher and wasn't serving so flat," he said.