Sunday; May 6, 2007
Yukawa/Swope def. Hing/Schartman
6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Hing/Schartman def. Settles/Graham 8-6
Yukawa/Swope def. Frost/Bullock 8-4
Woody Sweet Sixteen is a Year of Firsts:
*Tad Yukawa - oldest Woody Champ at 62!
*Jim Settles Sr. - first "Woody Lifetime Achievement Award"
*Auction for charity - Signed Agassi racquet $620
*Two injuries retirements
Round Robin -
Friday's early rounds of the round robin (using the New Standard Revised Modified Format Version XII) proved to be among the most challenging in Woody history. After only two rounds it became apparent that our scouting reports for one of the three first time "men of wood" was lacking. Dennis Gibson, head pro at SFTC, was simply too talented not to have a "seeding" position in the draw.
Saturday rounds proved to have its' won problems as Don Daniels, our 2006 finalist, retired with fatigue symptoms. Later the same day, Andy Webb, one of our 2006 champions, surrendered his semi-final slot with a pulled hamstring allowing Joe Schartman, ninth in the point totals, to fill Andy's vacated Semi-Finals position. *This created its' own problems as Joe later admitted he had never anticipated making it to the finals and didn't bother to make a hotel reservation! After 13 rounds of play over two days it was time to make the semi-final permanent pairings.
Matt Bullock (Wilson Jack Kramer) & Sean Frost (Rossignol Stato) VS. Tad Yukawa (Wilson Jack Kramer) & Granville Swope (Snauwaert Gottfried Signature, Pacific Gut 16 at 52 lbs.)
After a very tight initial round of holding serve the match was destined to go the distance. The first break advantage went to Yukawa and Swope after breaking Bullock and holding to go up 4-2. Perhaps it was the pressure to break back that Bullock decided to turn it up a notch and in doing so dove for a ball and landing hard on his right shoulder. He was slow to get up and never really seemed to regain his earlier form.Yukawa/Swope defeat Bullock/Frost 8-4
Mike Graham (WIlson Chris Evert) & Jim Settles Jr. (Wilson Jack Kramer) VS. Greg Hing (Wilson Advantage) & Joe Schartman (Wilson Advantage)
This paired up old friends and opponents as Graham had lost a final to Settles back in the 1996 final. Today they were paired together to fight off the annual threat of Greg Hing and the relatively unknown Schartman. This tuned out to be one of the closest semi's in recent memory and nearly one of the greatest upsets. The match remained even until a break in the 12th game giving Settles a chance to serve it out. One missed opportunity to go to match point was all Hing needed to regain an edge and serve out the match.
Hing/Schartman defeat Graham/Settles 9-7
On paper the match looked to be a good one. Two previous champs, Hing and Swope, both with multiple woods balls, each playing with relative new comers; only their second Woody. Schartman tall with good power, and Yukawa, a cagey and steady 62 year young competitor with good hands. Hing served first - break. One Love. Swope serves second - break. One all.Schartman holds, Yukawa holds - two all. The match took it's first turn with an uncharacteristic second break Hing. - 3-2. Swope holds to take the 4-2 lead. Schartman has a big hold at 3-4. Yukawa dropped the first two points of serve and it looked as if Hing/Schartman had regained the momentum. Some deft touch volleys from Yukawa and evens the game score. This is where Hing is most dangerous. When asked after the match "What's it like to play against Greg Hing - former Stanford standout, Swope repled - "It's like playing cat and mouse - and you're the mouse. He creates an opening for you to put the ball away - then he fill the hole and poaches away the winner. He's the only guy I know who's name is both a proper noun AND a verb, because when Greg gets a bead on the ball, prepare to get "Hinged!" At break point serving to the add court, Schartman hit a low backhand return down the middle. Swope reflexed a backhand volley which then struck the top of the net, bounced up and landed again on the net, dribbling about 18 inches toward the chair umpire, and finally dribbled over the net - duece, and eventual hold - 5-3. Schartman again holds, 5-4. Swope serves out the first set, 6-4.
Hing served first to start the second set, changing the rotation - it worked as he held to open the second set. Yukawa served next and held a very tough service game with several deuce-add points. One all. Schartman holds with some big second serves to carry him through that critical game. The match opened up when Swope was broken at 15-40 to bring the score to 1-3. At 5-2 and Hing serving it looked like a third set was right around the corner. Yukawa and Swope were able to return Hing's serve short and crosscourt and successfully closed the net to punch away a few volleys. It was enough to break Hing and and stay in the second set a bit longer. At 5-5 the momentum had swung back a bit and the match looked and felt dead even. Hing holds, 6-5 - Swope is broken after a few loose points to finish the second set.
Final set - The third set was the 'book end' and provided some very exciting points - quintessential wood tennis on grass courts. Long points, short angles, good lobs and steady play. But the first break came early as Hing was broken after a long fought first game with nine duece-adds. The early break for Yukawa seemed only to apply more pressure to hold serve in this final set where there is no tie-breaker. Yukawa did hold, another hold, hold, then a key hold at 4-3 offered some relief, 5-3. Schartman hold easily to gave Yukawa his first look at Woody infamy by serving our the set. On the first point Hing missed a down the line return two inches wide. Schartman follows with a low return which Yukawa reflexes a shoe string volley cross court back to Schartman who netted the reply. 30-Love. Hing crosses to knock off a winner - 30-15. An unforced error gives Yukawa the first of his two match points. After a brief flurry of volleys, a drop shot winner to the open court finished the match.