Los Angeles Tennis Club (LATC) can officially boast that its over-55 men’s 3.5 team is the best in Southern California. For the first time in the club’s history, the men’s team won the USTA sectional division, earning it a spot in the national tournament later this month at Orlando, Florida’s US National Tennis Center.
After losing all three matches in the first round of the USTA sectionals, the LATC players made a comeback the next day and won all three matches. The format is three lines of doubles matches in the best of three sets, with a 10-point tiebreak as the final set.
“Saturday, we dug deep and beat Bakersfield 3-0, with wins by Humberto Gatica and Jim Hardy, Gary Gilbert and Jeremy Samuelson, and Ken Jaffe and Jesse Young,” team captains John Bauman and Jesse Young, wrote in an email to the team. “Suddenly, we had a chance and we squeaked in at #4 out of 8 teams to play again on Sunday.”
LATC had to face San Gabriel Valley which beat them in the first round of play. Rob Loos and Humberto Gatica lost their match, but John Bauman and Andy Goodman were able to win theirs by winning the third set 10-point tie break. So it all came down to the third match, in which Jeremy Samuelson and Gary Gilbert upset a strong team after a very long match. LATC beat San Gabriel winning a spot in the final against undefeated San Diego North.
Then, after only a two-hour break for icing and resting, LATC was back on the courts, playing four matches in 48 hours, Gary Gilbert told the Buzz.
John Bauman and Humberto Gatica took on the line one team and lost in two sets. Rob Loos and Jesse Young managed to win line three, giving the team one win and one loss. Leaving it all up to the line two team, Gary Gilbert and Jeremy Samuelson. Though they were ahead in the set, they lost the first set in a tie-breaker. They had a solid lead at 5-2 in the second when it started to slip away.
“Jeremy finally put the wheels back on the bus and they closed out the second set 6-4 with everyone who was still at Sunset Hills cheering and urging their team on at every point,” wrote Young. “Then it all came down to a 10 point tie-breaker. We went up early, but San Diego North clawed back to 7-7, before the LATC champs got it back together and closed it out. Wild cheering all around!”
Congratulations to the 55-and-over Sectional Champions from LATC! Team member Gary Gilbert told the Buzz, “Of the twelve members of the team who got us to the finals, only eight will be going to Orlando, due to scheduling conflicts, injuries, not qualifying for finals, etc.”