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Diepraam Holds On to Defeat Rush in Tennis Semifinal

Top-seeded Keith Diepraam of Sugarland, Tex., took a 5-2 lead in the third set and then held on to score a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over former UC Irvine player Jody Rush in the semifinals of the U.S. national men’s 45 championships Saturday at the Lindborg Racquet Club in Huntington Beach.

Diepraam will face his doubles partner, second-seeded Jim Parker of Houston, in today’s 11 a.m. championship match.

Diepraam, the defending 45-and-over world champion, double-faulted twice in the eighth game of the third set to help 10th-seeded Rush narrow his lead to 5-3. After Rush used a series of service winners to cut Diepraam’s lead to 5-4, Diepraam answered with two service winners of his own in the next game to take the match.

“I was up two break points in that third set, and then I had a lack of concentration in my last two games,” said Diepraam, a former South African Davis Cup team member. “I rushed a little bit, and he played well to narrow my lead in the third set. I then concentrated on getting my serve over in the next game and thus force him to make mistakes instead of me, and that worked.”

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Notes

In the other singles semifinal, second-seeded Jim Parker overcame a 4-1 first-set deficit to score a 6-4, 6-2 victory over third-seeded Dick Johnson of St. Louis. . . . In the doubles semifinals, the top-seeded team of Keith Diepraam and Parker defeated Carl Robinson of Nashville and Chuck White of San Carlos, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The tournament’s defending champions, Bob Duesler and Jim Nelson, both of Newport Beach, scored a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Dick Johnson and Jody Rush.

Barbara Mueller of Escondido defeated Judy Louie of Corona Del Mar to win the 40-and-over title in the U.S. Tennis Assn. women’s grass court championships at the West Side Tennis Club in Forrest Hills, N.Y.


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