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Diepraam Beats Doubles Partner in Singles Final

Keith Diepraam and Jim Parker are close in many ways.

For one thing, they play doubles together. For another, they live close to each other--Parker in Houston, Diepraam in nearby Sugarland, Tex.

And, said Diepraam: “We get along very well. We’re good friends.”

Both men figured prominently in the final of the U.S. national 45 tennis championships Sunday at the Lindborg Racquet Club in Huntington Beach. In the singles title match, Diepraam, the tournament’s top-seeded player, used his strong serve and aggressive volleying to defeat second-seeded Parker, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, and win $500.

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It was the first time in four years that Diepraam and Parker have played against each other, and the third time in four attempts that Diepraam, a former South African Davis Cup team member, has won.

In the doubles final, Diepraam and Parker, the top-seeded team, proved too strong for the defending national champions, second-seeded Jim Nelson and Bob Duesler of Newport Beach. Diepraam and Nelson overcame a slow start for a 6-3, 6-1 victory.

Diepraam, who won the world 45-and-over hardcourt championship last year, also had a sluggish beginning in his singles title match as Parker took advantage of some erratic returns and two double faults by Diepraam to take a quick 2-0 lead.

Parker, who broke Diepraam’s serve to take a 5-3 lead in the second set, was up, 40-15, in the next game when Diepraam stroked a forehand down the line. Diepraam then caught Parker out of position with a well-aimed cross-court shot.

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After Diepraam got the advantage by scoring on a soft lob, Parker lobbed the ball out of bounds to give Diepraam the game that narrowed Parker’s lead to 5-4.

Parker then countered with two winners off Diepraam’s serve in the next game to force a third set.

After the two men split the first four games of the final set, Diepraam fought through three deuces in the fifth game to break Parker’s serve and take a 3-2 lead.

Diepraam then broke Parker’s serve once more as he won the next three games of the set to take the match.

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“I just tried to get my first serve in all the time,” said Diepraam, who finished the match with seven aces to Parker’s two. “I played relaxed throughout the match and forced him to make the mistakes instead of me. He sort of played the way I thought he would play, but he had some double faults at key points of the match to help me out. He didn’t really do anything that I didn’t expect him to do.”

Said Parker, who had eight double faults to Diepraam’s three: “His aces and my double faults kind of set the tone for the match. I sort of struggled with my serve throughout the match, and he returned the ball so well when he had to.”

Parker, who won $300 for finishing second in the singles final, split the $500 first prize with Diepraam for winning the doubles championship. Duesler and Nelson split $300 for finishing second.


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