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Rosie Casals Can’t Prevent an Upset : Tennis: McCormick, Dent keep ball away from former star, advance in Championships.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Debbie McCormick and Betty Ann Dent’s strategy of keeping the ball away from Rosie Casals was smart tennis. But they still felt a little awkward talking about it.

By avoiding Casals, who teamed with Billie Jean King to win five Wimbledon doubles titles, Dent and McCormick put all the pressure on her partner, Racquel Giscafre of La Jolla.

Giscafre handled it for a while, but she eventually faltered--giving the fourth-seeded McCormick and Dent of Newport Beach all the big points and the match, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, in the semifinals of the United State Tennis Assn. Hardcourt championships at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club Saturday.

By upsetting the top-seeded team and the defending champions, McCormick and Dent advanced to today’s finals of the women’s 40 doubles division against second-seeded Carol Baily of Steamboat Springs, Colo. and Stephanie Adcock of Los Gatos, who defeated Hilary Marold and Dee Williams-Horne of Pasadena, 6-2, 6-4.

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McCormick and Dent abandoned their strategy in the second set and early in the third and Casals made them pay.

“Rosie wasn’t missing for a while,” Dent said. “She seemed to be everywhere.”

But in the third set, they wised up. In the last three games of the match, Casals watched as her partner was bombarded with lobs, smashes and volleys.

“We figured Racquel at the net is better than Rosie on the baseline,” Dent said “Rosie was the No. 1 doubles player in the world and she still plays pretty well.”

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Said McCormick: “I was glad we finally got some strategy going. We’d talked about hitting away from Rosie and when we finally did it, it worked.”

Casals said Dent and McCormick’s game plan was not hard to detect.

“They played smart tennis,” Casals said. “They played my partner quite a lot. She doesn’t play that often and she had a lot of pressure on her.”

But Casals did her best to take some of the blame.

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“I wasn’t as dominant as I could have been,” she said. “I missed some easy shots and I had some problems with my serve. I think I could have done more to help us.”

But none of that mattered to McCormick. For her, just being on the same court with Casals was a thrill. McCormick was a U.S. national platform diving champion in 1972 and has only recently taken up tennis.

“I realize Rosie’s 20 years past her prime, but it’s certainly exciting for me,” McCormick said.

Hardcourt Notes

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Fourth-seeded Karen Gallagher of Vail, Colo. and unseeded Carol Ford of Potomac, Md., will meet in today’s women’s 40 doubles final. Gallagher defeated Margaret Russo of Vienna, Va., 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals and Ford downed Hillary Marold of Glen Ellyn, Ill., 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. . . . Ralph Trembley, the longtime publicity director of the tournament, died of a heart attack Nov. 26 at his La Jolla home. Trembley served on the San Diego Tennis Patrons board.


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