With plenty at stake, Tina Karwasky didn’t have to think too much before stepping on to the court.
Knowing it would come down to a winner-take-all match against Great Britain for the prestigious International Tennis Federation Maureen Connolly Cup, Karwasky tried to remain calm.
While it proved to be hard at first for Karwasky, a Glendale resident of more than 20 years, the adrenaline eventually began to flow while teaming with Susan Wright to post a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Sue Bartlett and Anne Clark on April 25 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. to lead the United States past Great Britain, 2-1.
It marked the eighth straight year that the United States won the competition in the women's 55 and over bracket. It was the seventh time Karwasky, 61, helped her country capture the event.
“It’s a pretty unbelievable feeling,” said Karwasky, who worked with Wright of Grand Junction, Colo., Diane Barker of Daniel Island, S.C. and Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe. “It was 1-1 through the first two rounds in singles and there was a lot of pressure going into our doubles match.
“You just had to think about tennis and knowing Susan and I play well together. It’s great to win it again.”
Karwasky and Wright went undefeated through four tournament matches, never losing a set and relinquishing just 13 games.
The finals opened with Christine French of Great Britain posting a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win against Wright before Barker registered a 6-1, 6-3 victory against Anthea Stewart. That set the stage for Karwasky, currently ranked No. 1 in the in the world by the International Tennis Federation in the 60-and-over age bracket in doubles, and Wright to try to continue the United States’ dominance in the competition and knock Great Britain off for the fourth year in a row.
“We had about a 30-minute break leading up to our match,” Karwasky said. “It was pretty hot and humid, so you just try to pace yourself.
“[Great Britain] had some crafty players who had good reflexes. With Susan, I know where she’s going to be. She served well and she was aggressive going to the net.”
The United States recorded group-play matches against Turkey and the Netherlands before topping Australia in the semifinals.
Karwasky paired up with Nichols to register a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Leyla Caliskan and Bevran Incecam Siyahhan of Turkey. The duo then picked up a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Annelies Van Der Zweep and Sylvia Lievers of the Netherlands.
In the semifinals, Karwasky and Nichols earned a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Roslyn Balodig and Helen Shea.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.