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2003 USHA Nationals
Coney Island July 31 - Aug 3, 2003


Cesar Sala and Tony Roberts
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Cesar Sala and Tony Roberts

Veterans Take Major Titles

There were all kinds of challenges in this year's USHA One-Wall Nationals, not the least of it being the unpredictable stormy weather. Between the downpours, well established players took the major titles. After Tony Roberts, long time doubles champion came in with his first National singles win by defeating 2001 champion Cesar Sala in the Men's Open Singles, Joe Durso and Peewee Castro narrowly held on to what had been a big lead to claim the doubles title.

Tony, the reigning World and Nationals doubles champion, had been looking great throughout the tournament, and came to the singles finals with a level of play and confidence that would be required to defeat Sala, the game's top ranked player. On the other hand, Cesar did not seem mentally or physically sharp. He and Kaplan suffered a demoralizing loss against Rookie and Dave on Saturday, in a game that many spectators felt they could have taken. Cesar might have also been drained from the tough victory over Kaplan in the semi-finals or the Friday doubles match when he and Joe beat Andy Rousseau and Paul Williams. It was pouring outside and even within the HES players said it felt like they were playing underwater

Whatever the reason, Cesar never got going, in the first game losing 21-11. The crowd still expected him to win and Cesar got off to a better start in the second game notching up a nice lead. But Tony stayed focus and confident, gaining momentum with each point dishing, out some great shots that Cesar just wasn't prepared to handle, It didn't take long before Tony fought back to take the game, match and title. It was a great personal victory for Tony, his first National Singles championship.


Joe Durso and Peewee Castro took the Men's Open Doubles.
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Joe Durso and Peewee Castro took the Men's Open Doubles.

Mens Doubles

PeeWee Castro and Joe Durso had little difficulty advancing to the finals, beating Roberts and Fred Torres, then Satish Jagnandan and Carlos Lopez. On the other side, Rookie and Dave needed to outlast Kendell Lewis and Robert Sostre, then Kaplan and Sala. Rookie also had a war against Satish on Thursday, in what might have been the best singles match of the tournament.

In the finals, Joe and Peewee came out shooting making more than they missed. They captured the first game easily and kept the pressure on to take a big in the second,19-10. For some insane reason with it all going their way, Peewee and Joe got into an argument. Focusing on yelling at each other instead of the game allowed Dave and Rookie to make their run. As the match proceeded, the heavens thundered. Castro and Durso were like a fighter plane that had just been hit; smoke and flames shooting out of the rear, spiraling downwards towards a seemingly unavoidable horrific crash landing.

But then the Dave served off the court. One engine started coughing back to life. At first server, 18-20, Dave served off again. The other engine started sputtering too. Peewee and Durso managed to narrowly avoid the crash landing and take the championship. For Peewee it was a repeat of his 2002 Doubles win. For Durso, it was another championship like the many others of his legendary career.


Tracy Davis defeated Anna Calderon
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Tracy Davis defeated Anna Calderon

Women's Open Event

In the Women's singles Tracy Davis took her third straight championship and slammed by pairing up with former world champion Sydell Smith to also take the Open Doubles.

Brenda Pares gave Tracy some competition, but the defending champ had taken too big a lead to feel really threatened. On the other hand Anna Calderon (proudly sponsored by Atlas Travel), her finals opponent had to give it everything she had to make it out of the semis against a fiercely determined Veronica Figueroa. Anna has recently developed a heel spur and served out 9 times during her first game with Veronica, this required her to serve up thereby using a lot of energy. By the time Tracey faced her, she really couldn't put up her best game, and the reigning champ won easily 21-8 & 21-2.

Sydell and Tracy were in a groove, dominating Dori Ten and Barbara Jackson to enter the finals, On the other hand their rivals Karen McConney and Brenda Pares had to slug through two tough matches in order to reach the championship round, outlasting Veronica Figueroa and Bernice Torres in a tiebreaker and battling through a tough match against Theresa McCourt and Anna Calderon.


Champions in the pose
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Women's Doubles Champs surround Eric Klarman

Theresa was having a meltdown during their semis forcing Anna to shift left. Then, at 18-20, the ref called what appeared to be an ace for Anna short. Coming when it did, the call just added to the pressure on the team. Anna was beat up for the singles final and Karen and Brenda (wearing a heating pad on her back) felt the same for the doubles. Tracy and Sydell who came to the tournament looking cool and calm in their matching outfits easily took the final honors.


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