Sunday, August 15, 2004

History: Women's tennis in Cincinnati

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

Best moment

In the first tournament of the Open era in 1969, Lesley Turner Bowrey beat Gail Chaunfreau in the final 1-6, 7-5, 10-10 (ret.). After 3 hours and 20 minutes, Chaunfreau, suffering from leg and stomach cramps, fell to the court. She retired from the match and said later: "We're both alike. Neither would give up."

Forgetful moment

After winning the 1906 tournament for the second straight year, May Sutton received the women's trophy to keep for a year. She would be allowed to keep the trophy permanently if she won the tournament in 1907, but Sutton "lost trace of it" after putting it in her car. The trophy has never been found, but Sutton did three-peat the following year.

Ill-timed moment

In 1934, Gracyn Wheeler won the singles title by default when Dr. Esther Bartosh became sick and could not compete.

Bad-weather moment

Helen Fulton and Elizabeth Kesting won the doubles title in 1934 when the men's and women's doubles finals were decided by coin flip because of rain.

Last moment

No. 3 seed Barbara Potter defeated fourth-seeded Helen Kelesi 6-2, 6-2 to win the only Pringles Light Classic in 1988. Kelesi had upset top-seeded Manuela Maleeva in the semifinals. Kelesi also made it to the doubles final with Lindsay Bartlett but lost 4-6, 7-6 (9), 6-1 to Beth Herr and Candy Reynolds.

Second-to-last moment

Top-seeded Chris Evert lost 6-2, 7-5 to Evonne Goolagong in the 1973 final on the clay at the Queen City Racquet Club. It was six more years and 125 more matches before Evert lost another match on clay.

Best name

In 1966 and 1967, Peaches Bartkowicz won back-to-back singles titles. She defeated top-seeded Peachy Kellmeyer in 1966.

Most singles titles

• Ruth Sanders (5): 1913, 1914, 1920, 1922, 1923

• Clara Louise Zinke (5): 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931

Fabulous prizes

• 1899 winner's award: Rookwood vase valued at $100, to Myrtle McAteer

• 1969 winner's check (Open era): $500

• 1988 winner's check: $50,000

• 2004 winner's check: $27,000

• 1899 purse: None

• 1969 purse: $17,500 (combined with men's tournament)

• 1988 purse: $250,000

• 2004 purse: $170,000

Top female tennis players who have competed in Cincinnati tournaments

Chris Evert: 1973 finalist

Virginia Wade: 1971 champion

Evonne Goolagong: 1973 champion

Barbara Potter: 1988 champion

May Sutton: 1905-07 champion

Pauline Betz: 1941, 1943, 1945 champion

Nancy Richey: 1970


Clara Louise Zinke: 1926-27, 1929-31


Ruth Sanders: 1913-14, 1920, 1922-23 champion

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