Sunday, August 15, 2004
History: Women's tennis in Cincinnati
By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer
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."
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.
In 1934, Gracyn Wheeler won the singles title by default when Dr. Esther Bartosh became sick and could not compete.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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History: Women's tennis in Cincinnati
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