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Former ladies pro wins first tournament in 13 years

Published Oct. 2, 2005

Nearly 90 players competed in last weekend's Senior Vets state-sanctioned tournament at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center. Al Sarmiento directed six divisions of men's singles and four women's.

St. Petersburg's Janet Newberry, Rich Terrell and Ralph Howe won their respective divisions.

It had been 13 years since Newberry, a former professional player primarily in the 1970s, had played a tournament. Despite being a little nervous before her matches, when the veteran stepped on the court her skill in winning points returned. In three matches, Newberry lost just four games.

"I really enjoyed the tournament and hope to play more," said Newberry, daughter of St. Petersburg's Anne and Ed Turville. "You get to see a lot of people you know and I can see that the senior players are in great shape."

Newberry, once ranked as high as No. 17, won the Italian Open in 1977 and is most proud of beating Martina Navratilova in the first round of the U.S. Open 21 years ago. Newberry now works with the Corel WTA Tour, the women's tennis professional organization, in its tour operations and player relations. Last month, Newberry and Howe married.

Men's 35-and-over top-seeded Terrell, tennis professional at the center, won three straight-set matches among a field of 11. In the final, Terrell defeated second-seeded Hugh O'Rourke, also a teaching professional, 6-3, 6-3.

Howe, who grew up playing on the grass courts in Philadelphia, upset top-seeded Joe Pundt of Sarasota 6-0, 6-0 in the men's 55 final.

"This is my second year in the 55s," said Howe, who was nationally ranked No.

11 in singles and ninth in doubles last year. "I'd like to get a ranking between 10-15 this year. I consider myself an all court player and feel very comfortable with the midcourt volley _ a lot of players don't."

Other area players in the winner's circle were Anna Nefedova (women's open), Jim Beneke (men's 25) and Reinaldo Valor (men's 45). Local finalists, along with O'Rourke in the men's 35 were Ginny Beneke (women's 35) and Moyses Figueiredo (men's 65).

SENIOR NATIONALS: Florida's 4.0 senior women's team from Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club defeated Minnesota and Nebraska but fell to eventual national champion Arizona in the USTA Senior National Championship last weekend in Palm Springs, Calif.

Florida's 3.5 senior women's team from the Westin Innisbrook Resort faced Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Maryland in the USTA Senior National Championship in Orlando. Louisiana defeated Oklahoma in the final.