Jones, Dale claim Cancer tour upset

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Karen Jones and Lisa Dale of Natchez probably figured they would make to the Women’s 5.5 division semifinals in the 24th annual AmSouth Bank Natchez Cancer Tennis Tournament.

But they probably didn’t count on upsetting the top-seeded team of Jennifer Lessley and Brandae Miller of Natchez in Saturday’s semis, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to today’s final round. Well, they did just that.

and Miller play before, so they didn’t know exactly what to expect.

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As for making it to the finals, Dale said, &uot;We’re excited and hope to have a good match tomorrow.&uot;

Dale and Jones will play another unseeded team, Pamela Riggs of Wildsville, La., and Didi Sones of Jonesville, La., at 10 a.m. Riggs and Sones defeated Lindy Cardneaux and Priscilla Dale of Natchez, 6-3, 7-5 in the other semifinal match.

&uot;I guess we’re surprised,&uot; Riggs said. &uot;It was pretty evenly matched. We worked hard to win. We were just keeping it in court and getting our serves in.&uot;

Action resumes at 8:30 a.m. and will continue at least through the early afternoon hours, with the finals starting at 10 a.m. at the earliest.

The Women’s 8.5 main draw final will be a battle between the top two seeds as top-seeded Mary Ruth Caldwell of Vidalia, La., and Jill Joseph of Natchez will meet second-seeded Darla Vincent of Natchez and Suzan Hogue of Vidalia at 10 a.m.

Caldwell and Joseph defeated Noreen Pyron of Natchez and Jennifer Smith of Fayette in the first semifinal match, 6-1, 6-0.

&uot;This is the first time we’ve played together,&uot; Caldwell said. &uot;But the score did not justify the caliber of tennis. Jennifer and Noreen are two of the best players in the area.

&uot;It was a long match. Yesterday, the first match of the 8.5 Mixed Doubles, we played against each other. That was a really good match, too.&uot;

&uot;I thought that Mary Ruth and I played steady,&uot; Joseph said. &uot;We moved the ball around. Actually, the match was much easier than I expected it to be. We were both serving well. We returned well. Mary Ruth volleyed well.&uot;

Hogue and Vincent defeated Jennifer Metcalfe of Natchez and Dunbar Amoss of New Orleans in the other semifinal match, 6-1, 7-6.

&uot;They are very nice players. It was a fun, fun match,&uot; Hogue said. &uot;The first set, Darla and I played solid. They they definitely picked up their play and challenged us in the second set.&uot;

Hogue said this is the first time she’s been in a main draw final in several years and that she’s usually playing in the consolation finals.

&uot;But I’ve got a great partner (Vincent) who is very solid,&uot; Hogue said.

Dunbar and John Amoss advanced to the Mixed 7.5 finals after winning two matches on Saturday, first by upsetting the second-seeded team of Vincent and Kevin Flowers in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-3, and then defeating Pat Caldwell and Lynn Leckie of Natchez in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-0.

&uot;It was really hard,&uot; said Dunbar Amoss, who is originally from Natchez. &uot;It was mostly John. This is our first time we’ve played in the Cancer Tournament. It’s fun.&uot;

&uot;It was a tough match,&uot; John Amoss said. &uot;They played good. We were lucky to come out with a win. It’s been a great experience. We would like to make this an annual event.&uot;

One participant who is playing well tournament is Duncan Park tennis pro Frankie Spence.

After two rounds in the Men’s 8.5 round-robin division, Spence and teammate Talton Trickey are undefeated after first defeating Wade West of Memphis, Tenn., and Kerry Kaiser of Natchez, 6-0, 6-3 Friday and then holding off Richard Baron and Brent Bollich of Lafayette, La., in Saturday’s second-round action, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Spence also teamed up with Caldwell to win a pair of matches in the Mixed 8.5 round-robin division. On Saturday, they defeated Smith and Paulo Teixeira of Memphis in round two, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

&uot;A very good match,&uot; Spence said of the mixed doubles match.