This promises to be a long day for both Robbye Poole and Dianne Hollands, but the results could be worth it.
Each is in the finals in three open classifications of the Tennessee Valley Open Championship — singles, doubles and mixed doubles, where the two are partners.
Hollands, who played collegiately at Arizona, teamed with Alabama freshman Emily Zabor to advance to the women’s doubles final and will face North Carolina freshman Caroline Price for the singles title. Hollands is the No. 1 seed, Price the No. 2.
Poole can play both foe and friend, as he will face top-seeded Brian Baker in the men’s singles final, then pair with Baker in the open doubles final.
“It’s going to be a long day tomorrow, but I think it’s a great feat to have the chance to win all three titles,” said Poole, the singles 2 seed, who can win $3,000 with the triple crown. “I don’t know the last time that’s happened here.
“It’s going to be tough — especially going against my doubles partner in singles — but whatever happens, I’m sure we’ll shake it off and try to win doubles.”
Baker, who played at Belmont University last season, is looking for his second consecutive TVOC singles title.
“It’s obviously more fun to win,” he said. “We had never played doubles and figured that if we played together we’d probably win, so it made sense.”
Hollands’ purse could be $1,600 with all three titles. She and Poole will face Price and Tennessee freshman Hunter Reese in the mixed doubles final.
Mark Price to visit?
Price is from Duluth, Ga., and is the daughter of Mark Price, a former Georgia Tech basketball standout and four-time NBA All-Star with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the NBA’s all-time leader in career free-throw percentage (.904), but Caroline decided to focus on a different sport that uses a net.
“He never pressed me into playing basketball, because I was his little girl,” said Caroline, who has grown to nearly 6 feet. “I just liked tennis because it’s an individual sport and whether or not I win or lose is on me.”
Mark Price was not in attendance Saturday, as he was at an AAU event with his son, but he could be at Manker Patten this morning. His daughter’s singles final is set for 9 a.m.
The tough route
Patricia Zerdan, a 37-year old native of Argentina, chose to play in the open singles division of the TVOC tournament and reached the semifinals before falling to Price. Her earlier matches included wins over University of Tennessee at Chattanooga rising senior Emily Hangstefer and future Lady Moc Kaylene Chadwell. The average age of her three opponents was 19.
Zerdan, top-ranked in the United States and the world in seniors, teamed with husband Max King in open mixed doubles and dropped a hard-fought 6-1, 7-5 decision to Price and Reese in the semifinals.