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Southwest men, Southern women crowned 4.5 champions

October 23, 2016 11:31 PM

By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com

LA QUINTA, CALIF. – For the Southwest section men’s team from Phoenix and the Southern section women’s team from Raleigh, N.C., it was a weekend to remember at the La Quinta Resort and Club as they captured their respective titles at the 2016 USTA League Adult 40 & Over 4.5 National Championships.

The Southwest men, which represent the Ahwatukee Tennis Center, won their semifinal over the Southern California section team from Mission Viejo, 4-1. In the final they overcame a strong Texas section team from Austin, 4-1, to win the national championship.

“When you have a chance to win a National Championship, it’s pretty special. Everyone was able to contribute,” said Southwest team captain Mike Flinn. “It’s always a thrill. We had a lot of guys that have been playing USTA League for a long time.”

Flinn credited the experience and depth of his team’s roster for winning the title this weekend. He added that “we did not lose a match at No. 1 singles and No. 2 and No. 3 doubles in our five matches. It makes a big difference at Nationals when you have a deep team.”

The Southern women, who play at the Millbrook Tennis Center, scored a thrilling 3-2 victory in the final over the New England section team from Natick, Mass. Earlier in the day, the Southern team got past the Middle States section team from Newtown Square, Pa., 3-2 to advance to the final.

“It feels pretty amazing. It was great tennis. We’re so happy. It’s so hard to get here. It feels really good,” said Southern team captain Shelly Kirkpatrick. “We all contributed. Sometimes we lost a match, but there was always someone to pull us through. That was definitely the key.”