Young Robertson rallies to a delightful double-triple crown

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Chichester Racquets & Fitness Club staged their annual closed veterans’ tennis championships.

More than 60 members took part in the five main events – men’s singles, ladies’ singles, ladies’ doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Katica Robertson achieved a second ‘double triple crown’ year. In her last year as a junior player, she won all the junior titles (singles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles) as well as winning all the respective senior titles in the same year.

This year, in her first year as a veteran competitor, she retained all her main championship titles in the summer then went on to claim all three of the veterans’ titles.

The day’s schedule commenced with the ladies’ and men’s singles events. Justin Pollard, head coach of the Chichester Tennis Academy, competed for the first time in the veterans’ men’s event.

His opponent Alan Vawdrey battled strongly and retrieved well but Pollard’s experience enabled him to control the match and he took his first title of the day 6-2, 6-0.

Katica Robertson (No1 seed) played Sue Foott (No2) in the ladies’ main event. Foott played well and steadfastly fought well against Robertson’s strong serve and fierce forehand.

She kept her focus but Robertson maintained the pressure and consistency to take her first title of the day 6-4, 6-4. Robertson later returned to play and win the ladies’ doubles final with Gilly Stuart-Smith 6-2, 6-0 against Debbie Draper and Gill Horsey.

Vawdrey returned to the courts with partner Simon Rice for the men’s doubles final to play Simon Toft and Rick Hellaby (No1 seeds). The first set was a close encounter and Vawdrey and Rice (No3/4 seeds) won it 7-5. They continued to play with more confidence in the second set and took the title 6-0. Justin Pollard and Katica Robertson played Jill Street and Mick Bennett in the mixed doubles final.

Street and Bennett have reached the mixed doubles finals on many occasions over recent years but Robertson and Pollard proved too strong this year.

Robertson, in her third final, and Pollard, in his second, won 6-1, 6-0.

The ladies’ doubles plate final was the longest and closest match of the day - taking more than two hours - with Susy Benzie and Louise Kislingbury snatching it from Sally Hazelden and Siobhan Kings 5-7, 7-6, 11-9 in the third-set championship tie-break.