Swain adds to domination of men's tour

November 07, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

Trailing for only the second time in the match, Cliff Swain called a timeout, sat down and stared at his racquet in anger.

"I was moving my feet, letting him get easy points," said Swain, who never trailed in the match by more than a point. "It's not like me to make mental mistakes. I told myself to forget about the score and just play. I knew I was the better player point for point."

Winning four of the next five points, Swain refocused to win the third game and defeat No. 3 Andy Roberts of Memphis, Tenn., 11-3, 11-6, 11-9, for the VCI Maryland Open title at the Merritt Athletic Club at Security yesterday. Swain earned $5,000 for winning the title.

Swain, 28, the top-ranked player on the tour for the last three years, has won 10 of his past 13 tournaments, including five of seven this season. Swain, from Boston, is on pace to break the record for the winningest single season in International Racquetball Tournament history. Swain set the current record of 13 wins last year.

Swain easily took the first two games, driving the ball low on the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Roberts. Swain also never allowed Roberts to gain any momentum, countering each of Roberts' runs with a run of his own.

After trailing in the third game 2-1, Swain powered ahead for a 7-2 lead. But for the first time in the match, Swain's serve faltered and Roberts started to dictate play.

Not scoring on three serves, Swain allowed Roberts to go ahead 8-7. During that run, Roberts used a higher serve to slow the pace and utilize his power advantage.

But Swain regrouped and quickly scored three points to retake the lead at 10-8. Making only two mistakes the rest of the game, Swain held off Roberts to win the game and the match.

"I came in and forced the quick pace, but he had a good strategy in the third game," said Swain, who is 3-0 in matches against Roberts this year. "His serve took me out of my running game, but it was too little too late."

In the women's final, top-ranked Michelle Gould of Boise, Idaho, needed only 35 minutes to defeat No. 4 Cheryl Gudinas of Lisle, Ill., 11-0, 11-1, 11-3.

Gould has won six of the seven tour stops, while Gudinas was playing in her first final this year.

Gould dominated with a powerful serve, which Gudinas never returned with authority.

"I served better today than I have in a long time," said Gould, who didn't lose a game in the tournament. "Obviously when my serve is there, I am a lot better. And my serve is always a big factor in my match, and it showed today."

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