Watching Claude England and Gil Schuerholz play tennis is like watching Mutt play Jeff. England stands 5 feet 2; Schuerholz is 6-4.
"You should see us in doubles, when we're on the same side of the net," Schuerholz said, laughing.
It was one-on-one yesterday in the semifinals of the Greater Baltimore Men's Singles Championships, and Schuerholz beat his stubborn rival, 6-0, 2-6, 6-4, to advance to the final today at 2 p.m. at Suburban Club.
Schuerholz, 34, the defending champion and pro at Circle D Tennis Club in Woodbine, will face last year's runner-up, Mike Castrilli, who outlasted unseeded Ramon Bernal, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Schuerholz defeated Castrilli the last time they met, in the Mid-Atlantic championships in April.
Schuerholz and England, 42, the pro for 15 years at Chestnut Ridge Country Club, have played perhaps two dozen times over the years.
"We're pretty even," England said. "Indoors, Gil is very strong, with that big serve. Outdoors, on clay, I've got a chance."
Castrilli vs. Bernal had the makings of a dandy feud. It began during the Mid-Atlantics when Bernal called a "let" that angered Castrilli, who then, according to Bernal, retaliated when "I hit a winner that he called out."
Bernal, 25, a Dominican Republic native who played at Miami-Dade Community College and is the assistant pro at Gibson Island Yacht Club, requested an umpire for yesterday's match.
While Schuerholz and England played without one, umpire Jim Cummings was led to caution Bernal after Castrilli said his opponent hurled obscenities at him in Spanish.
"I minored in Spanish," said Castrilli, 27, the Chestnut Ridge assistant pro. "I know what he said. He's a very confident, arrogant guy, and it's uncomfortable to play him."
Castrilli may have been stung by the obscenities, but he has three victories over Bernal as balm.
Pub Date: 6/08/97