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Why don't we try it again soon?
Emmett Watson
October 20, 1969
But it took 42 years for two old partners to win their second title
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October 20, 1969

Why Don't We Try It Again Soon?

But it took 42 years for two old partners to win their second title

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For all of her outward cordiality, Sarah clearly took her first tournament in 24 years with more than passing seriousness. Early on the first day, she scouted several mixed doubles matches and reported to Alphonso: "There's a certain lady out there—if we meet her, I think we'll give her plenty of lobs." Sarah and Alphonso won their opening match handily 6-1, 6-0. She showed up the next day with several packets of Sportade, a new compound for energy, then bought a floppy hat "because I was having trouble with those indoor lights on my serve." That afternoon she gathered a bucket of balls and a volunteer and went out to practice her serve.

"I'm really nervous—a little," she confessed. "That's why I plan to warm up a bit before each match. I have never played a match in all my days when I wasn't a little nervous, even against poor players. Alphonso is a good partner to have, a sound thinker with a great return of the serve. Not a great volleyer but a good one, very heady, very dependable.

"I still like the net. I'm aggressive, I always loved to run in and put the shot away. Today I run to the net, but I don't put it away as much. But Alphonso is good in the backcourt." Sarah and Alphonso breezed through the quarter-finals 6-2, 6-1, and made the finals when a scheduling gaffe caused Joe Ciano, a judge from San Bernardino, to default by refusing to play a third tough match on Saturday.

The finals on Sunday found Sarah and Alphonso facing the rangy team of Mrs. George Prince of Seattle and Len Dworkin, a retired detective sergeant with the Los Angeles county sheriff's office. That match was delayed for 10 minutes when Sarah dashed off the court after a few warmup shots and raced for the clubhouse. "Good heavens," wailed Alphonso, dropping his racket in mock disgust. "Do you know what she did? She forgot to put on her tennis pants."

Dworkin, a strong hitter, played to Sarah with modestly good results, but Alphonso, serving up an amazing variety of drop shots, backhand chops and a cross-court looping forehand, kept things under control. After flubbing a few early shots, Sarah steadied down at the net and the two old champs won the first set 6-4. Things got a bit sticky in the second set when Dworkin-Prince led 2-0, at which point Alphonso cautioned: "Sarah, be sure of the middle shot. Don't poach unless you're sure of the shot." Sarah and Alphonso pulled even, then went ahead 5-3 and won the set and the match and the title 6-3.

"Oh, we'd have lots of strategy sessions," Sarah beamed happily at the finish. "We decided to mix them up against Mrs. Prince, but she did play awfully well. We figured Mr. Dworkin would poach a lot and try to upset me. He did a bit, but fortunately he didn't aim it at me quite as much as we expected. It was much tougher than 42 years ago. Then we did it on raisins. Today we did it on Sportade."

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