GJ’s Wright leads U.S. to Connolly Cup crown

Susan Wright represented the United States with flying colors.

The Grand Junction 55-year-old woman helped lead the U.S. women’s 55-older team to the International Tennis Federation Maureen Connolly Cup title earlier this month in San Diego.

The ITF Connolly Cup is similar to the Davis Cup for men or Federation Cup for women.

The American team lost only nine games in eight singles matches. Wright, who played No. 2 singles, lost six games in eight matches, going 4-0. The U.S. team swept Sweden and Canada 3-0 in the preliminary rounds and then swept South Africa in the semifinals.

The U.S. defeated Great Britain 2-1 in the finals, losing the doubles match in three sets. The U.S. won the Maureen Connolly Cup for the sixth consecutive year, but it was the first time Wright played on the U.S. Connolly Cup team.

“The whole experience is really fun,” Wright said. “Winning it is even more special.”

Diane Barker of Daniel Island, S.C., won all four matches at No. 1 singles. Leslie Airola-Murveit of Portola Valley, Calif., and Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., were 3-1 in doubles.

The U.S. Connolly Cup team was the only American team to win a team championship. The men’s 40, 50 and 55-older and the women’s 40 and 50-older teams took silver. Two more teams took bronze.

Wright has been on seven U.S. teams to win an ITF Cup in the past 10 years.

“Diane (Barker) and I have been on the same team for 10 years,” Wright said. “The more you play, the less the pressure.”

The following week, Wright reached the age 55-older singles semifinals in the Senior World Championships in San Diego. She lost only nine games in her first three matches before losing to No. 2 seed and eventual runner-up Patricia Medrado of Brazil in the semifinals.

Wright won the doubles title with Kathy May Fritz of San Diego. They lost 10 games in four matches, beating the American team of Tina Karwasky and Mary Ginnard 6-1, 6-1.


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