While Darren Yates and Bruce Man Son Hing were warming up for their semifinal doubles match in Saturday's Adoption Guild tournament at the Newport Beach Tennis Club, Yates told his partner, "I was so nervous last night, I couldn't sleep."
The butterflies showed in the first three games when Yates and Man Son Hing won only one point during the service games of Syd Ball and Dan Turbow, who led 2-1.
"I was so nervous I couldn't move," Yates said after the match. "Then I relaxed."
Once he did, Yates and Man Son Hing went on to win the match, 6-4, 6-4, and qualify for today's men's doubles final in the championship division against Chris Dunk and Robert van't Hof, who beat Mike Briggs and Ross Case, 7-5, 6-3, in the other semifinal match Saturday.
"Dunk and van't Hof are a very strong team, but if we can play like we've been playing lately, I think we have a chance to win," said Man Son Hing, who played doubles with Yates for UC Irvine this year.
Said van't Hof: "We returned serve really well today, and that was the difference. Man Son Hing and Yates are a good team, and they both have big serves, so it should be a good match."
For the first time in the 25-year-old tournament, prize money is being offered, but only to the men's championship division finalists. Members of the winning team will receive $2,000 each, and the losing team will collect $500 each. The tournament benefits the Adoption Guild, which uses money raised to help needy families.
In the semifinals of the women's open division, Barbara Lemberg and Gretchen Miller defeated Debbie Graham and Noelle Porter, 7-5, 6-4. Lemberg and Miller play Lea Antonopolis and Tracy Worley in today's final. They beat Dorey Brant and Mary Beth Young, 6-4, 6-4.
In the semifinals of the mixed open division, van't Hof and Porter beat Susie Warfield and Steve Simon, 6-3, 6-4; and Linda Mallory and Dave Sherbeck defeated Jennifer Slattery and Eric Quade, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (11-9).
Tim Downey and Tom Olmstead won the men's open division over Tim Anderson and Dick Gude, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.