New Zealand-born Claude England won the $1,300 first prize of the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Championships yesterday in the same fashion he had won his five previous tournament matches--without losing a set.
In front of an appreciative crowd of 100 at the Aspen Hill Racquet Club in Silver Spring, the 27-year-old England, now a Baltimore resident, used a change-of-pace game to defeat Deane Frey, 6-2, 6-2. Frey is a sophomore at the University of Georgia.
The fourth-seeded England, a mere 5-foot-2, became only the third player to win three straight Mid-Atlantic titles and the first to do it since 1955.
Frey returned to team with Darryl Wilburn, a University of Virginia sophomore, to win the doubles title, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, from Hank Harris of Alexandria and Skip Bishop of Vienna.
Because they are still amateurs competing at NCAA universities, Frey, from Lynchburg, and Wilburn, from Richmond, could collect no prize money.
England, ranked 420th in the world on the ATP computer, did not give Frey, 18, a chance, hitting mostly to his backhand, getting a high percentage of first serves in, and generally working as a backboard on the slow Har-Tru courts.
"I was trying to mix it up, keep him guessing," said England, who has lived in the United States eight years. "By getting my first serve in I didn't give him a chance to run around my second serve."
The sixth-seeded Frey, who played on a Georgia team that finished fourth in the nation last season, said he "wasn't mentally prepared for the match," having played three matches the day before.
"That was a lot of it," he said. "But he's also superquick. When I thought I had winners, the shot would come right back to me."
To advance to the final, Frey had defeated third-seeded Fred McNair of McLean, 7-5, 6-4, in the semi- finals.
England defeated fifth-seeded Joe Ragland of Washington, 6-1, 6-2, in the semifinals. Ragland had upset top-seeded Tom Cain of Richmond in the quarterfinals.
During the summer, England is a teaching pro in Baltimore, but in the winter he travels the international professional tour. His victory earned him a berth in this month's D.C. National Bank Classic.
In the doubles, fourth-seeded Frey and Wilburn wore down the eighth-seeded Bishop and Harris. Harris was doubles champion in 1980 with Tony Velo.