BALTIMORE, JUNE 27 -- Top-seeded Naty Alvarado of Hesperia, Calif., defeated Vern Roberts, 10-21, 21-8, (11-3), here today to win his sixth consecutive U.S. Handball Association championship.
The victory, at the Merritt Athletic Club, gave Alvarado his ninth title overall, tying him with Joe Platek.
"I kept thinking of Platek's record," Alvarado said. "I tried not to, because it made it hard for me to concentrate."
A game up and leading, 8-3, in the second game, Roberts, the third seed, seemingly was in total control of the match.
"I was very worried," Alvarado said. "He was moving me around and controlling the front court.
"But in the second game, I was able to get my serve going. That put him on the defensive and let me make the kill shots."
From a 3-8 deficit, Alvarado came back to win 18 straight points and the game.
Taking the ball off the back wall and killing it in the opposite corners, Alvarado jumped to early first-game leads of 7-3 and 9-5. However, Roberts rallied back and won the 16 of the game's last 17 points.
Roberts maintained his momentum in the second game, grabbing the 8-3 advantage.
But then came the point that changed the match. Roberts served, and the two exchanged shots from the front court. Alvarado eventually won the point, killing the ball in the left corner.
Roberts called a timeout. Exhausted, he would win only six more points; reborn, Alvarado found his rhythm and his serve. Roberts was unable to run down shots as he had in the first game. Alvarado went on his tear and easily won the game, 21-8.
The tie breaker was more of the same. Alvarado won the first eight points, and the title was his.
Silver Spring's Roger Berry, the sixth seed, lost to top-seeded Dave Morones, 15-21, 21-3, (11-6), in the final of the 35-and-over division.
In the 40-and-over division, No. 1 seed Pat Kirby, 52, defeated No. 2 Larry Aguiar, 21-11, 21-15, to win his seventh division title.