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Crews look for cause of outage

July 10, 2003

Bryce Alderton

Lighting installation crews began diligently seeking answers

Wednesday for the cause of a power outage, a day after a glitch

causing the blackout forced some fans to relocate from their paid

seats on Palisades Tennis Club's center court to a grassy knoll

overlooking an outer court during the Newport Beach Breakers' World

Team Tennis home debut Tuesday night.

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Ken Stuart, who bought the Newport Beach club in 1995, said crews located portions of burnt wires under the scoreboard.

"Something caused a shortage to burn those wires," Stuart said.

The lights bordering center court went out after Lindsay

Davenport, who practices at Palisades, increased her lead to 3-0 in a

women's singles match against the Sacramento Capitals' Elena

Likhovtseva during the Breakers' 23-14 victory. The lights had been

on for about 30 minutes prior to going dark.

A third of the more than 2,000 spectators scurried around court

No. 6 to watch the completion of the match.

Some took their folding chairs while others stood on a grass

embankment.

Earlier in the night, the lights on center court would often

flicker on, but within a few minutes, would go out.

The Breakers' Brian MacPhie and the Capitals' Daniel Nestor played

their men's singles match in virtual darkness, using only the

twilight as a guide.

"Disbelief," Lisa Fortman, the club's general manager, said when

asked what her initial reaction was to the malfunction. "You try to

prepare and look at every last detail to make sure everything is in

place. Whether it be a generator, a power, or a lighting issue, we

have crews working ... until 10 p.m., to make sure this will not

happen again."

Crews spent 30 nights testing the lights prior to the Breakers'

opener, according to Stuart, and inserted lights specifically for

television broadcasts.

"They will be here [today], Friday and Saturday testing the lights

to make sure they work," Stuart said. On Saturday, prior to the

Breakers' next home match against the Springfield Lasers, Davenport's

expected final match of the WTT season, crews will redirect some of

the electrical power from the public address system to other on-site

locations to ensure the system can sustain the energy and will remain

on, Stuart said.

Specialists will remain on the premises throughout Saturday's

match should anything go awry, Fortman added.

Stuart said Tuesday was the first time the club has experienced an

outage similar to Tuesday's since he has been at Palisades. Fortman

added that the public has been "supportive" throughout the ordeal.

"I hope our fans feel we have supported them by offering a chance

to come back and see the finished result," she said. "People were

flexible [Tuesday] night in a move to the other court.

"The people that stayed had a great time. Some walked away with

three to four things. We can't be more thankful to the community for

understanding."

Patrons can use their ticket stubs from Tuesday night to gain free

admission future Breakers' matches on July 16, July 20, or July 25.

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