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LOCAL SPORTING goods stores are having tremendous sales on racquet sports equipment, just in time for the Christmas rush.

Herman's Sporting Goods has the Prince Graphtech DB tennis racket on sale for $99.99. This wide-body racket originally sold for $150. World Tennis magazine tested it and said it was one of the most flexible rackets they have tested. Herman's also has other tennis rackets such as Head, Wilson and Donnay, for as low as $49.99.

All of these are high quality wide-body tennis rackets. They are priced to suit almost any budget.

Herman's also has a sale on Ektelon racquetball rackets, the acknowledged leader in the field. The EktelonToron oversized is selling $149.99, nearly a $20 savings from its original price. The racket is strung at 50 pounds, making it one of the most powerful produced. Other high quality Ektelon rackets may be purchased for as little as $32 at Herman's.

Penn racquetballs are on sale at Herman's and Dunham's Sporting Goods for the unheard price of $1.99. When one considers most local clubs are selling the same product for $4 or more, it is easy to see the savings involved.

Tennis balls such as Wilson, Penn or Dunlop may also be purchased at local sporting goods stores for the bargain price of $2.29. At this price, now is an ideal time to stock up.

Dunham's has junior size Wilson tennis rackets for under $20 and a ProKennex racquetball kit for $29.99. The kit includes an aluminum oversized racket, a Challenger eye guard, and one can of Pro Kennex racquetballs. This is a 25 percent discount off the regular price. Dunham's also has Ektelon racquetball gloves on sale for $6.99.

If you are looking for more expensive tennis rackets, Racquets and More is selling the new Wilson Hammer for $279. The racket weighs in at a mere 10 ounces. The sweet spot is enlarged and the racket is practically vibration free.

A DonnayAgassi racket may be purchased for $239. Rackets and More also has a complete line of racquetball rackets and the new wide-body squash rackets at reduced prices.

Dave Todoroff's Shop at the Village Glen is having a wide body tennis racket sale. Two of the most popular rackets on the market, the Dunlop Impact Pro at $99, and the Head Orion at $110, are on sale.

Ace Racquet Shop has one of the best holiday sales in town. They are selling the Wilson Profile racket for slightly under $200. However, you also receive a pair of Wilson Plexus sneakers, a retail value of $98, absolutely free. That is a hard deal to pass up.

Ace also is the acknowledged leader in stringing rackets with nine machines on the premises. Prices start at $15. In most instances, your racket will be strung while you wait.

Other tennis sneakers that are extremely popular are the Reebok Pump and Nike Air. Although the Reebok Pump sells for $120, the pump mechanism allows you to pump air into the sneakers to give the most comfortable fit possible. Many feel the price is well worth the investment. Nike Air sneakers are very comfortable and give great support. They range in price from $75 and up. However, other high quality tennis sneakers are available from Reebok and Nike for considerably less.

For racquetball, Ektelon has a complete line of sneakers in low, medium and high top. They run $50 and up.

If you are interested in knowing what the score of your tennis match is at all times, you might want to purchase the Wilson Tennis Watch, available for $39. The watch gives you the game, set, and match score at a glance, has built-in deuce and tie-breaker functions, and can be used as a regular watch. Send check or money order to: Prime Time, P.O. Box 4568, Dept. TM-1100, Bryan, Texas 77805. Or, for quick delivery, call 1-800-526-9407, ext. 100.

Along the same line, but much cheaper, is the VELSCORE for $12.95. Send check or money order to: VELSCORE, P.O. Box 5377, Venture, CA 93003.

A new tennis rebound net is produced by Golden Shine, Inc., 4705 E. La Palma Ave., Suite Q, Anaheim, CA 92807. The rebound net is an excellent training aid for both beginners and experts. It is easy to assemble, adjusts to different tensions for rebounding at different speeds, and is weatherproof. It retails for $89.95. Call 1-800-852-8525 for information.

If you enjoy taking tennis vacations but aren't sure where you would like to travel, The World's Best Tennis Vacations by Roger Cox is an excellent book. Cox gives you up-to-date information on facilities, where to travel according to your playing ability, and the amenities each vacation spot offers. It costs $12.95 and is published by Stephen Greene Press, Pelham Books, New York, N.Y.

Epstein impressive in tourney

Rachel Epstein, 17, of Williamsville, has been training at the Rick Macci Tennis Center in Florida for the past 4 1/2 months. During Thanksgiving weekend she reached the quarterfinals on the National 18 & Under USTA Singles Championships in Kansas City. She advanced in four rounds, including a victory over Jill Craybus, the fifth-ranked player in the United States in the 16 and Under division, before losing to No. 1-ranked Kim Shasby, who is ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 18 & Under division. Colleges that are interested in Epstein for next year are Duke, Columbia, Princeton, William and Mary, and Northwestern.

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