Not disheartened by a first game drubbing (3), the team of James Coyne and Will Hopton overcame a 1-12 and 7-14 second game deficits to win that game 17-14 on the strength of a 10 point service run by Will. The third and final game proved to be worth all the excitement, nip-and-tuck all the way, until Will served out from 11 all for a 15-11 game and match win.
Game one notes: Champions, Alex Titchener-Barrett and Tim Cockroft, used 7 aces (3-4 hammer serves by Alex) en route to 15-3 trouncing as challengers only were able to serve 7 times in total (hard to score 15 points with only 7 serves!). ATB and Tim Cockroft looked invincible as they threw the challengers pretty much a close equivalent of a baseball no-hitter.
Game two notes: Champs cruise out to a 10-0 lead and all looks pretty bleak for challengers and lead gets to 12-1 and then 14-3. As heard from the gallery, “it’s always darkest JUST before it all goes completely pitch black.” NOT! Champs had 5 game balls but failed to convert any of them and lo and behold Hoppy served out from a 14-7 deficit to win 17-14.He used a total of 17 serves and, Will being first hand, poor ole Coynie didn’t have a chance to participate in the serving side of things on the close out. But The Coynesaurus contributed mightily after several miscues in the first game and helped produce some spectacular shots with those quick hands of his. Two aces for TC/ATB and three for JC/WH in that game.Truly a magnificent comeback rally for the new champions.
Game Three notes: Only on the 12th serve was the very first point tallied and the game was nip-and-tuck pretty much the whole way. With the game tied at 11 all and the total point score now seemingly becoming very much part of the equation, the service box was again the property of Will from that point on. Game and match to the former challengers and newly minted World Champions, 15-11. A HUGE collective sigh of relief came from the crowd when Hoppy beat Coyne to it by first jumping into Coyne’s arms instead of the reverse!
Officiating so superbly were Eton professional Peter Brake and Queen’s Club professional Ben Snell. The post mortem remarks were so eloquently made to a full gallery by John Prenn. Realtennis.tv also used FOUR cameras to keep watchers from Columbia, SA (Ben Bomford) and North America very well entertained thanks to Frederika Adams.Thanks also to the brilliant commentary by Mark Agate and Oli “Chopper” Harris. To anyone we haven’t acknowledged we apologize! Until next season, fellow racketeers au revoir!
Al Titchener-Barrett/Tim Cockroft seek to defend their World Doubles title against James Coyne/Will Hopton in Chicago, your kind of town. Also the hugely popular Walsh Cup (+60s) and Kendrick Cup (novice) will take place.
After slow start losing the first game 15-4, James Stout got better each game, winning next three over Alex Titchener-Barrett 15-9, 15-4, and 15-1 to win the US Open Rackets Championship. ATB started the first game with a variety of off speed serves in an attempt to keep Stout off balance. Stout seemed to be playing a bit more back than usual, allowing ATB to win points cutting the ball to a shorter length. The strategy worked as ATB rolled to a first game victory. In the second game, Stout got up to a quick 7-1 lead. By 10-5, the pace had picked up and rallies were getting longer. ATB battled hard but was never able to make up for Stout’s early 6 point lead, losing 15-9. In games 3 and 4, Stout put more and more pressure on ATB. In addition to Stout’s effortless movement around the court, his ability to hold the ball and add deceptions to his shots is far beyond what any other player is doing in the game today. Stout again built quick, early leads of 5-1 and 9-1 respectively. These were hills too steep to climb with Stout closing out the last two games 15-4 and 15-1 to retain the US Open title.
The US Open Doubles Championship was also won by James Stout and his partner Mike Gooding. The two New York pros made relatively quick work of it, winning 15-9, 15-8, and 15-5, over World #4 and #5, Will Hopton and James Coyne. Despite the comfortable margin of victory, there were several rallies that many thought were among the best they had ever seen. With Coyne and Hopton up 7-6 in the second game, the crowd saw a tremendous rally with multiple balls that seemed to be sure put-aways before they witnessed miraculous retrievals to keep the rally alive. The crowd let out a huge ovation when Stout finally put the ball away 25 or so hits later. A few minutes on, with Stout and Gooding up 9-7, there was another rally nearly as good. But the best point many of us have ever seen, may have been at 10-8 during another rally of tremendous attacking shots and unbelievable retrievals. Late in the rally, Hopton caught both of his opponents in the back of the court and managed to lay down a short ball – almost a drop. Stout came flying out of the back court and dove for the ball. He managed to retrieve it while sliding semi—sideways on his chest. Coyne (I think) sent Stout’s return to the back of the court. Stout was already up, tearing after it when he realized it had gone to his partner who was in the act of returning it once again. His only option was to dive again, this time sliding just under Gooding’s return which sadly hit the telltale.
There were many exciting and well played matches in the earlier rounds. Of particular note to this writer, was the improving play of Richard Owen who took Alex Titchener-Barrett to five games in the quarter-finals, and Nick James who was a human barricade on the left side of the doubles court. NOTHING got past him.
Thanks to the professionals and staff at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia who made the weekend a great success and all those who travelled to participate.
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