Results of 2005 Silver Racquet and NY Open Handicap (and lots of other racquet sports!)
Silver Racquet: Tanfield in Surgery, Devereaux in Agony; the Games Go On! Victoir is “Victoirious” In Calamity Ridden Silver Racquet
US Open Handicap: Court Tennis’ Answer to March Madness; Veteran Johnstone Left Standing in the A Division: Dan Laukitis Takes B
Barker/Bristowe Take US Amateur Racquets Doubles:
Morris/Ferrera are the Squash Silver Racquet Champs
It was an exhilarating weekend of court tennis, racquets and doubles squash at the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York. As 40 of the best doubles squash players in the world and 25 top racquets players joined 65 court tennis players for an all around spectacular display of bat-and-ball-manship. It was one of those weekends where every player seemed to be in top form and each match was more exciting than the last.
The Silver Racquet singles is an invitational singles court tennis tournament for the top 16 available US amateurs. The seeds (and their handicaps) highlight the level of talent in the draw:
1) Nicolas Victoir (+2)
2) Alexis Hombrecher (7.5)
3) Lex Miron (8.1)
4) Barney Tanfield (9.8)
5) Guy Devereux (10.6)
Tanfield def. Devereux (3-6, 6-3, 6-1)
Victoir def. Jonathan Larken (6-3, 6-1)
Miron def. Jeremy Wintersteen (6-0, 6-3) Hombrecher def. Herlihy (thoroughly)
Saturday’s match between Barney Tanfield and Guy Devereux is worth noting as Tanfield and Devereux, the US amateur game’s two hardest forcers, have put on some epic battles over the last several years. This time however, both men were questionable for the draw just days before the event, with Tanfield nursing a foot and Devereux a knee. Then as the weekend got going Devereux was hit in the face (twice perhaps) on Friday with racquets bats causing swollen wounds under each eye and later he was the victim of small-children-induced sleep deprivation on Friday night. Needless to say, Devereux and the limping Tanfield both looked battle worn by match time. Devereux got off to a quick start and won the first set 6-3 and it looked as though once again, despite their similar handicaps, Devereux still had Tanfield’s number. However, Barney fought back in the second set taking it 6 games to 3, which seemed to deflate Devereux who would go on to lose the 3rd set quickly.
Following the match, BOTH Tanfield and Devereux would end up in the hospital. Tanfield checked in for emergency foot surgery and would have to default his semi-final match to Nicolas Victoir. A short time later, Devereux was carted off by paramedics to join Barney in the hospital after collapsing in agony from full-body cramps following a stunning upset in the Racquets US Amateur over Guy Smith-Bingham, who is widely believed to be the best player in the world. Devereux, ever the tenacious competitor, checked out of the hospital on Sunday and ordered the taxi straight back to the Racquet and Tennis Club just in time for his finals match in the Racquets US Amateur. However, he couldn’t continue the heroics as he lost the final to Jonathan Larken in straight games.
Miron def. Hombrecher (6-4, 5-6, 6-5)
Tanfield withdraws, defaulting to Victoir
The Miron/ Hombrecher match was perhaps the most anticipated of the weekend. Alexis Hombrecher is a great American lawn tennis player who learned the game while studying at Cambridge and has been working and playing in England for the past several years. Alexis recently moved to New York and is sure to be a major force in US Amateur court tennis for many years to come. Lex Miron has played very little court tennis since moving to San Francisco two years ago. However, Lex has kept up his game and some say he has somehow continued to improve! The match lived up to its billing with several perfect shots required to win each point. Lex was characteristically the aggressor out of the gates, with Hombrecher using his 6’7″ to make impossible gets. Lex won the first set 6-4. The next set was very tight with neither player able to reach a two game cushion, until Hombrecher went up 5-3. Miron fought back to 5-5, at which point Hombrecher turned up his game and won the deciding 11th game decisively from the receiving side, with the help of three dedans forces!
The tide seemed to have turned with Hombrecher winning the biggest points early in the 3rd set. He went up 3-0 and then 5-1 and had Miron looking for answers. The match looked over. Then in the methodical Miron manner one-by-one point-by-point Lex crawled his way back 5-2, 5-3, 5-4…. 5-5! Then in the final game Hombrecher went up 40-15 to see his first two match points, but he couldn’t convert. A flurry of great shots, amazing retrievals, tight chases, deuces, match points, and a chase off at better than a yard ensued… In all each man would have three match points in the game, when finally Lex hit a curling forehand to the battery wall under the last gallery that Hombrecher was unable to return… Game, set, match to Miron.
Victoir def. Miron (6-2, 6-4)
Frenchman Nicolas Victoir, is a great pal of Alexis Hombrecher’s from Cambridge/ Oxford lawn tennis days and the best player in France has also recently moved to New York and sports the best handicap of any amateur currently living in the US at +2. Miron played Victoir even at times but alas it wasn’t to be today as Victoir played the big points and big games flawlessly.
NEW YORK OPEN HANDICAP
The March Madness of the Court Tennis calendar. Anything can happen when 60 players from around the world are dropped unseeded into two draws (A and B) to play 8-game pro sets with 40-minute time limits on two courts over three days.
In the A Division, Charlie Johnstone survived match after match as he defeated nearly every pro in the country on route to victory. Johnstone defeated last year’s finalist, Dick Tanfield and professionals Charlie Crossley (8-1), Ged Eden (7-5), Mike Gooding (10-9), and Gabe Kinzler (10-9) to earn more of the engraved silver that he holds so dear.
Kinzler had defeated Addison West (8-6) and Alexis Hombrecher (10-8) on his way to the final. On match point in the semis against Hombrecher, Kinzler was defending chase two yards, when he slipped and went down hard missing the ball. He was lying on the court thinking he’d just sprained his ankle and would be defaulting the match, when the marker declared, “game, set, match… KINZLER” as Hombrecher’s shot had fallen WORSE than 2! Luckily, Gabe’s ankle seemed in fine form by the afternoon for the final against Johnstone, which was as close as it could be going down to 9-9 40-all (of course) match ball when Charlie smacked a brilliant forehand to the grill to win it!
In the B Division, Chris Moore, Arthur Drane, Dick Poholek, and Claudio Gauzzoni provided many of the highlights in a series of tough matches and earned some great wins in the 32-player B-division draw. However, it would be perennial competitor, Arnold Spangler (the Kansas of the NYOH bracket) against USCTA freshman and fellow Tuxedoman, Dan Laukitis in the final. Arnold went down 8-2 in the 10-game pro set, but no one told Laukitis that Spangler is never out of a match. Spangler marched back to tie the match at 8-8, before Laukitis found his earlier form again and won the final two games for his first tour victory.
In other Silver Racquet games this weekend, Thorold Barker and Willie Bristowe defeated Todd Meringoff and Nelson Russell 3 games to 2 in the final of the US Amateur Racquets doubles. The draw became wide open when prohibitive favorites Jonathan Larken and Guy Devereux defaulted in the semi, as Guy went down to injury. The experienced Brits beat the Boston up and comers in a very close 5-game match. Meringoff and Russell would have been the first American-born players to win the US Amateur doubles since Eddie Ulmann in 1994. Guy Smith-Bingham and Robin Geffen overwhelmed the field in the Silver Racquet winning the final 2-0 over Meringoff and Russell. Whitten Morris and Michael Ferrera defeated Soli Mehta and Rick Wahlstedt in the Squash Silver Racquet final.