The Jimmy Knott singles tournament was played in Boston the weekend of 20-22 March 2009. The draw was compact, but the attendees and spectators were treated to some great, high-level tennis.
The matches started on Friday night with two feed-in matches – Ryan Carey played Jeff Horine, and Mike McElroy played Warren Knapp. The first match was between Jeff and Ryan, and was a well-played and long match. Jeff, who plays in Boston, has just gotten into court tennis, but has made great progress, and certainly demonstrated he was fit to play at this level. Ryan, an experienced player with a deceptively quick racquet, felt comfortable that youth and experience would prevail – until the first ball was served. Both players hit a lot of pace, a lot of angles, and Ryan took the first set. Jeff fought back, though; winning a tough second set to even the match, and then went on to prevail in the third set after almost two and one-half hours. After this match Warren Knapp (recent winner of the Echebaster Cup) took the court against Mike McElroy. Neither player had met before in a competitive match. It took a while for the match to even out – McElroy took a quick 5-2 lead in the first set, but Knapp came back to even the match at 5-5 before losing the first set 6-5. That really was a heart-breaker, and the second set went easily to McElroy 6-1.
Saturday saw four good matches. The first pitted Jeremy Wintersteen against McElroy. Both players are frequent opponents in Boston, but in this instance Wintersteen came out on top pretty easily, 6-2 and 6-2 in straight sets. The second match of the morning pitted Australian Amy Hayball against Horine. While the odds-makers might have chosen Hayball, Horine had really stepped up his game recently, and the crowd knew it was going to be an evenly-contested match. In the end, Horine prevailed in straight sets, as his strong volleying, good serving and some unforced errors from Amy allowed him to continue through to the next round. The afternoon session pitted Wintersteen against Shawn Herlihy in another match against frequent Boston competitors. Shawn started strong, as his strong serving and volleying led Jeremy to some abnormal unforced errors and a first set victory 6-5. Jeremy rallied back the second set, however, evening the match at a set each after winning 6-5. The final set turned out to be anti-climactic, as Jeremy ended up pulling it out 6-1 to advance to the finals. He had to wait to find out his opponent, as Pat Winthrop met Horine in the other semi-final match. Pat, who won this season’s USCTA Most Improved Player Award, proved to be too tough and experienced for Horine, and ended up winning his match easily in two sets 6-0, 6-2.
Sunday saw a competitive final between Winthrop and Wintersteen. Both players hit some great shots, and the patience of both players was exemplary. Pat did a great job retrieving Jeremy’s deep shots to his backhand corner on the service end, and was able to prevail in a competitive first set 6-5. Jeremy rallied back in the second set, though, to level the match at a set with a 6-5 win of his own. The third set saw Pat get a large lead 5-1, followed by Jeremy getting deep leg cramps that slowed him down a bit. It looked like would be the end of his run; however, Jeremy regained some traction and to take three games in a row when it looked as though things were over before Pat closed out the third set 6-4 to win the match.
The T&R would like to thank all this year’s competitors, and congratulate Pat as the 2009 Knott champion.