The 2014 United States Ladies Open was held at Prince’s Court November 1-3.  The field consisted of ten ladies including top U.S. player Amanda Avedissian and featuring the ladies world number one player, Claire Vigrass.

The early rounds in singles held true to form and saw the debut of Washington’s talented junior upstart, Tess Browne, who showed a fighting spirit and gave the spectators many reasons to believe that she could contend for this title down the road as she continues to develop her game.  Prince’s Court’s own Mary Livingston and Pat Homer used the home court advantage to their benefit by advancing easily through their first round matches.  Speaking of home court advantage, this tournament saw the homecoming of former Prince’s Court ladies champion and now Racquet Club of Philadelphia member, Melissa Purcell, and she looked right at home as she rolled through her first round match and battled the no.2 Avedissian tooth and nail in the semifinal but fell short in her upset bid 6-4, 6-2.  Her doubles partner and fellow Philadelphian, Kathy Carson, matched up against world no. 1 Claire Vigrass in the other semifinal.    Kathy gave it everything she had and didn’t give Claire many free points but Claire had all the answers and moved on to the final with a straight set win.  The final, Vigrass v. Avedissian, was a repeat of the 2012 final where Claire won 6-0, 6-0, so not only did Avedissian want to exact some revenge but Claire also hadn’t lost a game all tournament, so she was bidding to become the first Open champion to win the title without losing a game.  Claire started out focused and precise and jumped out to an early lead, looking every part the champion that she is.  The dedans feared that history would repeat itself and history might be made, but Avedissian fought hard to work her way into the match finally winning a game late in the first set to the delight of the crowd.  However, Claire ensured that that one game was just a minor blip as she put on display a flurry of world class shots and she went on to win the second set and the 2014 U.S. Ladies Open singles title 6-1,6-0.

The plate final featured another very talented Prince’s Court junior, Kornelia Mostrous against Emily Peterson-Cassin, the wife of current Prince’s Court President, Vern Cassin.  Kornelia showed her youthful naiveté by not letting club politics affect her game and was merciless in taking the plate title 10-0 with intelligent and consistent play.  I also suspect Kornelia did not have as much to drink at the tournament dinner as the rest of us!

The doubles field consisted of six teams and featured former champions Vigrass & Avedissian as the number one seed and Purcell & Carson as the no. 2 seed.  En route to the final, Avedissian & Vigrass did not drop a game and Purcell & Carson only lost two games.  Therefore, the final gave Vigrass another shot at being the first player in the Open era to win the title without dropping a game.  Purcell & Carson fought admirably but Claire’s consistently spectacular defense and Avedissian’s crushing volleys proved a relentless combination and the #1 seeds went on to make history 6-0, 6-0.

A big thank you to Steve and Drusilla Hufford, who hosted a wonderful American themed tournament dinner which included BBQ, Apple Pie and an entertaining wine review contest where guests had to review wines using court tennis terms.   In addition, I would like to personally thank our head professional Ivan Ronaldson and intern Mark Mathias for all of their hard work to ensure that this tournament was run in world class fashion.

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