Camden Riviere captured his fourth consecutive U.S. Professional Singles title (playing for the Schochet Cup) in Newport capping off a spectacular year for the 26 year old lefty from Aiken. Just a year earlier, coming off a long shoulder injury, Riviere surprised everyone, including himself, by winning the 2012 U.S. Pro Singles. Since then, Riviere has compiled an impressive record; winning in 2012 – the French Open Singles, the IRTPA Championships and European Open. He’s kept up the pace in 2013 by adding the National Open, U.S. Open and the U.S. Pro Singles titles. There were two losses along the way – in the semis of the British Open to Rob Fahey and the final of the Australian Open to Steve Virgona – but still, it’s been a great year for Riviere.
This year’s Pro Singles attracted many of the top players in what has become one of the most popular tournaments on the pro circuit. Consisting of two draws – the Main Draw and the Satellite – 20 players competed in the week long tournament. The top eight players automatically go into the main draw, while the remaining eight spots are determined by the first round satellite results.
The early round matches went as expected with the action picking up in the semifinals. Riviere had a tough five-setter with Bryn Sayers in the first semi. Riviere was playing injured with an over-extended Achilles tendon which he tweaked at two-all in the third set. Down two games to five, Riviere managed to win that set 6/5, despite the fear of putting too much weight on the foot and the fear of further damaging the tendon. The fourth set went to Sayers pretty quickly. In the fifth set, Riviere controlled the set, while minimizing his running and took the set and the match 6/2.
The other semifinal featured Rob Fahey against Steve Virgona. Virgona, fresh off a win in the Australian Open came out with guns blazing and took the first set 6/5. He was up 5/2 in the second set, when Fahey took charge and rattled off four games to win the second set 6/5. Fahey hung in by stepping up his game to the next level, and frustrating Virgona, by taking the third set 6/2. In the fourth set, Virgona put up a good fight, but Fahey had found his footing and won the set and match.
Meanwhile, in the Satellite Draw, John Lumley of Radley took on Newport’s Head Pro – Rich Smith – for the finals. Smith, playing with an injury, played a good match, but Lumley’s retrieving and solid game proved to be too strong. Lumley won the match 6/2, 6/1.
On Saturday, the golf outing got rained out, but there was plenty of action at the club. Lucian Forbes teamed up with Nick Howell to win the Pro/Am final over Steve Devoe and Lewis Williams. Prior to dinner on the club’s East Porch, overlooking the grounds of the Hall of Fame, Sayers played Virgona in the third/fourth playoff. In an entertaining and close match, Sayers defeated Virgona in three sets 5/6, 6/5, 6/4.
The final between Riviere and Fahey was played on Sunday. Riviere, with two day’s rest under his belt and a doctor’s assurance that he would not further damage his Achilles was ready to go. Riviere is comfortable on the Newport court, where “free” points are hard to come by and retrieving is everything. He spent a lot of time on the service end, serving a “spinney, shortish railroad” into the nick, preventing Fahey from hitting his signature force into the dedans. By setting up a cross court return, Riviere had ample time to get to the ball and basically force a retrieving game.
Riviere took the first set 6/3. The second set got to five-all with Riviere comfortable with his game and retrieving well. Riviere won the set, attributing his win to being more “tournament tough – it’s the big difference when the match gets tight”, he said. Fahey wasn’t as comfortable with his game, missing some easy shots in key points. Riviere went on to win the third set 6/2 and stamping his name on the Schochet Cup Trophy for the fourth consecutive year.
As always, the tournament was a great success for the professionals and spectators. No report would be complete without a huge thank you to Newport, the tournament organizer – Rich Smith and of course, all of the sponsors that make the event possible. Finally, a special shout-out to Jay and Suzy Schochet for their continued support of the U.S. Professional Singles playing for The Schochet Cup.
Finally, what’s up next for Riviere? It’s going to be a busy fall for him and all of the pros as the race towards the 2014 World Championship comes to a close. Starting with the French Open and Doubles World Championship in September, followed by the European Open, Victorian Open, IRTPA Championships and British Open In November; it’s going to be an exciting time for professional tennis. Stay tuned!