Easter weekend in Aiken and the Knox Doubles 2014.
The draw was a little lighter than in recent years, we had 13 teams in round robin pool play, assuring every team at least 2, 3 set matches before half of the draw moved on to quarter final knock out stage. The social events were well attended even if we had to move the Saturday dinner indoors.
On the opening Wednesday Charlie Bostwick and Dan Villiers sent shock waves thru the draw by posting a three set upset over M Sullivan and G Ellis 4-6 6-5 6-5. Villiers was all over the court blasting shots while Bostwick handled the role of guarding galleries and serving tightly. They made it to the quarter finals by getting one set of Motz and Carey in pool play before losing in a well fought match against Ben Cook and Amanda Avedissian 6-5 6-3.
The old warhorses Rick Preston and Paul Sauerborn played their best tennis in their quarter final match while losing a nail biter against the young upstarts Dillon Aldrich and Peter Cipriano. They lost the first set 6-0 before they masterfully slowed the pace down and controlled play all the way thru the match, they won the second set 6-3 and had the 3rd set tied at 5 all 40 all before an uncharacteristic racket error knocked them out of the quarterfinals.
Andrew Gould able served, returned serve and defended galleries while son James covered every other inch of the court and generated more pace on the ball and accuracy then recently seen at the ATC by amateurs. They lost in a thrilling quarterfinal match to eventual champions Jasani and Mengel 5-6 6-3 6-2.
Peter Cipriano and Dillon Aldrich were the surprise team of the tournament; they came in with handicaps in the mid-thirties and quickly improved so much throughout their matches that they ended up in the low twenties. They bowed out in the semifinals to Ellis and Sullivan in a tight 3 setter which saw some amazing rallies and high paced winners. Aldrich showed his court savvy by combining a variety of hard pace balls to openings with brilliant retrieving. These two guys should keep playing together; they will win a few tournaments!
Ryan Carey and Kris Motz lost a close match against Sullivan and Ellis, eventual finalists, 6-5 6-4, overcoming a significant handicap and some untimely racket errors. However, they won a close 3 setter vs C Bostwick and D Villiers, but since they lost a set in the process, they did not advance to the quarterfinals due to the tie breaker system.
Brian Owens has improved his all round game and with the help of hard hitting Will Hartigan, a former Cornell squash player, posed a serious threat on court. Brian did an excellent job of directing-mentoring Will throughout their matches. Will can volley and retrieve like a player in the mid-teens, once he learns to serve tactically and return serve he will be a force to reckon with. They lost both of their matches in pool play.
The match featuring Bob Cook and Morgan Purvis versus Anders Cohen and Lou Papouchado was a back and forth duel of serving tactics and pace. Each team sported a left hander who possessed an excellent railroad, while Purvis and Papouchado provided a variety of serves to trap the opposing player in their corner. They fast pace seemed to get the better of Papouchado as Purvis and Cook prevailed.
Mike McElroy and Bryan Halterman lost both of their matches, one versus Dick Tanfield and Peter Vogt and the other versus B Cook and Avedissian. They both played well enough at times but it seemed that as a team they did not possess enough weapons to finish off crucial points.
It was a treat to host Dick Tanfield and his partner Peter Vogt, in Aiken, both RCOP members who play the game with effective but contrasting styles. Dick always seems to be in the right position to hit smooth shots with great accuracy. Peter is a gritty player who returns many balls and can hit targets and cover the backcourt surprisingly well for a middle aged player. Both players are gracious in victory and defeat on and off the court.
Ben Cook teamed up with an unlikely partner for this tournament, Amanda Avedissian, who had to play off of a 23 handicap (6 less than normal due to our min 12 differential rule)
As a result they had to give away more handicap points than normal. They reached the semifinals by playing brilliant tactical handicap doubles. Both players served in such a manner that they too limited their opponent’s ability to attack, and they did their best with Amanda defending galleries and Ben controlling the floor. They lost to the eventual champions, who just had too many weapons for them to handle.
Geoff Ellis and Mike Sullivan rebounded from their first match defeat in pool play and made a run before losing in the finals. Both players played smart tennis as they dealt with both giving away and receiving handicap points throughout the tournament. Their best match was a come from behind three set victory over Cipriano and Aldrich in the semis. Both players combined timely attacking shots with off pace returns which kept their hard hitting opponents off balance when needed.
Rakish Jasani and Jason Mengel have jelled as a team since their victories in the recent Whitney Cup in December. Jasani simply gets everything back, and seems to hit winners at crucial times. Mengel continues to improve his all round game and has become more of an all court player then just playing the up man to defend galleries. Both players served and retuned serve very well throughout the tournament. They deserved to win this year’s Knox by playing very consistent tennis.
For complete results,