IMG_0449The Aiken Tennis Club hosted eleven professionals and two amateurs Dec 5-7 to compete in The U.S. National Open. Tournament Director Dacre Stoker received plenty of technical support from Camden Riviere to organize the Main draw and he also assisted in adding a Satellite and Pro Am event. Members of the ATC bought up many of the available tickets. Social Chair Michael Sullivan and his able committee put together two fabulous evenings of drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres to sustain the galleries during the long hours and late nights of non-stop tennis action.

Highlights of the early rounds included a very spirited three set match between Rich Smith (NTC) and Adrian Kemp (NYR&TC). Many of us had not seen such athletic displays as Adrian climbing the main wall on numerous occasions to volley ballsdestined for the grill. We were also treated to a very exciting three set victory for Barney Tanfield over Josh Dodgson 5-6 6-2 6-1. Hometown amateur favorite Ben Cook played some excellent tennis in a loosing effort against Boston based Matt Ronaldson 6-1 2-6 6-3.

Both the finals on Sunday were a contrast in scores. The Satellite final was won in a nail biter by Tuxedo assistant Josh Dodgson 6-3 5-6 6-5 over Boston’s Head Pro Tony Hollins, who has shown us he is well on his way back after an ankle injury forced a long layoff.

The Pro Am doubles was made up of three teams who played a round robin event; John Lumley (RCOP) played with Anders Cohen, Matt Ronaldson played with Geoff Ellis and Gabe Kinzler played with Bob Cook. Ronaldson/Ellis prevailed over Kinzler/ Cook in the Sunday final.

The players in the Main draw, World #1 Camden Riviere from Aiken and Charleston, and World #8 James Stout (NYR&TC) breezed to the final. Both players had recently participated in the British Open and many wondered what effect this would have on their games. As it turned out Camden’s floor game never gave James a chance to hit many attacking shots and his retrievals kept James on the receiving end of the court for most of the match. There were plenty of long rallies with both players electrifying the crowd with incredible digs out of the corners, however the point usually ended favorably for Camden who prevailed in the match 6-2 6-0 6-1.

On Sunday afternoon ATC members, Morgan Purvis, Jason Rabun, Rob Johnston, Bob Hottensen, Bob Storey, Brian Owens, and guest Dr. Anders Cohen generously treated the pros to a round of golf at The Palmetto Golf Club.