NEW YORK OPEN HANDICAP
The Racquet and Tennis Club hosted the The Silver Racquet November 4th-8th.
The event continues to be a highlight of both the tournament and social schedule for the Racquet sport community in North America and Europe. In addition to 7 fantastic draws played in Racquets, Tennis and Doubles Squash, the club hosted a Stag Dinner on Thursday Night for 50+ and magical Saturday Night Dinner Dance for nearly 600 eager partygoers.
The Tennis portion of the Silver Racquet weekend continues to draw in many players from the US and abroad. This year 85 entrants competed in 81 matches for 4 titles: The New York Open Handicap A, B and C draws as well as the coveted Silver Racquet Invitational Tennis Singles.
New York Open Handicap “A” Division
Six professionals were among the 22 entrants in the “A” Division. Unquestionably, R&TC’s Senior Assistant Professional, Adrian Kemp enjoyed his path to the final most. Adrian first logged an impressive 8-3 win over top amateur Henry Mullan and then took down both his colleagues Barney Tanfield and James Stout (R&TC head professionals in Tennis and Racquets respectively) in quick and tidy fashion. Adrian’s only issue on his side of the draw came from the R&TC’s own Tom McGinnis. McGinnis was battling with Kemp and down 5-4, when an injury forced him to retire from the match.
The story of the “A” draw was the coming out of Ben Stein. Stein, one of the R&TC’s most promising young players, had an unbelievable comeback against Queens Club’s Nick Warner in the Round of 16, edging him 8-7 and having faced many match points. Subsequent rounds saw Stein improving rapidly and dropping just 4 more games on his way to the title, one in the Quarter Final to the R&TC’s Rahul Vinnakota, one in the Semi Final to the R&TC’s Will Thompson and two in the Final to Kemp. Having celebrated his engagement on Friday, Stein would again celebrate good fortune just two days later with a fantastic effort and win.
New York Open Handicap “B” Division
The “B” division produced some of the tightest matches of the weekend. Half the first and second round matches concluded with 8-7 finishes. Brad Corbin, the eventual winner would produce just such a victory in the Round of 16 against fellow R&TC member, Shep Skiff. Corbin’s stoic demeanor baffled onlookers as he traversed a draw of very worthy opponents.
Notable performances came from Tuxedo’s Josh Scherer (Quarter Finalist), Paris’ Philippe Travis (Semi Finalist) and a number of younger R&TC members including; Dylan Patterson (Quarter Finalist), Philip Stockton (Semi Finalist) and Parker Brickley (Finalist). Brickley’s pace and tenacity were impressive throughout the event and continuously tested the newly installed dedans netting. Corbin’s ability to counter was the difference and the 10-6 score only partially reflected how close the match actually was.
New York Open Handicap “C” Division
The “C” Division had 26 entrants representing 7 different clubs. The field saw a nice mixture of first time entrants and seasoned veterans. It was a group of four first time entrants, who made out the Semi Final round.
The bottom Semi Final pitted the R&TC’s Rob von Althann against Bristol and Bath’s James Blackburn. Rob was impressive in his first competition but the Brit was even more so. James had overcome sizable handicaps throughout the event and managed to do so again besting Rob 8-5.
In the top Semi Final, R&TC former Summer Guest Will Fantini, played another young British upstart Louis Winstanley. The match was played early on Sunday and the contestants fatigue was more than visible. Fantini was the better on the morning and completed the match with an unscathed 8-0 win.
The Final was more of the same from Fantini, who impressed all with his retrieving and style. Will started the tournament as an untested squash player but undoubtedly finished a full-fledged convert. Fantini won in a top performance, 10-1, despite a rowdy British contingent backing their own Blackburn.
THE SILVER RACQUET INVITATIONAL TENNIS SINGLES
12 Players from 7 clubs competed for the Silver Racquet Invitational Tennis Singles.
The field was impressive with many of the top amateurs based in the U.S. and three players attempting to repeat previous glory (Lex Miron, Bill Barker and Pat Winthrop).
The matches proceeded largely as expected in the Round 16 but saw several upsets in the Quarter Final. First, Hard-hitting Guy Devereux upset Danny McBride (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) despite impressive retrieving and excellent length from McBride. Next, Peter Cipriano upset John Prenn (6-4, 5-6, 6-1). Finally, Tom McGinnis fought off imminent defeat against Lex Miron, besting him 4-6, 6-5, 6-1.
The Semi Finals proceeded fairly straightforward as Winthrop defeated Devereux 6-3, 6-3 and Cipriano prevailed against McGinnis 6-3, 6-4.
On Sunday the Final began at 1:30pm in front of a packed dedans and Pell Room. The excited crowd was treated to some fiercely contested tennis. Games were exchanged and the match was in limbo all the way through the first set. Pat edged out the first set 6-4 and opened up a sizable lead in the second. Cipriano regrouped and pushed the second set to 5-5 with an admirable comeback. Again Winthrop managed to edge out the charging Cipriano taking the second set and match 6-5.
Pat’s ability to maintain focus through adversity and under pressure was of note. Some remarked that his footwork was more impressive than it historically had been, perhaps attributable to some tutelage from the new Howell- Riviere duo in Newport. If one thing were certain it was that these two young men would again compete for titles such as this.
All of the Tennis events were uncharacteristically dominated by the younger generation. All winners and finalists were under 35, certainly a healthy sign for the game’s future.