The Tuxedo Club kicked off the 2015 USCTA calendar hosting the National 40’s single and doubles competition January 9th – 11th. A number of factors may have contributed to participants consisting of players from the NY metropolitan area…
- A holiday hangover for many players?
- The notoriously ‘deep’ Tuxedo tambour scaring off many of the players from other parts of the country?
- Devereux with a new ‘hip’ and his always-fearsome railroad?
- The infamous ‘rock hard pellets’ put on court by the Tuxedo professional staff? The author may never know the real reasons for the ‘metropolitan’ feel to this National Championship weekend; but the players put on quite a show for those fortunate enough to be in attendance. Friday January 9th Two Doctor’s kicked off the 2015 USCTA 40’s Singles Championships Friday afternoon January 9th. Tuxedo’s Dr. Dan Laukitis and well-traveled Court Tennis aficionado Dr. Anders Cohen got the action underway. The marker for the this match, Tuxedo’s Racquets Professional Tim Chisholm thought he was in for a ‘long’ match as the first game went to numerous deuces and took nearly 10 minutes to complete, with Laukitis nosing in front after the long battle over game number one. Laukitis’ local knowledge and strong retrieval took him to a relatively straightforward first set of 6-1 after the first game battle. Laukitis started out strong in the second set, winning the first game to 15…. and then the doctors had another battle in the second game of set number two. Laukitis again emerged victorious in this long game, which seemed to deflate Cohen slightly, allowing Laukitis to take another 6/1 set and ultimately the match.
The first match on Saturday morning pitted two players very familiar with each other’s games as well as the Tuxedo court…. Dan Laukitis and Alan McHugh. Laukitis had a game plan going in and did an excellent job of executing the plan leading 4-3 after seven games were played. The final three games of the set produced some very solid tennis by both players; with McHugh ultimately winning the ‘important’ points and taking the last three games and the first set 6-4. McHugh’s increased pace as well as possibly a little frustration at ‘lost opportunities’ by Laukitis made for a
Quicker second set and McHugh victory in this all Tuxedo quarterfinal.
Tuxedo Club Racquets Co-Chairmen Josh Scherer makes his first appearance in the National 40’s competition; unfortunately (for him) he came up against a very strong opponent in the Racquet & Tennis Club’s Brook Hazelton. Scherer showed flashes of power, cut and excellent retrieval skills…. and it will be interesting to see how low Scherer’s HCP can drop in the coming years. Hazelton was clinical in this quarterfinal match up moving on to a semi- final match up with McHugh after a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
Sonne vs. Aldrich was the most eagerly anticipated of the quarterfinal match ups as their HCP’s were almost identical. This match did not disappoint, going to 6-5 in the third set. Sonne exhibited his extraordinary retrieving skills while Aldrich continues to amaze those that follow US Court Tennis with his fantastic reflexes and racquet skills. This match was a toss-up from the start; Sonne having a bit more ‘local’ knowledge taking the first set 6-4, Aldrich finding his range on his main wall in the second set and winning 6-3, and the 6-5 score in the final set tells the story
As these evenly matched competitors provided the gallery with an exciting finish! Aldrich moves on to take on pre-tournament favorite Devereux in the second semi-final.
The Doubles Final is set…. Tuxedo vs. NY
The first doubles semi-final saw pre-tournament favorites Aldrich & Hazelton taking on the new pairing of Scherer & Cohen. Any pre match talk of this being a very straight forward win by Aldrich & Hazelton were put to rest once the balls started flying. Scherer & Cohen played some fantastic doubles, but Aldrich & Hazelton are a class doubles pair and moved on to the final with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The second doubles semi-final was an ALL TUXEDO affair! DeCasteja & Sonne taking on Devereux & Laukitis. Devereux & Laukitis ran out to a seemingly commanding 5-1 lead in the first set before the DeCasteja/Sonne pairing started finding their rhythm and chipping away at the lead. The packed dedans soon heard the marker announcing 5-5 and game on! In a very entertaining 11th game, Devereux and Laukitis took the first set. Another strong start to the second set brought Devereux & Laukitis a 5-1 lead…that they were able to close out 6-1.
The 1st singles semi-final was eagerly anticipated as Alan McHugh took on Brook Hazelton. In a nip and tuck first set, Hazelton was able to squeak out a 6-5 victory fighting off a couple of set points in the process. Hazelton weathered the McHugh forcing in the second set and his retrieval skills proved to be the difference in a comfortable second set win. Hazelton on to the finals.
The prevailing question for semi-final #2 was…would Aldrich have anything left in the tank after a 6-5 in the third set victory in the quarterfinals and a doubles match? Can the Aldrich hand-eye withstand the Devereux onslaught? Devereux proved to be too strong across the board and earned his spot in the finals.
Singles Final – Guy Devereux of The Tuxedo Club vs. Brook Hazelton of The Racquet & Tennis Club
Pre match pro shop chatter heard by the author:
- Can Hazelton weather the initial Devereux onslaught?
- What will Devereux do with the 3rd or 4th ball retrieved?
- How effective will the Devereux railroad be?
- What will Hazelton serve? All of the above were answered in a very entertaining 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory for Devereux.
- More often than not Hazelton weathered the 1st ball; making Devereux earn his points from the hazard end. An impressive display of defensive tennis and retrieving by Hazelton from the service end.
- The 3rd & 4th ball proved to be a bit of a nuisance to Devereux as he consistently found the top of the tape throughout the match on this ball.
- The Devereux railroad service was hot and cold; with Hazelton deciding to attach/force on the short one putting Devereux under some volley pressure. The deep serve was much more effective, forcing many racquet errors from Hazelton and skid boasts feeding the Devereux forehand volley, which produced a number of easy points for Devereux.
- Hazelton stuck with a game plan of demi-piques and short side walls; trying to keep Devereux from turning on the ball and attacking with his forehand. For the most part this strategy was effective, allowing Hazelton to get into the point negating Devereux’s quick strike capability.
A hard earned, well deserved victory for Devereux and a match that was very entertaining for an appreciative crowd. Congratulations to both competitors; in particular to the 2015 USCTA National 40’s Singles Champion – Mr. Guy Devereux.
Doubles Final – Guy Devereux & Dan Laukitis of The Tuxedo Club vs. Brook Hazelton & Simon Aldrich of The Racquet & Tennis Club
The gathering crowd prior to the 2015 National 40’s Doubles Championship was hoping for another three set final…would the participants cooperate?
An Aldrich/Hazelton 6-5, 3-6, 6-3 victory provided the packed dedans with their monies worth and then some! A team HCP for Aldrich & Hazelton 7 points better than the Tuxedo team of Devereux & Aldrich had ‘Vegas’ with the Aldrich/Hazelton team as strong pre-match favorites. Devereux and Laukitis had different ideas; and this was evident from the start. This was not a match for the faint of heart, as the ball was pinging around the court at a high velocity throughout the 3 sets. Marker Tim Chisholm was seen numerous times ducking and weaving…
Congratulations to the 2015 USCTA 40’s National Doubles Champions – Simon Aldrich & Brook Hazelton!