by Nino Merola & Ryan Carey
The first game of the day featured two players on their home court, Steve Hufford vs John Saxe, being familiar with each others games gave this match a feel of tactical importance. John Saxe took an early lead with aggressive volleying and target hitting. As the match went on Steve seemed to find his feet and started retrieving fantastically, asking John to play multiple great shots in a row in order to win the points, however John proved to be up to the task and won the match 6-1 6-2. The next match pitted a tenacious “outsider”, Tom Brownlie of Philadelphia, against the guile of Prince’s Court veteran Vu Hoang. Brownlie was not phased by the glass wall, as so many visitors are, and bested Hoang 6-1, 6-2.
The first semi-final of the day featured John Saxe and Bill Barker, this turned out to be match of the tournament, or at the very least, the longest match of the tournament, totaling 2.5 hours. Bill won the first set 6-3 thanks to his consistency in putting away loose balls. Bill then led the second set 5-4 at which point John staged a monumental comeback to win the set 6-5, this thanks to his fantastic reading of the tambour and brilliant defensive volleying. The final set proved one too many for John though and Bill ran out a 6-2 winner, through to the final in good form. The second semi-final featured Tom Brownlie against Ryan Carey. Ryan is not known for his singles play and Brownlie reminded him why point after point in the first set winning it 6-0. The second set started out the same but Carey started to find his game late, but it was too little too late and Brownlie was victorious 6-3.
The final of the tournament was contested by two players of great quality, Bill Barker and Tom Brownlie. The first few games were cagey, with both players attempting to discover a little more about their opponents style of play. Both players played fantastic tennis as the set wore on and games were won and lost on the closest of margins, Bill was first to find his feet and won the first set 6-2. In the second set Toms ability to defend the dedans with volleys of great ferocity and the ability to chase down anything that missed became obvious, unfortunately Bill didn’t miss the targets very often and coupled with his defense of the service end, allowed him to see out the set 6-2 6-2.
The doubles draw featured an abbreviated field of only four teams. One of those teams had to withdraw due to a death in the family so the draw shrunk to an unusual three team field after the walkover. The final was contested between the oft-lauded veteran pairing of Rich Moroscak and Bill Barker against the upstart team of Tom Brownlie and Ryan Carey. This was a close affair throughout and although the score may not reflect it, the crowd was thoroughly entertained by many high quality points. In the end, the power and fight of Brownlie/Carey wasn’t enough to defeat the consistency of Moroscak/Barker. Moroscak/Barker triumph 6-3 6-5.
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