by Lex Miron
The third annual Spring Invitational and Pro-Am was hosted by the Racquet & Tennis Club May 4th-7th. Twenty players competed, of which twelve were professionals and eight were amateurs.
The top four seeds were Josh Dodgson (Tuxedo), Barney Tanfield (New York), Adrian Kemp (New York) and Leon Smart (Boston). Other top professionals included James Asher (Philadelphia), Neil Smith (New York), Rob Whitehouse (Philadelphia), Chris Aley (Washington), John Woods-Casey (Melbourne), Manek Mathur (New York) and Eric Bedell (New York).
The competing amateurs were Morris Clothier, Tom McGinnis, Shep Skiff, Peter Cipriano, Dylan Patterson and Zack Sacks, all representing New York.
There was tremendous support by numerous USCTA Members through both donations and Pro Am participation. The Pro Am field of eleven was won by Chris Oberbeck and James Asher in a closely contested final over Luis Rinaldini and Leon Smart.
The Spring Invitational began on Thursday evening with a flurry of matches. There were strong performances from Morris Clothier, who pushed Josh Dodgson to 3 sets; and Zack Sacks who took the first set from Barney Tanfield before the R&TC Head Pro found his rhythm and eased through. Tom McGinnis won a tightly fought contest against Asher, whilst Kemp, Smart, Cipriano, and Woods-Casey all won in straight sets.
In the Quarter-Finals, Dodgson prevailed over Tom McGinnis in straight sets, after a tremendously close and hard fought opening set. Kemp defeated Neil Smith after dropping the middle set. Smart defeated Cipriano and Tanfield defeated Woods-Casey in straight sets.
The final four were consistent with seedings in the event. On his home court in front of a packed dedans, Adrian Kemp went shot for shot and force for force with Dodgson. A few spectacular gets proved to be the difference and Kemp moved to the finals in 2 close sets.
The 2015 and 2016 Finalist, Barney Tanfield took the court to square off against Leon Smart immediately following the first Semi-Final. After an hour of play, the score was even at 5-5. Smart played a crafty 11th game with some inch-perfect giraffe serves to win the set. Undeterred, Tanfield picked up the pace and increased his aggressiveness to secure the second set 6-3. The third and final set proved as exciting as the previous two, but it was Tanfield who capitalized on open balls just a little better.
The Sunday afternoon Final featured the contortions and acrobatics of Kemp against the constant assault of Tanfield. Kemp had many moments of terrific play, but the pace and accuracy of Tanfield proved to be too much for Kemp after three tough, preceding matches. In this case, the third time’s a charm for Tanfield, winning his first Spring Invitational in two close sets.
The players and spectators all expressed their gratitude for the generous patronage of the Racquet and Tennis Club membership, Pro-Am participants, and Title Sponsors, Bardyl Tirana and the USCTA. Without this patronage, this event would not be possible.