By John Lumley
We had players from Australia, the UK & the USA all battling it out for the U.S. Nationals U23’s & U26’s titles! In the U23 Singles Erik Barker and Freddie Bristowe had one of the matches of the tournament with Bristowe taking it 5-6 6-5 6-5 to progress him into the semifinals! On the other half of the draw No.1 seed Will Hoskin had his hands full with Pete Dickinson just taking it 6-5 6-5. Pete retrieving out of the corners superbly making Will hit constantly good shots. It was the No.1 vs No.2 seed in the final of the U23’s. Noah Motz off to a quick start was striking the ball with exceptional pace causing Will to make racquet errors giving Noah the first set 6-3. Keen to keep the pressure on Noah kept moving Will round the court and controlling the rallies and took the U23 National Title 6-3 6-2!
In the U23 Doubles Ben & Pete Dickinson had a battle against the No.2 Seeds which were Will Hoskin & Freddie Bristowe. Both teams getting lots of balls back made for some exciting rallies with the No.2 seeds taking it 6-5 6-5 to send them into the final. They met the on-form Noah Motz & Erik Barker who took off to a flying start winning the first set 6-0! With Hoskin & Bristowe eager to do better they changed the game plan and started being more aggressive finding themselves at 5 games all. Barker with some great forehand saves from good cut shots kept them in the points where Motz finished the point winning 6-0 6-5 to take the U23 Doubles Title!
The U26 Singles Draw was the strongest it’s been in a long time which made for some great matches. Jackson Brand and Pete Dickinson had a battle in the first round. Brand starting off slowly lost the first set 2-6. Dickinson & Brand making some outrageous gets soon saw them at 5 games all in the second set. Brand with sheer determination took it 6-5 to tie it up at 1 set all. Brand took to a quick start in the third but Dickinson fought back to find himself at 4 games all. Brand with a few key serves at good times went on to take the set and match 2-6 6-5 6-4. Freddy Bristowe took upset of the day beating Will HoskinNo.2 seed 6-3 6-5 to take him to the semifinals. Dylan Ward & Erik Barker had a great match where Dylan just took it 6-0 4-6 6-5 with a nail biting finish. Michael Williams & Noah Motz had straight forward paths to the final. Williams being the heavy favorite found himself at 3 games all in the first set with Motz playing great Tennis to keep in the match. Williams turned up the pace and mixed up forcing and good length to win the match 6-3 6-1 and take the U26 Singles Title.
In the U26 Doubles Dylan Ward & Henry Mullan took off to a flying start against Ben Hudson & Jackson Brand 6-1. Hudson determined to change the score line hit some fantastic volleys and Brand bring some pace won the second set 6-2 to bring it to 1 set all. Mullan turned up the tempo and stepped up to take them through 6-1 2-6 6-3. Pete Dickinson & John Moran had the same strong start taking it 6-2 against Spencer Yager & Freddy Bristowe. Bristowe being consistent and Yager playing some superb tennis found themselves at 5 games all. With a ball that went flush came a strong come on from Moran as then won the match 6-2 6-5! In the final Williams & Hoskin took on Barker & Motz. Williams being too dominant to start won the first 6-2 and found themselves at 4 games all with some great control and persistence from Motz & Barker. Williams & Hoskin had a little chat at the hazard end and Hoskin not missing another ball with Williams firing ball at pace won the match and took the U26 Doubles Title 6-2 6-4!