By Mit Carothers, Tennis Chair
Aiken Tennis Club
With five teams entered in the 2018 Northrop Knox Tournament, a round robin format with each team playing 4 matches offered the most tennis for the teams entered and for the galleries attending. Teams entered included last year’s finalists, first time visitors to the Aiken Tennis Club, returning out of towners and first time participants.
Play began on Thursday evening but not before players and 65 guests were treated to the traditional Thursday Oyster Night. In the evening match locals Charles Bostwick, Jr and Jason Rabun played Peter Dunne and Max Drake and prevailed in 3 sets.
In Friday’s first match, Dunne and Drake, visiting from Chicago, returned the favor defeating the Aiken team of Dan Villiers and Bauer Vaughters. This was followed by another 3 set win for Bostwick and Rabun over Geoff Ellis and George Handy. Last year’s finalists and previous winners Rakesh Jasani and Jason Mengel saw their first match go their way against Villiers and Vaughters. Friday evening play concluded with Tennis and Cocktails for players and guests with Handy and Ellis righting the ship and defeating Jasani and Mengel in three sets. Completion of play Friday saw the Bostwick/Handy entry undefeated at 2-0 with three teams tied with 1-1 records and a place in the finals still very much up for grabs.
Saturday’s five matches would see the 4 teams vying for the two spots in the finals all playing twice. In the first match Jasani/Mengel would hand Bostwick/Rabun their only loss in three sets. Ellis/Handy kept the pressure on the group by defeating Dunne/Drake 4 and 4. Bostwick/Rabun then bounced right back against Villiers/Vaughters to be the first team to complete round robin play at 3-1. Jasani/Mengel and Ellis/Handy won their matches in the two evening matches that concluded round robin play with three teams tied with 3-1 records.
Saturday night’s Knox Dinner was served outdoors in the courtyard with much discussion, adding and subtracting and going through the tiebreaker steps to determine Sunday’s finalists. With 3 teams tied with 3-1 records, on the basis of least sets lost with 3, Geoff Ellis and George Handy claimed the first spot. The most sets won, with 7 apiece, left 2 teams still tied. It was not until we reached the tiebreaker of least games lost that Rakesh Jasani were determined to be the other finalist. This left the very game, but disappointed Charles Bostwick and Jason Rabun, playing off a 35 handicap, out of the final but were unquestionably recipients of the good sportsmanship reward.
Sunday’s final, and rematch, between Ellis/Handy and Jasani/Mengel, saw the 5th and final set between these 2 well matched teams determine the 2018 Knox champion. These 2 teams split the first 4 sets they played over 2 days with a 1 game difference in 29 games played. Although severely limited by the unfortunate timing of a back injury, Ellis and Handy fought on before bowing to the winners, Rakesh Jasani and Jason Mengel. The Sunday brunch for players, members and guests was finally a chance to catch one’s breath, congratulate the winners and think about how close the outcome had been.
A special thanks to club professional Trey Bogue for marking, handicapping and tiebreak analysis. Oyster Night, Friday Night Cocktails, Knox Dinner and Sunday Brunch, were led, and catered by the club’s Robert and Cheryl Glance, members and staff and were again memorable. Accommodations for out of town players and guests were again coordinated by Dan and Carol Mayfield with Bob and Jane Hottensen providing the hospitality for which they are so well known. Thanks to the efforts of Lou Papouchado, all of the matches were live streamed. Club president Michael Sullivan as usual presented the trophies and made contributions too numerous to list.
ROUND ROBIN RESULTS (to Determine Final)
C Bostwick Jr/J Rabun def M Drake/P Dunne (owe quarter 15) 6-5, 2-6, 6-4
M Drake/ P Dunne(owe quarter 15) def B Vaughters/ D Villiers 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
C Bostwick Jr/ J Rabun (rec 15) def G Ellis/G Handy (o half 15) 6-4, 1-6, 6-5
R Jasani/ J Mengel (o15) def B Vaughters/ D Villiers (r30) 6-1, 6-2
G Ellis/G Handy(r half 15) def R Jasani/J Mengel(o30) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
R Jasani/ J Mengel(o15) def C Bostwick Jr/ J Rabun (r30) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
C Bostwick Jr/ J Rabun def B Vaughters/ D Villiers 6-1, 6-4 (level)
G Ellis/ G Handy def M Drake/ P Dunne 6-4, 6-4
R Jasani/ J Mengel(o30) def M Drake/ P Dunne (r half 15) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
G Ellis/G Handy(o half 15) def B Vaughters/ D Villiers (R15) 6-1, 6-0
RESULTS FROM ROUND ROBIN
G Ellis/G Handy 3-1
R Jasani/J Mengel 3-1
C Bostwick Jr/ J Rabun 3-1
Ellis/Handy go in w least set lost
Jasani/Mengel go in w head to head (also fewest games lost)
R/Jasani/J Mengel (o30) def G Ellis/G Handy (r half 15) 6-4, 6-1