2018 Fall Invitational by John Lumley
We had a great field for this year’s Fall Invitational held at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. With the first round matches underway the best match of the day was Tony Hollins vs Tom Brownlie. Brownlie, with home court advantage and playing very solid tennis, took an early lead but Hollins was able to rely on his experience to stay in the match and reach five-games-all in the first set. Hollins, serving well, closed out the set 6-5 and went on to take the match 6-5 6-1.
In the quarterfinals Josh Dodgson vs Will Hopton ended up being a battle. Dodgson took the first set 6-2 but Hopton fought back and found himself at five-games-all in the second set after some superb retrieval. Hopton, solid as a rock, took the second set 6-5 forcing Dodgson to a third and final set. Dodgson got his head back into the game and won the final set 6-3 taking him into the semifinals. Tony Hollins vs Rob Whitehouse was up next with both players looking for a spot in the semifinal. Hollins started strong and took the first set 6-2 with some tight serving and accurate target hitting. Whitehouse was “fired up” and drew on support from the home crowd to steam ahead to a 5-3 lead in the second. Persistence and well-constructed rallies from Hollins allowed him to claw his way back into the match and close out the match 6-2 6-5. Barney Tanfield took down Adrian Kemp 6-3 6-2 in a very entertaining match with both players hitting never seen before shots! Leon Smart was able to handle the pressure of playing big-hitter Jon Crowell and proceed to the semi-finals 6-2 6-4.
The semifinals were later that day – Josh Dodgson played a great match against Tony Hollins. Both players’ stamina were tested by long, well-executed rallies that saw Dodgson gain the upper hand and close out the first set 6-3. Hollins fought back to bring the match to five-games-all in the second set but couldn’t close out the last game; Dodgson won a well-deserved spot in Sunday’s final 6-3 6-5! Barney Tanfield vs Leon Smart was the last match of the day. Smart took an early 3-1 lead in the first set by serving well and hitting targets but Tanfield had other ideas and blasted his way to win the first set 6-4 with some outrageous accuracy and pace. Keeping it going and with the final within sight he put his foot to the floor and took the match 6-4 6-3!
Sunday morning saw a great brunch with the final of the pro-am the hour before the final to set the scene. Christian Bullitt and Tony Hollins won the pro-am over Steve Sader and John Lumley 8-4. Well done to all that supported and played in the pro-am.
With the crowds gathering it was shaping up to be the final we had all expected. Both players came flying out of the gates especially Tanfield who took an early 4-2 lead. Dodgson played some fantastic tennis to tie it up at four-games-all before Tanfield found some corner pockets of the dedans to take the first set 6-4. Tanfield sped out to a 2-0 lead only to have Dodgson win the next ten points in a row to find himself 3-2 up. Tanfield retaliated against this run by serving tighter, which opened the court and provided the opportunity to hit some targets. Finally, Tanfield took the match with a speedy force to the top backhand corner 6-4 6-4 and secured his name on the trophy for the fourth time!
Massive thank you to the USCTA for their support and to the members of the RCOP for their support.