The trend continues upwards. Another record for entries in this year’s event beating the 2012 benchmark of 40 players with 44. More matches means a tougher time organizing them, and although we did have some problems with a few foursomes finding it rather difficult to find common ground, eventually it all came together.
In the utopian world of “Planet Doubles Select”, all teams are exactly the same standard, so the draw is literally put together at random. Of course, there is no such thing as utopia (unless you are Hugh Hefner), and believe it or not, there are usually a couple of miscalculations with my ranking. It became quickly apparent after the first round that the team to beat would be Eric Green and Ward Detwiler.
The Green / Detwiler pairing made their way steadily through to the quarter finals, dropping only one game in the process. For those of you don’t know Eric, he is an early bird. And I mean early. He drinks his morning coffee the night before and commonly gets up before he even goes to bed. Somehow, he had convinced his partner and their opponents – Manny Tancer and Margi Scholtes – to play at 5.30 in the morning. You can’t even reserve the court that early – the system itself is still asleep.
Ironically, Eric failed to show up for the match. I believe he had some alarm malfunction, and he did heartily apologize to all concerned and affected, but the forfeit had to be awarded. The favorites to win the event had defeated themselves.
Manny and Margi moved onto the semi finals where they bumped into the new favorites Rich Stimson and Joey Gaylord. Rich and Joey had ploughed through their first three opponents 3-0, and they made sure they turned up for semi! Margi is relatively new to doubles but picked up the angles and pace of the game quickly, improving with every outing. Joey is in the same boat, so the two teams appeared to be evenly matched. It was a good contest. Manny and Margi lost 3-1, but they were the first team to take a game from them and push the envelope. Rich and Joey moved onto the final – Joey’s first Select final, Rich’s second. Rich lost the final back in 2007, so he was hoping for a step better this time around.
On the other side of the draw, only one of the matches ended with a 3-0 score line. We had two matches cut short with injury however, and the rest went either 3-1 or the full 3-2 distance. Joe Moran and Terry Lang had three of the four 3-2 results. After escaping round one against David Devine and Bruce VandeVusse, they used their Houdini tricks again over Paul Flanagan and John Chouinard. Up 2 game to 1, Joe and Terry failed to convert a 4th game match ball to lose it 15-14. Luckily, they didn’t lose faith and managed to muster up enough resistance to take the 5th game 15-12. Their next match would be even closer.
John Dunwoody was paired with Dan Follis. John and Dan performed their own escape artistry after being 2-0 down in their first match against Shail Arora and Tom MacFarlane and then scratching their way back for a 3-2 victory somehow. Dan still doesn’t know how they won that match, but he was happy enough to get on court for another one. Facing the Moran / Lang team, John and Dan matched them point for point, game for game. After belting it out for so long, the entire result came down to a sudden-death 14-all in the 5th rally. With the Gods flipping the coin, Terry and Joe won the toss, and the match. Dan still doesn’t know how they lost that match.
Their semi final was against the steady team of Andrew Spohn and Jon Walton. Not making too much noise as they worked themselves through each round, Andrew and Jon dropped their first game in their quarter final to Paul Ward and Steve Murphy. They dropped another one to Joe and Terry, but as we all know you need three of them to win a match. Andrew and Jon quietly took care of business taking the other three games and setting themselves the arduous task of beating Rich and Joey in the final. Andrew would be looking for his second Select title – he won in 2008. Jon would be making his first appearance. They would need to play well. They would need to keep up the consistency that got them into the final in the first place. Could they do it?
|Rich Stimson, Joey Gaylord, Jon Walton, Andrew Spohn|
Not in game one. But only by the slimmest of margins. This match was up for grabs, neck-and-neck these two teams went for the first half. Andrew and Jon could have found themselves in a very different position if they had won the rally at 14-all in the first game. But they didn’t. That disappointment however, did not stop them from keeping their chins up and taking the second game 15-13. Nevertheless, instead of being 2-0 up which would have made it very difficult to come back from, it was 1 game all and the dog-fight was now a best of three.
Only two games were needed. Rich and Joey slowly asserted their dominance, not without tough resistance mind you, but a solid third game (15-8) gave them a 2-1 lead and that ever important mental edge. The fourth game was closer, but Andrew and Jon could not close the gap. Rich and Joey took it 11-8 and with it are named 2013 Doubles Select Champions!
Congratulations to the winners and congratulations to all participants for making it the largest Select event so far. It will no doubt get bigger next year… that’s our goal of course!