The 2023 US Open at the Detroit Racquet Club began on Wednesday, March 8th with Singles Qualifier play. By Noon on Thursday, four qualifiers had emerged. Jack Mitchell (Philadelphia), Valla Scott-Geddes (Detroit), George Nutting (Montreal) and Austin Marks (Detroit) had made it through to the main draw. George Nutting had never won a match in tournament play, and here he was a proud US Open Qualifier. George phoned home to inform his mother he'd won not one, but TWO tournament matches! George also called his former Winchester Rackets head pro, Tim Cawston, to inform him of the news. Tim did not answer. Unfortunately for George and the rest of the hopeful qualifiers, they were quickly reminded of the quantity and quality of talent that had arrived in Detroit to stake their claim for the US Open Singles Title. Mr. Austin Marks, seeded against Will Hopton, knew his fate and accepted it graciously. Montreal's Dan Fisher put Jack Mitchell away in two games. Louis Winstanley (Queen's) took down Valla Scott-Geddes later that evening, and George Nutting, our most unlikely qualifier, managed to score a single point against Will Annetts. Congratulations, to George!
US Open Quarter Finals
The Singles Quarter Finals saw some great match play. Two-Time US Open Winner and #1 seed, Ben Cawston (Queen's), bested Dan Fisher during the Thursday Stag Cocktail Hour rather than their scheduled 10am Friday match. A grudge match between US Open Doubles partners, Will Annetts (Queen's) and Freddie Bristowe (Philadelphia) was the first match on Friday at 11:30am. Annetts, the 2023 Canadian Amateur Singles Champion, put up a strong challenge but Bristowe proved to be in better form Friday morning. At 1pm Conor Medlow (Chicago) and Mike Bailey (Queen's) took to the court for an excellent match. Conor Medlow took the first game 15-12 but Mike Bailey stuck to his strategy and found himself on his way to the Semi-Finals after four games. Louis Winstanley (Queen's) and Will Hopton (Detroit/Philadelphia) rounded out the quarter-finals with Hopton coming out the victor.
Singles Quarter Finals
As for the Doubles Quarter Finals, Dan Fisher (Montreal) and Rodney Morgan (Montreal) qualified through Wednesday and Thursday Doubles play ultimately to be seeded against the top seed in the US Open Doubles draw: Ben Cawston and Mike Bailey. Cawston/Bailey bested Fisher/Morgan in three games. The next match saw #3 seed Will Hopton and Conor Medlow vs. qualifiers Valla Scott-Geddes and Jack Mitchell. Hopton/Medlow bested Scott-Geddes/Mitchell in three games and moved on to the semi-finals. At 6:30pm members and guests arrived for the "cocktail matches". Second seeds, James Stout (New York) and Peter Cipriano (New York) took on Detroit's Racquets Professional Steve Toseland and Detroit's former fellow, Louis Winstanley. With a packed and animated gallery cheering for "Team Detroit", Stout/Cipriano got to businesses and moved on to the Semi-Finals. At 8pm George Acheson-Gray (Chicago) and Archie Sillars (Chicago) took on the four seeds Will Annetts and Freddie Bristowe. Acheson-Gray and Sillars put up a valiant attempt but could not best the combination of Annetts and Bristowe.
Doubles Quarter Finals
US Open Semi Finals
The Singles Semi-Finals began on Saturday at 10am between Mike Bailey and Will Hopton. Bailey took the first game 8-15 and came close in game two 13-15. Hopton took the next two games 15-3 and 15-8 and found himself in the finals between either Ben Cawston or Freddie Bristowe. At 11:30am Cawston and Bristowe took to the court for a lively match between two of the games most exciting young talents. Cawston, having won the last two US Open Singles Finals Championships, was ready for Freddie and won 15-4, 15-7, 15-6 and progressed to the finals for his chance at a third successive US Open Singles Final win.
Singles Semi Finals
The Doubles Semi-Finals was greatly anticipated by Detroit's membership and the out-of-town participants alike. Beginning Saturday afternoon with #2 seeds James Stout and Peter Cipriano vs. 2023 Western Open Doubles winners Will Hopton and Conor Medlow; Stout and Cipriano took the first two games 15-6, 15-6 but Hopton and Medlow had no plans to go down without a fight. Up 11-9 in game three, it seemed Hopton and Medlow would push Stout and Cipriano to a fourth game. Cipriano leveled out the score at 11-11 before Stout stepped in to bring bring the score to 14-11. Shouts of "must be now" must've been heard on court by Medlow as he won the next rally and forced Stout and Cipriano out of the servers box. Medlow was able to get one more point to bring the score to 12-14 before their serving run ended. The final point of the match was an exciting 11 hit rally that ended with Stout and Cipriano through to the US Open Doubles Final 15-6, 15-6, 15-12. At 4:30pm, top-seeded Ben Cawston & Mike Bailey took on Will Annetts & Freddie Bristowe. Game one started as a rubber match with both sides exchanging the right to serve. Cawston, however, stepped into the server's box at 5-3 and served straight through without any chance of rebuttal from Annetts and Bristowe. Game one went to Cawston and Bailey 15-3.
Doubles Semi Finals
US Open Single & Doubles Finals
The US Open Singles Final began promptly at 11:00AM on Sunday, March 12th between 2011 US Open Winner Will Hopton and Ben Cawston. Ben having won the last two US Opens in 2020 and 2022 was looking to make it a three-peat. Cawston jumped to an early lead in game one at 9-4 but Hopton regained service and began working back into the points. At 9-11 Hopton seemed to be on the cusp of bringing the game even. Cawston, however, had no intent on giving up his US Open Singles Title and finished out game one 15-10. Both Hopton and Cawston, comfortable staying in long rallies, used length and width to their advantage to stretch their opponent at the back of the court. After two more exhilarating games, Ben Cawston clinched the 2023 US Open Singles Title and secured the three-peat. Final scores: 15-10, 15-7, 15-6.
US Open Singles Final
The US Open Doubles Final took place at 1:30PM on Sunday between the reigning US Open Doubles Champions, James Stout and Peter Cipriano, vs. last year's US Open Doubles Finalists, Ben Cawston and Mike Bailey. Stout and Cipriano got an early lead, winning game one 15-7. In game two, Cawston and Bailey regained their composure. At 9-5, with Cawston in the servers box, the gallery bore witness to an epic rally that found Stout and Cawston standing at mid-court dueling it out on the side walls by the end. The point ended on a hushed tone as Cawston leapt into the air to volley Stout's shot off the right wall only to whiff and land on his chin. Fortunately, Cawston played through and Cawston/Bailey took game 2 15-7. By game three, Cawston and Bailey had fallen into a rhythm with Bailey staying consistent in his returns and extending rallies. In what has to be one of the greatest - if not the greatest - games of doubles racquets ever played at the Detroit Racquet Club, Ben Cawston and Mike Bailey claimed the 2023 US Open Doubles Title over the reigning champs!
US Open Doubles Final
A hearty congratulations to the winners and finalists of the US Open Singles and Doubles and a thank you to all of those who participated over the course of the (extended) tournament weekend. Special thanks to Steve Toseland for organizing an excellent week of tournament play, Valla Scott-Geddes for establishing the livestream connection throughout the tournament and most of all, a huge thank you to our Club Manager, Glenn Rivers, and his team for their flawless execution on the long weekend's events as well as the food and beverage.