We had a packed draw for the 2023 Western Open held at The Racquet Club of Philadelphia with 26 players fighting for the title. Singles qualifying saw Tanner Austin (Kendrick Cup winner), John Beam, Henry Smith, Archie Sillars, Jack Mitchell, Ross Bolling, Dan Fisher & Valla Scott-Geddes make it into the main draw. In the first round the match of the day was Conor Medlow vs Henry Smith. Smith bursting out to an early lead saw Medlow fire up his forehand and managed to take the first game 16-15. Smith coming out the gates quick again had Medlow under pressure before Medlow found some length and a couple of good serves to close out the match 16-15, 17-14.
The quarter-finals all went fairly comfortably to seedings with Ben Cawston vs Conor Medlow being the top semi & Freddie Bristowe vs Will Hopton being the bottom semi. First up was Cawston vs Medlow which saw some incredible rallies. Ball pinging all over the fast RCOP court and both playing covering some serious ground! Cawston in the end prevailed to reach the final 15-3, 15-8, 15-1. The first semi got the crowd fired up for the match of the day! Bristowe came out hot, screaming backhands all over the place causing Hopton some trouble. Bristowe took the first 15-12. Hopton not having any of it seemed to be finding some great pace off the forehand side along with length which was crushing Bristowe’s momentum giving Hopton the second game 15-4. Bristowe looking like he was fading dug deep to take a lead out to 13. Both players making some ridiculous gets in the corners left us at 13 all with Bristowe receiving…. “No set” The crowd went wild!! Pressure on!! Bristowe played a great point to take back the serve and closed out the game 15-13. Hopton being super fit who does marathons for fun could see Bristowe was fading and kept the ball in play. Bristowe took a lead out to 11-4 but couldn’t get the job done and Hopton playing some superb Racquets took the game 15-11. Hopton going from strength to strength kept the pressure on saw Bristowe was in some trouble with some cramp and locked in his spot in the final 12-15 15-4 13-15 15-11 15-4. What a match!! The stage was set for a great final with both players in great form. Hopton came out firing from the start taking an early lead up 11-7. Cawston wasn’t having it and turned it up a gear to win the first game 15-11. Cawston with the momentum continued on a good path taking the second game 15-3. Hopton being more aggressive but still getting everything back flipped the script on Cawston to take the 3rd game 15-9 causing Cawston some frustration. Cawston came back on court looking more composed and ready to fire took the title 15-11 15-3 9-15 15-6 to become the 2023 Western Open Winner.
In the doubles Ross Bolling & Tim Carroll had a battle against Eli Segal & Andrew Dick which ended up going to set in the final game with Bolling & Carroll booking a slot in the main draw 8-15 15-11 18-14. Jonathan Calow & Edward Behn beat Steve Toseland & Valla Scott-Geddes to also progress into the main draw 15-12 15-8. In the first round doubles the best match was Freddie Bristowe & John Lumley vs Will Annetts & Louis Winstanley which ended up in Bristowe & Lumley’s favor 15-10 17-14 with some amazing gets from Winstanley. In the top semi Ben Cawston & John Beam snuck out the win over Bristowe & Lumley 15-6 in the firth game after an epic 2 hour match! Will Hopton & Conor Medlow beat Jon Crowell & Henry Smith in three games. The final saw some amazing rallies with both teams playing top level Racquets and balls firing everywhere. Hopton & Medlow took the win in the end 15-7 11-15 17-14 15-4. Thank you to everyone who came to play including the guys from the UK who travelled over.
By John Lumley