The Racquet & Tennis Club hosted the 2022 US Open 8-13 March. Qualifying play was spirited on Tuesday and Wednesday. Giles Hocking, Henry Smith, Ivo Macdonald, and Louis Winstanley made it through into the singles main draw and the pairs of Freddie Bristowe & Alex Stannard and Adrian Kemp & Josh Dodgson made it into the doubles main draw.
A spirited stag dinner on Thursday evening included many fresh faces who will undoubtedly keep the rackets flame burning bright at future tournaments in North America and across the pond.
The round of 16 and quarterfinals included very high caliber play along with epic mental collapses (the latter to Zach Sacks and Peter Cipriano). Perhaps uniquely, only three matches in both main draws were decided in more than three games. Despite the mostly one-sided game scores, the quality of points was extremely high with long rallies sustained by incredible gets from all competitors. Top seed and world number two, Ben Cawston displayed trademark remarkable retrieving in each of his matches, particularly in the finals against Alex Duncliffe-Vines (aka ADV). ADV was striking the ball cleanly throughout with what any racquets student would applaud as excellent length and width. Cawston managed to frustrate ADV’s top-quality efforts, pouncing on each open ball and providing scant opportunities for ADV to gain a foothold in the match. Cawston was exceptional in his three games to love victory over ADV and, with the win, secured a challenge for the World Championship against the current Champion, Tom Billings. Billings and Cawston’s recent meetings have been close, spirited affairs and, no doubt, the challenge this fall will be an epic.
In the doubles, former rackets singles and doubles World Champion James Stout partnered with New York’s Cipriano and faced in the semis the formidable double-barreled duo of Alex Titchener-Barrett & ADV. Stout & Cipriano were slow out of the gate but rallied progressively to a tight three games to love victory behind Stout’s otherworldly shot execution and Cipriano’s steady play. The top half semifinal pitted top seeds Cawston and his doubles specialist partner Mike Bailey against the recent Western Open champions Conor Medlow and, former doubles World Champion, Will Hopton. The match was as tight as any in the tournament, with many momentum swings and extended rallies. In the end, Cawston & Bailey came through in four games. The doubles final was simply outstanding; short points and aces were few and far between and the players awed the packed gallery with an overallotment of breathtaking pace and sharp angles. At the end of a thoroughly entertaining four games, Stout & Cipriano emerged victorious.
The proshop, staff, and members of the Racquet & Tennis provided a fantastic backdrop for some of the finest quality rackets of recent memory. The 2022 US Open offered proof that the level of play continues to rise and that the numbers of top-level players continues to grow.
Credit to Zach Sacks for the write up.