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US
National Doubles Update (Saturday’s Play)

By Rob Dinerman,
Mar 30, 2008    
Squashtalk Independent News; ©
2008 SquashTalk LLC




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school squash

Upsets
and Near Upsets in Early Round Play

Trailing two games to
one and in danger of being unceremoniously eliminated from the U. S. National
Doubles in their very first match of the tournament, top seeds Morris Clothier
and Scott Stoneburgh rallied to a 3-2 quarterfinal victory late this morning
against Ryan O’Connell and Hamed Anvari, who had been carrying the
play throughout the third game, only to fall behind 8-0 and 12-2 in the
fourth and fade in the latter stages of the decisive fifth, in which a
5-0 run from 8-all keyed the eventual 15-10 tally.

This was the second time
in as many days in which a favored team successfully surmounted a two
games to one deficit: late Friday afternoon in round-of-16 action, first-time
partners Geoff Kennedy and Addison West lost the first and third games
against early-2000’s
Harvard captains Dylan Patterson and Pete Karlen but surged strongly
in the closing laps, following which Kennedy and West engineered an unexpected
albeit convincing 15-11 11-15 15-11 18-14 win over third seeds Eric Vlcek,
a six-time winner of this event over the past decade, and ’05 (with
Preston Quick) finalist Steve Scharff.

As indicated by the foregoing,
upsets and near-upsets were a common theme of the first few rounds of
the Open flights of this event, which was hosted by the Fairmount Athletic
Club, Demer Holleran’s
spectacular new facility in King of Prussia, PA, in suburban Philadelphia.
Holleran herself, along with Narelle Krizek, were rocked coming out of
the gate in the opening game of their quarterfinal tilt with former high-school
classmates/teammates Kat Van Blarcom and Lissen Tutrone, as the latter
pairing jumped out to an imposing 9-2 advantage over their top-seeded
and heavily-favored foes, who in their one prior appearance as partners
had won the Women’s Briggs Cup in Rye, NY, a site of the newly
formed Women’s Doubles Squash Association (WDSA) pro tour. The
ensuing Krizek/Holleran comeback bid proved too little, too late in that
15-12 setback, and even though they then won the final three games, it
was not without first having to weather a tiebreaker conclusion to the
fourth and final set.

Facing Krizek/Holleran in the top-half semi will
be Susie Pierrepont and Dana Betts, another first-time duo, who debuted
impressively with a three-game thrashing of Lee Belknap and Emily Lungstrum.
Betts, who missed several months this past winter with a leg injury,
has been her Heights Casino club-mate’s partner in recent years
(they were finalists in the ’07 William White), and there was therefore
some extra tension as a backdrop to this fray, but Betts and Pierrepont
played much more aggressively from the very start, and what was anticipated
to be a close match was instead a dominant performance.

So too were the
two bottom-half women’s quarters, in one
of which second seeds Jess Dimauro and Natalie Grainger, winners of the
two WDSA tour stops (in Greenwich and Denver) other than the Briggs Cup,
overwhelmed Catherine MacLeod and Marie Vlcek, while Dawn Gray and Amy
Milanek, who had been slated to play against defending champions Meredeth
Quick and Fiona Geaves, instead opposed Quick and the relatively doubles-inexperienced
Michelle Quibell in the wake of Geaves’s ankle sprain a little
more than a week ago.

As noted, the 13-team men’s Open division
featured exciting, eyebrow-raising action in every quadrant of the draw.
In addition to the Stoneburgh/Clothier and West/Kennedy rallies and the
ouster of Vlcek/Scharff, second seeds and ’08 William White champs
Whitten Morris (who for the past three years has won the A division of
the National Doubles) and Trevor McGuinness barely eked out 15-13 scores
in the first and third games against recently-paired partners Rich Sheppard
(who was planning to play the 40’s with Dominic Hughes until the
latter ruptured his Achilles tendon at the S. L. Green tourney two weeks
ago) and Imran Khan before running away with the 15-4 close-out fourth,
and Rob Whitehouse and Greg Park, who had been pressured in their first-round
match against high-school seniors Chris Callis and Alex Domenick (who
won the third game after trailing 12-8 before losing in four), then soundly
out-played their favored opponents Dave Rosen and Noah Wimmer, who faded
in the face of Park’s relentless power and Whitehouse’s crafty
shot-making.

Tournament Summary
Men’s Open: Rd of 16:
Scott Stonburgh/Morris Clothier, bye;
Ryan
O’Connell/Hamed Anvari d Stewart Grodman/Rob Dinerman, 3-1;
Dave
Rosen/Noah Wimmer d Matt Domenick/Adam Hamill, 3-0;
Rob Whitehouse/Greg
Park d Alex Domenick/Chris Callis, 3-1;
Eric Vlcek/Steve Scharff, bye;

Addison West/Geoff Kennedy d Dylan Patterson/Pete Karlen, 3-2;
Imran
Khan/Rich Sheppard d Michael Sabatine/Nick Barquin, 3-0;
Trevor McGuinness/Whitten
Morris, bye.

Qtrs:
Stoneburgh/Clothier d O’Connell/Anvari, 3-2;
Whitehouse/Park
d Rosen/Wimmer, 3-0;
West/Kennedy d Vlcek/Scharff, 3-1;
McGuinness/Morris
d Khan/Sheppard, 3-1.

Women’s Open:
Qtrs:
Narelle Krizek/Demer Holleran
d Kat Van Blarcom/Lissen Tutrone, 3-1;
Susie Pierrepont/Dana Betts d Lee
Belknap/Emily Lungstrum, 3-0;
Dawn Gray/Amy Milanek d Michelle Quibell/Meredeth
Quick, 3-0;
Jessica Dimauro/Natalie Grainger d Catherine MacLeod/Marie
Vlcek, 3-0.  

 

 






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