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Arraya - Morneau win Boston Grand Prix
January 29, 2017
Any concerns that the Boston Open would lack drama without top-ranked Drew Broderick and Jared Palmer in the draw proved wildly unfounded. Johan du Randt and Mark Parsons were the top seeds and the heavy favorites, having won this season’s first two Grand Prix events together and Parsons winning the third with Steve DeRose. The incredible depth in the men’s draw meant that nothing was a given, however, and Juan Arraya and Jeff Morneau, seeded second, overcame first set deficits in the quarters, semis, and finals to take the title.
Arraya and Morneau had anything but an easy run to the finals. In a repeat of a quarterfinal match at The Midwesterns two weeks ago, the eighth seeds, Mikk Irdoja and Dan Regan, gave Arraya/Morneau everything they could handle in an extremely physical match before falling 6-4 in the third. The semis were also a repeat match from The Midwesterns, but Scott Kahler and Casey Watt offered much stiffer resistance to Arraya/Morneau this time, winning the first set 6-1 before losing the next two 6-3, 6-4. Kahler/Watt have come on strong since the New Year, upsetting the second seeded Max LePivert and George Wilkinson to reach The Midwesterns’ semis, and subduing fourth seeds, Marek Czerwinski and Chris Gambino in Boston’s quarterfinals.
Du Randt and Parsons took quite another route to the finals, losing only two games to unseeded Ryan Baxter and Ricky Heath in the quarters and six games to third seeded John Hughes and Mark Powers in the semis. Baxter and Heath upset the seventh seeds, Martin Bostrom and Sebastian Bredberg, to reach the quarters, while Hughes/Powers beat fifth seeded LePivert/Wilkinson by the strange score of 6-0, 6-7, 6-0.
Because du Randt/Parsons dominated so thoroughly en route to the finals and have had a lock on the Grand Prix events this season, nobody gave Arraya and Morneau much of a chance in the finals. Parsons/DeRose dominated Arraya/Morneau in The Midwesterns finals, making the chance for an upset seem even less likely. But as everyone who plays paddle knows, matches can turn on a dime, and only the smallest of margins often separates the winners from the losers. When du Randt and Parsons held match point in the second set of what appeared to be a well-played but routine win, the outcome everyone expected seemed assured.
Arraya and Morneau weren’t ready to concede the match, however, and after a long match point characterized by great shots and fabulous gets, Arraya hit a spectacular winner to get the game back to deuce. He and Morneau won the second set 7-5, and held their game plan and belief all through the third, which they also took 7-5. Arraya, who had never beaten du Randt and Parsons, credited Morneau with the win. “Jeff is the best partner I’ve ever had, and the most supportive,” he said.
Next up is Short Hills, the final stop on the Grand Prix circuit. Can Arraya and Morneau repeat their Grand Prix victory? Will two-time defending national champions Drew Broderick and Jared Palmer win their first Grand Prix this season? Will du Randt and Parsons decide to play? In two weeks, we will have all the answers.
Paddle players everywhere watched the Live Stream from Boston on the APTA Network and on Facebook Live. On Facebook Live alone, 34,900 people viewed the coverage, and 169 people liked the APTA Facebook page. That’s 169 more people who will be getting paddle updates right in their Facebook newsfeed. Thank you to Gerri Viant, Mark Fischl, Patty Hogan, Brad Easterbrook and the ENET crew for making the Boston Open must-see TV!
Thank you to tournament director Drew Sawyer, Weston Golf Club‘s Genius Chidzikwe, and the Boston Open tournament committee for providing a great player and fan experience, and to Boston Private and all of the other generous tournament sponsors.
Main Draw: Juan Arraya/Jeffrey Morneau def. Johan du Randt/Mark Parsons, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Ricky Baxter/Ryan Heath def. Mikk Irdoja/Dan Regan
Reprieve: Scott Falatak/Vlatko Najdek def. Rob Bakker/Tyler Fraser, 6-2, 0-6, 6-0
Round of 32 Consolation: Todd Hiscox/Patricio Misitrano def. Andrea Bonfigli/Javier Ferrin-Kranewitter
Round of 32 Consolation Reprieve: Nick Bergman/Marthinus Visser def. Gart/Gregor
Consolation: Scott Bondurant/Michael McGrath def. Josep Baro/John Cassas, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
Consolation Reprieve: Graham Battle/Brad Smith def. Thorsten Knobloch/Todd Meringoff, 1-6, 6-1, 6-0