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New Winners and Veterans Take Titles at Charities
NOVEMBER 15, 2010
The 2010 Chicago Platform Tennis Charities Tournament was a mixed bag this year in the best sort of way. It was a combination of new teams, experienced duos, veterans, younger players, new champs and repeat winners. We had the continuation of tradition with Howard Sipe as umpire for the Men's Open final, and the dawning of a new era with the debut of a live, on-line, interactive scoring system. All this over three days of beautiful fall weather.
The women took to the courts on Friday with a draw that would have made odds-making nearly impossible. In the eight seeded postions there were familiar teams: Prop-Schneebeck(1); Cottingham-Hayward(3) and Lemery-Ohlmuller(4). There were top players in new partnterships: Flynn-Main(2); Prendergast-Sheldon(5) and Doten-Nusslock(6). There was a decorated Hall of Famer returning with a new partner: Mandell-Viant(8). And there was a talented next-generation pair: Schwartz-Shpiz.
But nestled in the middle of the draw was a team that met almost by chance last year when the top local ladies put together a mini-league with its own draft. Jane McNitt, an experienced and successful tournament player, paired with Gillian Climo, one of the seemingly endless stream of talents coming out of Hinsdale. After a 3 set first round match, they quickly dispatched their second round opponents, then started knocking off seeds. Flynn-Main(2) in the round of 16, Schwartz-Shpiz(7) in the quarters and Prendergast-Sheldon(5) in the semis. On the other side of the draw were Gerri Viant, Hall of Famer and holder of more than a dozen national titles, with partner Lauren Mandell. Seeded 8, their run to the final required setting aside Prop-Schneebeck(1) and Cottingham-Hayward(3).
This is the beauty of platform tennis: that elusive chemistry of skill, experience and partnership (not to mention the effect of weather), that can make anything possible. The Women's Open final was a beautiful three set match, a wonderful combination of textbook strategy, hard hitting, and footwork, with Climo-McNitt ultimately prevailing over Mandell-Viant 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
In the Men's Open, the list of seeds was much more typical than on the women's side. It was a brutally deep set of talent, including 8 former national champions, 6 of whom appeared with their title-winning partners. The balance of the seeds hold a dizzying array of tournament titles. But that's a typical year at the Chicago Charities.
Fourteen of the 16 seeds held to the round of 16. In a 128 draw, even seeded teams with byes in the first round have to play 3 matches to get to the quarter finals. That proved to be no problem for the top teams, as 7 of the top 8 seeds, and no unseeded teams, advanced to the quarters. The quarters were played in the late afternoon, in front of a large crowd. They were the perfect backdrop for the tournament BBQ party. Arraya-Bancila(8) advanced when Marino-Uihlein(2) were forced to an injury retirement in the first set. Bondurant-Johnson(4) took out Broderick-Moore(12) in a 3 setter. Berka-Eberly(6) defeated Goodspeed-Mansager(3) in 2, and Cochrane-Estes(1) beat Caldwell-Cordish(7) in 3.
On Sunday morning, Juan Martinez-Arraya and Alex Bancila were the first to make it to the finals, beating Scott Bondurant and Mark Johnson 6-3, 6-2. But they were not celebrating anything yet. The top prize was not in hand. The other semi was a longer, more grueling match. It took Mike Cochrane and Scott Estes 3 sets to move past Peter Berka and Drew Eberly, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. All of the play was oustanding and, to the benefit of the fans, it was a warm day, making for comfortable outside viewing.
The final was everything it should have been. With nobody giving it away, this was a tournament that had to be won. After 2 hours of long points and inspiring athleticism, Arraya and Bancila captured their first Chicago Charities title 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The Charities also hosts Men's 90+ and 110+ tournaments. In the 90+, James Goldman and Charlie Usher took the title, defeating Jean Kempner and Mike Marino 6-2, 6-2. In the Men's 110+, 8 teams competed in a round robin format, with top honors going to Jacobson-Read and 2nd place to Meyers-Spinks.
Congratulations to the winners and finalists in all the tournaments and draws.