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Grangeiro and Wilkinson Grind Out First Grand Prix Victory; Delmonico and Gebbia Prevail Over a Deep Women's Field
December 7, 2015
Long Island, NY
The third leg of the APTA Grand Prix Series was hosted by the Huntington Country Club and featured deep fields on both the men’s and women’s sides. In the end, Marco Grangeiro and George Wilkinson topped the men’s field while Kerri Delmonico and Lauren Gebbia were crowned women’s champs.
Men’s Champs Now First in Blanchard Cup Standings
Unlike last season, the men’s Duane Hayden Long Island Invitational was played under beautiful blue skies. Boasting five teams among the top 11 in the country as well as two other top players, the field was deep and strong.
All eight seeds made it through to the quarters, but there things got interesting. In the first quarterfinal, Max LePivert and Jeff Morneau, seeded 6th, faced the 3rd seeds Martin Bostrom and Sebastian Bredberg. The pairing of 3rd-ranked LePivert and the underrated Morneau was lethal for the Swedes. Combining power, speed, and finesse, LePivert dominated the court with Morneau providing solid support. The straight-set victory made them the first team to qualify for the semifinals.
The top seeds, Johan du Randt and Mark Parsons were in action for the first time since their surprising loss in Chicago. They were facing Nathan LeFevre and Anthony Cosimano, the 7th seeds. After a slow start, du Randt and Parsons raised their level of play and won 6-2 in the third. One semi was set.
There were a pair of rematches in the bottom half of the draw. First up was a rematch of the quarterfinals at the Grand Prix Patterson Club Open – 2nd-seeded Marco Grangeiro and George Wilkinson against John Hughes and Marc Powers, the 8th seeds. In their first meeting, Hughes and Powers had surprised everyone with a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing. Walking onto the court, Wilkinson was overheard saying, “Hopefully we can win three games this time.” Hughes and Powers played well but in the end, the patience of Grangeiro and Wilkinson won out.
The last quarter was a rematch from Sound Shore two weeks ago, where Anton Mavrin and Patricio Misitrano had broken a long losing streak to Jon Lubow and Steve DeRose. Once again, Mavrin and Misitrano were too much for the Jersey boys to handle.
On Sunday morning, the big question was if du Randt and Parsons would right the paddle world and return to the victory circle they have become so accustomed to visiting. LePivert and Morneau emphatically answered that question with a straight-set thumping of the top seeds. LePivert’s power and blitzing complemented Morneau’s precision driving perfectly.
In the second semi, Mavrin and Misitrano got off to a fast start against Grangeiro and Wilkinson, but in the end were worn down by their patience.
The finals was a similar story. Grangeiro and Wilkinson overcame fatigue and won a thrilling 6-4 third set to claim their first Grand Prix title. Wilkinson’s powerful forehand combined with Grangeiro’s great volleying was just enough to lead them to victory. The win propels them to first place in the Blanchard Cup standings.
Delmonico and Gebbia Claim First National Ranking Tournament
The women’s draw was one of the deepest in recent memory, as several of the top Chicago teams made the trip east. As a result, the round of 16 was filled with tough matchups.
In the top half of the draw, host pro and two-time national finalist Lisa Rudloff was playing with longtime partner Liz Jaffe. They faced the 8th-ranked team of Suzanne Lemery and Kelly Rohrbach. Lemery and Rohrbach were coming off a quarter-final performance that included a close loss to the 2nd-ranked team in the country, Cynthia Dardis and Amy Shay. Lemery and Rohrbach won a tight battle in three sets. The high-quality paddle was a prelude of things to come.
Dardis and Shay cruised into the semis with little opposition. For the rest of the draw, things would be different. Kerri Delmonico and Lauren Gebbia fought off a tough challenge from Marina Ohlmuller and Alison Morgan. Morgan’s athletic play presented serious challenges for Delmonico and Gebbia, but in the end the 3rd seeds were too tough.
The 4th seeds, Gabi Niculescu and Martina Ondrejkova, wouldn’t be so fortunate. Coming off the biggest win of their careers at the Grand Prix Chicago Charities, some experts thought Niculescu and Ondrejkova were the favorites to win the tournament. Facing the powerful team of Hallie Bodman and Liz Hayward, they were unable to find answers.
Bodman and Hayward both hit big balls, and Niculescu and Ondrejkova seemed uncomfortable not to be the most powerful team on the court. The teams split the first two sets, but the power of Hayward was the difference in a fast third set, sending the youngsters back to the drawing board.
The final semi-final spot seemed to belong to Ana Brzova and Viki Stoklasova. Having dominated the women’s game for the past few years, and winning the Grand Prix Patterson Club Open, the two could not intimidate Lemery and Rohrback. After losing the first set in a tie-breaker, Brzova and Stoklosova came roaring back to restore order. It seemed like the top-ranked team was back in control, but appearances can be deceiving and Lemery and Rohrback won the final set 6-2 to complete the semis.
Saturday morning was a beautiful day for paddle. Dardis and Shay made fast work of the big-hitting team from Chicago, dispatching Bodman and Hayward in straight sets.
The other semi had Lemery and Rohrback trying to back up their big win, taking on Delmonico and Gebbia. The level of paddle was high, with the girls from Chicago showing no letdown, but in the end the intelligence of Delmonico was the difference. Delmonico controlled the play as she and Gebbia came away with a hard-fought 6-4 win in the third set to close the match.
In the finals, both teams must have been thrilled not to see the “Ovas” facing them. Dardis and Shay won the first set and were up an early break in the second, but once again the experience of Delmonico was the difference. Moving her overheads around, she and Gebbia won a tight second set before closing out their first National Ranking Tournament with a 6-4 in the third victory.
Holding new daughter Riley, Kerry was beaming as she walked around the courts. A well-earned victory, and Delmonico and Gebbia are now well into the fight for the Childress Cup.
Special thanks to Duane Hayden, Tim Mangan, and their team for putting on another terrific event. Also thanks to Gerri Viant and the crew from ENet TV for all their hard work streaming the tournaments.