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Short Hills Invitational Men’s NRT/Viking PCQ Recap
February 13, 2017
Short Hills, NJ
There was a lot on the line this weekend at the Short Hills Invitational, as most of the top men’s players in the country vied for ranking points at the last Grand Prix of the season and the last major tournament before the Nationals in March.
Several questions swirled around the favorites and top seeds, Drew Broderick and Jared Palmer, as the tournament commenced. No one knew if Palmer’s recent struggles with injuries would affect him, or if his lack of play (his last tournament was over three months ago at Chicago Charities) would show in his game. Broderick/Palmer played solid paddle throughout the weekend, however, and on a day when the weather played the biggest role of all, defeated the second seeds Juan Arraya and Jeffrey Morneau to win the title.
Neither team lost a set en route to the finals. In a highly anticipated semifinal match, Arraya/Morneau dismissed the fourth seeds John Hughes and Marc Powers in less than an hour, 6-2, 6-2. The rain and sleet made playing conditions extremely difficult, and the more experienced team of Arraya/Morneau used them to their advantage and sealed a much easier victory than expected. Broderick/Palmer also handled the conditions well in their semifinal, taking out the eighth seeds, Steve DeRose and Jon Lubow by the identical score.
By beating the fifth seeds, Max LePivert and George Wilkinson in the quarterfinals, Hughes/Powers locked up the number four seeding for Nationals. Since none of the teams ranked just below the dominant top two pairs really want to face Broderick/Palmer or Johan du Randt and Mark Parsons before the semifinals, the tight race for the fourth seed was especially important.
In the finals, Broderick had trouble contending with Arraya’s spin overheads, which came off the icy screens at very odd angles, but he and Palmer were the steadier team, coming away with a hard fought 7-6, 7-5 victory. Although disappointed with the loss, Arraya and Morneau had an excellent season together, winning or reaching the finals in five of the six tournaments they played together, and establishing themselves as the biggest threat to the dominance of the top two teams.
With the 2016-2017 Grand Prix season in the books, focus turns to the upcoming Philly Nationals. As strong as the field in Short Hills was, a few key players were absent. With the addition of du Randt/Parsons and fifth ranked Casey Watt who couldn’t play Short Hills because of an injury, the draw at the Nationals will be filled with blockbuster matchups.
Main Draw: Drew Broderick/Jared Palmer def. Juan Arraya/Jeffrey Morneau, 7-6, 7-5
Round of 16 Reprieve: Marco Grangeiro/Adam Morgan def. Brian O’Connor/Devin Wakeford
Round of 32 Consolation: Ritush Venugopal/Louis Volclair def. Josep Baro/John Cassas
Round of 64 Consolation: Sven Burus/Roman Stoisavljevic def. Nick Bergman/Marthinus Visser, 6-2, 6-4
Round of 64 Reprieve: Pedro Aiala/Thommas de Liefde def. Marcus Fritz/Duncan Miller, 6-4, 6-4