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Short Hills Invitational Men’s NRT/Viking PCQ Preview
February 7, 2017
Short Hills, NJ
In a season marked by the top two teams, Drew Broderick/Jared Palmer and Johan du Randt/Mark Parsons, distancing themselves from the teams below, the results of the Boston Open nearly two weeks ago came as quite a surprise. Battling back from match point down, Juan Arraya and Jeff Morneau beat du Randt and Parsons to take the title. As the final Grand Prix tournament of the 2016-2017 looms this weekend in Short Hills, some questions are begging to be answered. Can Arraya/Morneau make a run at the top two spots in the men’s game by winning in Short Hills? Will Drew Broderick and Jared Palmer, who haven’t played a tournament together since Chicago Charities in early November, dominate the draw? Or can one of the teams seeded three through eight make a run to the finals?
Without du Randt and Parsons in the draw, two-time defending National Champions Broderick/Palmer are the clear favorites to win Short Hills. As the Boston Open illustrated, however, there are no sure things on a paddle circuit with so many talented teams. Arraya had never beaten du Randt/Parsons prior to Boston, but he and Morneau have proved themselves this year as a great team with consistently good results, and must be considered a good bet to follow up their upset victory in Boston with one in Short Hills.
The third seeds, Scott Kahler and Casey Watt, emerged as contenders this year with semifinal finishes at The Midwesterns and in Boston. When they won the first set 6-1 from Arraya/Morneau in the Boston semis, Kahler/Watt looked ready to avenge their semifinal loss from Cincinnati, but ended up losing in three. After coming so close to a Grand Prix final, Kaher/Watt could be ready to take the next step at Short Hills.
Rounding out the top four seeds, John Hughes and Marc Powers come into Short Hills with a semifinal finish in Boston under their belts. With semifinal finishes in all three Grand Prix events they have competed in this season, they’ve earned their top four seeding and will be tough to beat before the semis.
Seeded fifth and sixth, Max LePivert/George Wilkinson and Mikk Irdoja/Dan Regan are dangerous opponents for the top four teams. LePivert/Wilkinson reached the finals of Patterson, losing 7-5 in the third to du Randt/Parsons, and took a set from Broderick/Palmer in the semifinals of Chicago Charities. Irdoja/Regan lost tough three-set battles to Arraya/Morneau in both The Midwesterns and at the Boston Open. The seventh seeds, Martin Bostrom and Sebastian Bredberg, are looking to rebound from an early loss in Boston, and the eighth seeded Steve DeRose and Jon Lubow will try to capitalize on DeRose’s shotmaking skills to carry them through.
The highest ranked team not to earn a seeding in Short Hills is Anton Bobytski and Bernard Schoeman, who showed they can compete with teams in the top ten when they defeated Bostrom/Bredberg at the Duane Hayden Long Island Invitational. Marco Grangeiro and Adam Morgan are pairing up for the first time and could be a difficult team to beat.
The drama will unfold this weekend as we learn if Broderick and Palmer can reassert their dominance at the top, if Arraya and Morneau can continue their hot streak, or if one of the other teams nipping at their heels can find success. Don’t miss a minute of it by tuning into the APTA Network or Facebook Live all day Saturday and Sunday.