Darien Grand Prix Recap

October 19, 2020
Country Club of Darien, Darien, CT

2020 Darien Grand Prix Men's Final Results (doc)(pdf)

2020 Darien Grand Prix Women's Final Results (doc)(pdf)

The first Grand Prix of the 2020-2021 season took place on seasonally warm fall weekend. With Covid regulations limiting numbers, the 16-team draws for both the men and women players meant the action was hot from the first round on. The audience consisted of umpires, players, and volunteers. It was quiet off the courts, but the business of paddle thrived.


With a small, highly ranked group of players competing for the first time this year, all the matches were worth watching, from the main draw to the consolation reprieve. Top seed Florentina Hanisch said, “The first match was probably the toughest. Lindsay [Herschel] and Victoria [Cran] played very well and Ana and I were still figuring out positioning and who should be taking what balls.” After a 7-5, 6-3 win, the new team of Hanisch/Zubori went on to defeat Liz Cruz and Gabriela Niculescu (just back on the tour after recent pregnancies) in the quarterfinals, and another new dynamic pair, Roxy Enica and Martina Ondrejkova, in the semifinals.

In the quarterfinals on the bottom half of the draw, National Champions and second seeds Macie Elliot and Marcela Rodezno dropped two sets to Kerri Delmonico and Lauren Gebbia, and third seeds Annica Cooper and Myrthe Molenveld lost in three sets to Jessica Guyaux and Jaclyn Williamson. Delmonico/Gebbia came out victorious in the semifinal and headed to the final against Hanisch/Zubori.

Because Live Streaming was going all day, viewers were able to see the back draw match of Cruz/Niculescu and Alison Morgan and Charlotte Sikora.


Gerri Viant listed the Viking Keys to Success for Hanisch/Zubori: “No short overheads--Delmonico likes to build her points off the deck, lob down the line to get Delmonico to take more overheads from behind Gebbia, and more dropshots to test the foot speed of their opponents.” The Viking Keys to Success for Delmonico/Gebbia: “Hit deep lobs, can’t hit floaters, if they hit short balls both Hanisch and Zubori have too much ability, test the new team put the balls down the middle at net and backcourt and see who is going to take which balls, and vary drive shots, the speed and height of balls, to test their volley skills, get them to reach.” Throughout the match, Hanisch/Zubori were on the offense, moving Delmonico and Gebbia out of position and taking advantage of it. As Viant said, “The chase begins.” Even with Gebbia’s big drives and Delmonico’s well-placed overheads, the match was all Hanisch/Zubori, who won 6-1, 6-0. Watch the Live Streaming replay and notice that their feet never stop moving to get to the right positioning for the right shot placement.


The men’s draw at Darien looked very similar to the latter rounds at Nationals, sans the great Midwest teams. There were three-set battles in the first round, and not all the top seeds were looking sharp at 8 AM—yet they all made it through to the quarterfinals. Juan Arraya and Mark Parsons (3) needed three sets and a tiebreaker to take down Marco Grangeiro and Jon Lubow. Sven Burus and Mikk Irdoja (4) needed three sets and two tiebreakers to get through Max LePivert and Anton Protsenko. The Pittsburgh team, Scott Kahler and Filip Rams, used three sets to win over John Hughes and Marc Powers (2). Top seeds Johan du Randt and Stephen Mitchell were able to close out their quarterfinal in two sets against Blake Anderson and Martin Bostrom. The semifinals took half as long, with Kahler/Rams having to retire to Arraya/Parsons and du Randt/Mitchell handling Burus/Irdoja in two sets.


It never gets old watching previous partners du Randt and Parsons on opposite sides of the net. The first set was close at 3-3, but Arraya was going for more then he needed and he and Parsons weren’t always in synch. The reigning National Champs rolled to the first set, 6-3. The pace was fast, which both teams like, but it worked in du Randt/Mitchell’s favor. The points were fun to watch, but the second set flew by, with du Randt and Mitchell winning 6-1 for the victory.

See all the results on Live Scoring.


L to R: Juan Arraya, Mark Parsons, Greg Robertson (Umpire), Johan du Randt, Stephen Mitchell


L to R: Florentina Hanisch, Ana Marija Zubori, Margret Greene (Umpire), Lauren Gebbia, Kerri Delmonico


L to R: Anne Waldron, Tiernan Cavanna, Jackie Cameron

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