Just like what happened last season in many tournaments across the country, foreign born players keep winning titles. This time it was Faycal Rhazali, originally from Morocco, and Jim Lipinski, born and raised in Poland. Faycal and Jim took the 2nd annual St-Germain Classic when they beat Rick Cutler and Brad Easterbrook at a fast pace final by scores of 6-2, 6-3.

It was supposed to rain all day but fortunately the weather hel up. The temperature got warmer when it was the turn of the semifinals. Lipkiski-Rhazali beat Brennan-Spyratos 6-4, 6-4 and secured a spot in the final match. The other semis featured APTA #1 Michael Cochrane and local paddle ace Sean Dockery versus APTA #8 Brad Easterbrook and Rick Cutler.

Although Cochrane and Dockery fought hard from a break down in the first set and were 5-4 up, Cutler-Easterbrook were able to close the set by winning the last three games in a row. The second set also showed why both Easterbrook and Cochrane are two of the top players in the country as they were both making shot after shot and entertaining the crowd. At 5-5 in the second, Brad and Rick won a few big points to break Dockery’s serve. Cutler then held his serve and they were also in the final match of the day.

Other than being 1-0 down after the first game of the finals, Lipinski-Rhazali were in control of the entire match. They played very steady paddle. Lipinski would hit some hard drives and high lobs while Rhazali mixed up some great volleys and excellent gets in the back court. Easterbrook and Cutler tried their best but the Moroccan-Polish duo were too good today.

With the presence of Region 2 President Rob Coster in Stamford among other participants, the St-Germain Classic is looking to expand the draw to 32 teams next season. The event was not a B Tournament but it was sanctioned by the APTA. At the end of the day, the kickoff of the season in Region 2 could not have been better: top players, local club players, great paddle, no so great paddle and lots of fun.

The tournaments owes its name to St-Germain, the first liqueur in the world created in the artisanal French manner. They provided with drinks to all players. The St-Germain Classic also benefited Save the Children.

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Patricio Misitrano