Maybe it was the free week in Dominican Republic. Maybe was the fact that they were playing at “home.” The fact is that Scott Falatek and Vlatko Nadjek played some of the best paddle of their lives and won the Lehigh Valley Classic losing only one set in the final match.
Scott and Vlatko have been on the verge of a breakthrough for a while. This victory will put them close to the top 10, which will be their highest ranking since they started playing together three years ago. They are currently 17th in the latest APTA Men’s National Ranking.
In the final they defeated Juan Arraya and Mike Gillespie in a nail-biting match by 6-4, 0-6, 7-6. After cruising in the second set, things seemed to go very different for Arraya-Gillespie. The #3 seeds increased their level, started making more vollies and stopped making errors. Some fans said they last set almost as was close as Djokovic-Nadal Australian Open final.
On their way to the final, the champs beat Max LePivert and Patricio Misitrano in the quarters by 6-1, 6-2 and then took care of business against #2 seeds David Caldwell and Blake Cordish by 6-2, 6-3 in the semis. They were fresh and ready for the final match.
Arraya-Gillespie had a three set win in the round of 16s versus Juan Jaysingh and Trevor Spraklin. They came through after losing the first set and won 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. In the quarters, Juan and Mike beat Scott Kahler and Matt Riva by 6-3, 6-4. In the semis, they faced Brian O’Connor and Devin Wakeford, who had high hopes after their victory versus #1 seeds Lennart Jonason and Mike Stulac. They played for almost three hours. The 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 score kept everyone in the hut watching a great match. Click here to watch O’Connor’s backhand passing shot that gave them their first match point at 6-5 in the third.
The semifinals between Arraya-Gillespie and O’Connor-Wakeford was a strange match. After defeating Jonason-Stulac, Brian and Devin were hot during the first set but they sort of lost steam and got bageled back to back in the second and third sets. Final score was 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 for Arraya-Gillespie.
With no more NRTs before Nationals, all teams have a couple of weeks to rest and practice before they head to Long Island. Plenty of time to go back to the drawing board for some and plenty of time to continue working on the strategies that seem to work for others. That appears to be the case for Falatek-Nadjek. They will now drive to Long Island with lost of confidence.
To check all scores and draws click here.