The 2013 Midwesterns was full of upsets, strange weather, and great paddle as teams from across the country battled for the title. In the end, the top seeded team of Drew Broderick and Chris Gambino took home the win, dropping only 1 set throughout the tournament.
The mayhem began with the weather forecast. Temperatures reached the mid-60s on Saturday, providing some warm-weather paddle in the dead of winter. The upsets began early too, as 3 of the top 8 seeds failed to reach the quarterfinals. In the round of 16, local favorites Rob Bakker and Eric Toth beat 8th seeded Brian Heil and Chris Struck 6-4, 6-1, John Noble and Mike Rahaley defeated the 6th seeded team of Ryan Baxter and Ricky Heath 2-6, 6-2, 6-0, and Denny English and Thaddeus Reed took out the 5th seeded duo of Brett Engelsberg and Jeff McMaster 6-4, 6-4.
The quarterfinals saw some spectacular play too, as all 4 matches were played in front of a sizable and enthusiastic crowd at the newly constructed paddle hut at The Camargo Club. The 7th seeded team of Alex Bancila and Peter Berka continued the trend of lower seeded teams winning, taking out the 2nd seeds and defending champions Mike Marino and Dane Schmidgall 6-3, 6-0. The top seeded team of Broderick-Gambino took out English-Reed 6-0, 6-3.
Next, the Pittsburgh team of Scott Kahler and Matt Riva took down Noble-Rahaley 6-4, 6-1. With 3 of the 4 quarterfinals complete, the stage was set for the match of the tournament to take place. Playing at his home club and in front of an excited crowd, Rob Bakker put on a brilliant display of athleticism and shot-making as he and Eric Toth defeated the 3rd seeded team of Scott Estes and Mike Stulac in a thrilling 3-set clash, 6-4 in the final set.
The semi-finals were played Sunday morning at Kenwood Country Club under a light, but steady rain. The 4th seeded team of Kahler-Riva had the upset special on their mind, but in the end succombed to the defending national champions by a score of 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. In the other semifinal, Bancila-Berka were finally able to stop the local powerhouse team of Bakker-Toth, winning a 2.5 hour match 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. In the finals, Broderick-Gambino showed why they were the top seeds, working their way to a 6-2, 6-3 win.
For Broderick-Gambino it was their 1st tournament win this year after a semifinal showing at the Atlantic Classic and finishing 2nd at Chicago Charities earlier in the season. Next up for the current #1 ranked team will be Boston National (Jan. 26-27), which is expected to have one of, if not the strongest field of the season prior to nationals.
Backdraw winners at the 2013 Midwesterns included:
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Noble-Rahaley def. Estes-Stulac 6-0, 4-6, 6-4
16s Reprieve: Heil-Struck def. Baxter-Heath
2nd Round Consolation: Khurana-Wagner def. Nichols-Rogers 6-2, 6-2
Consolation: Lemery-Kociecki def. DiRosario-Russo 6-1, 5-7, 6-4