One of the oldest tournaments in the country, the Wilton Open was played this past weekend for the 30th time! Known for its festive atmosphere (steel drum band, bbq lunch, St. Patrick’s Day green beer, floating Kraken in the pond!), the Wilton Open is a charity tournament that benefits the Wilton YMCA, the host club.
While not an APTA national ranking tourney, the Wilton Open, nonetheless, attracts many of the nation’s top players who often team up with friends or club members, as well as strong Fairfield County local teams and emerging platform tennis professionals.
This year was no exception, as the Open field included current national champion and #1 ranked player, Mark Parsons, top 15 pros Sebastian Bredberg and Martin Bostrom and other accomplished ranked players such as Brian O’Connor, Devin Wakeford, Javier Ferrin and Faycal Rhazali. In additon to a full 32-darw B tournament, the Wilton Open also hosted its first women’s draw this year. In total, 80 teams participated this year with more than a dozen teams left behind on the wait list.
In the Open Draw, the seeds pretty much held to form. The top three seeds, Bredberg/Boie Bogardus, Parsons/Maurice Sanchez and Bostrom/Aman Singh all advanced to the semi-finals without dropping a set. Amazingly this was Singh’s first ever platform tennis tournament. The fourth seeds, Enrique Catter/Chris Post, lost in three sets in the quarter-finals to O’Connor/Tom Kratky in what hardly anyone was calling an upset. The semi-finals, which started simultaneously with the snow, also ran true to form. Parsons/Sanchez refused to let Bostrom play Prince Charming to Singh’s Cinderella and took a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Likewise, top-seeded Bredberg/Bogardus ended the upset hopes of O’Connor/Kratky with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
In the finals, Parsons/Sanchez took a quick 6-2 first set lead as the wet courts made for fast points and games. Bredberg/Bogardus quickly turned the tide in the second and after falling behind 4-1, Parsons made the strategic decision to conserve his energy and prepare for a 3rd set. It proved to be a wise choice as after losing the second set, 6-1, Parsons/Sanchez found themselves in a tight/tense 3rd set that saw Parsons covering 80-90% of the court. At 4-5, Parsons needed to hold serve to keep the match alive. At this point, Sanchez came up large and made his volleys to help Parsons hold serve. After a service break, Sanchez was now serving for the match at 6-5. Sanchez served a flawless, faultless game that led to a 7-5 3rd set victory. With the win, Sanchez got his first tournament victory while Parsons completed a memorable undefeated tournament season.
In the B draw, the unseeded Westchester duo of Jim Riechart/Peter Desmond took out the top seeds, Kevin Dillon/Marq Mellor, in the semi-finals 6-3, 7-6. It was a tough loss for Dillon/Mellor as despite continual strong showings in B tourneys, they have vowed not to move up to an Open draw until they win a B draw. In the other semis, second seeds, Matt Edwards/Gaynor Brennan defeated Kip Meyer/Vince Holmes. The finals was an entertaining match that eventually saw Edwards/Brennan take a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win.
In the Women’s draw, the top seeded duo of Jennifer Dempsey/Danielle Lenois defeated the 3rd seeded team of Louise Hemmerle/Leslie Gambee 6-2, 6-2.
Kudos to the Wilton Open tournament committee for another fun, entertaining tournament. The spirit of the tournament was probably best captured by the Men’s Open Reprieve finals between Victor Vidal/Patrick Eagan and Justin Campbell/Javier Ferrin. Despite being a back draw match, the two teams played their finals in the snow well after the main draw finals had been decided. After splitting sets, the players continued to play a full third set (no super tie-breaker for these guys) in front of a strong, boisterous and enthusiastic crowd who didn’t seem to want the tournament to end. So next year, when the Wilton Open releases the Kraken (the tournament mascot), it’s probably best to sign up right away if you want to get in on the festivities.
To access the Men’s Open Draw click HERE.
To access the Men’s B Draw click HERE.
To access the Women’s Draw click HERE.