If we count every player in the top 8 of the APTA’s Men’s Doubles Ranking, we end up with 16 players. If 13 of them gather the same day to play in a paddle tournament, the excitement is guaranteed! That is exactly what happened today in Rye, NY at the Sound Shore Invitational. In a rematch of Chicago’s Nationals final, this time Johan Du Randt and Matt Porter beat Mark Parsons and Mike Stulac 6-2, 4-6, 6-0.
Some may say that Du Randt and Porter don’t play paddle. Actually they play their own version of paddle and it seems to work just fine for them. Unless you have as much talent as Johan and Matt, their style cannot be copied. On the other hand, Parsons and Stulac play the “traditional” way. Mark rips backhand drives while Mike plays tight to the net and tries to blizt of Mark’s every return. Unlike Du Randt-Porter, they don’t mind playing long points.
On their way to the semis, Du Randt-Porter beat Brad Easterbrook and Lennart Jonason 6-4, 7-6. Jonason was serving 4-5 down in the first set but was not able to hold serve and the first set was history. In the second set, the parity continued until the tie breaker. Matt Porter hit an incredible one handed backhand drive at 5-3 and that point gave them the math point opportunity. They converted and were now waiting for the second semifinals to end.
Parsons and Stulac were playing versus unseeded team of Scott Estes and Nathan LeFevre. Estes-LeFevre earned their spot in the semis when they beat #4 seeds Arraya-Bancila in the quarters by 6-3, 6-2. Parsons-Stulac took an early lead and won the first set 6-2. Things were different in the second set. Estes-LeFevre had a 4-2, 40-15 lead but was not enough. The National Champions came back and tied at 4, and then at 5.
After breaking LeFevre’s serve again, the #1 team in the country looked to close off the set and secure their spot in the final. The started 15-40 and we were headed for a tie breaker. However, a couple of unforced errors and lobs missed wide and into the net gave the National Champs the victory.
The final was then going to be a rematch from Nationals. Two very different styles of play but one thing was common. The Sound Shore Invitational was certainly a huge success and shows that lately the best paddle players come from East of the Lake Michigan.
The high level of paddle in Rye was something that even paddle legend Stephen Baird did not want to miss. The 10-time National Champion talked to PaddleTimes and share his opinion about today’s game.
Two things are different now: the ball used to be slower and did not come off the wire this lively. We had some good “tennis” players playing the game but not these many. The field in the tournaments is so much deeper now
Can anyone disagree?
Other finals include:
- NRT Quarters Reprieve – Broderick-Moore vs. DeRose-Lubow (to be played in NJ soon)
- NRT Reprieve – Cosimano-Haller def. Fried-Seiler 6-3, 6-4
- NRT Consolation – Ruppert-Wright def. Catter-Spyratos 6-1, 6-1
- NRT Consolation Reprieve – Jellinek-Stein def. Lee-Muldoon 6-1, 3-6, 10-8 (Super Tie-Breaker)
- Men’s B Main Draw – Home-Montalbano def. Chen-Clark NSR