British Amateur Real Tennis Singles and Doubles 2017
Matthieu Sarlangue and Chris Davies
This season’s entry was strong with players not making the cut. The First Round was straightforward for the four of the six seeds. However, Luke Danby lost a tight match against Jamie Giddins and James Male seemed to be sailing towards the quarter-finals against Roman Krznaric, before the latter turned the tables, with Male eventually retiring in the fifth. Giddins and Krznaric then met in the quarter-finals, which saw the younger player winning through after Krznaric retired in the second set. Top seed Matthieu Sarlangue had a tough workout against Robert Shenkman, who battled hard against the top French amateur and was never far away. Ed Kay swept aside Phil Dunn's opposition and, after two matches, had lost just seven games overall. The tightest quarter-final saw doubles and Bathurst Cup partners Jamie Douglas and Peter Wright in action. Each of the four sets could have gone either way as neither player could establish primacy. At one-set all, the match was in the balance, but it was Douglas who took the two deciding sets, both 6/5.
After the drama of the quarter-finals, both semi-finals proved to be more straightforward. After a superb run, Giddins finally met his Waterloo, with Sarlangue proving too strong. Kay’s form continued against Douglas, as the two Bathurst Cup teammates battled it out for a place in the final. The three sets were tight, but it was always Kay posing the greater threat.
Two great amateurs met on the Saturday morning, neither having lost a set en route. Kay started the quicker, racing into a four game lead. Sarlangue started to find his touch, saved a game, but the momentum was with Kay, taking the first set 6/1. A very tight start to the second set saw the Frenchman nudge ahead and retain the advantage throughout the set, taking the second 6/3 to level the match. The third and fourth sets were equally as tight as both players struggled for supremacy. Kay repeatedly returned the most difficult of shots, while Sarlangue’s shot production was sublime. Third set to Sarlangue, with Kay levelling – 6/4 4/6 – it couldn’t be closer and the final set beckoned. Neither player was able to break away, although it was Kay who reached a pivotal 5-4 lead. Sarlangue inevitably levelled to take the deciding set into a vital eleventh game. Sarlangue just stayed ahead and Kay survived two championship points before Sarlangue took the silverware at the third attempt.
T&RA Chief Executive, Chris Davies, presented the Amateur Bowl to a worthy winner and paid tribute to Neptune’s eight-year sponsorship of Real Tennis and highlighted many of the improvements made possible by Robin Geffen’s generosity. Also thanks to the Queen's Club for their usual support and to Marker, Andrew Fowler, for another seamless performance.
Both players will meet again in next month’s Bathurst Cup in Paris.
- Matthieu Sarlangue (1) bt Ed Kay (2) 1/6 6/3 6/4 4/6 6/5
- Matthieu Sarlangue (1) bt Jamie Giddins 6/3 6/3 6/3
- Ed Kay (2) bt Jamie Douglas (3) 6/3 6/4 6/4
- Matthieu Sarlangue (1) bt Robert Shenkman 6/4 6/3 6/3
- Ed Kay (2) bt Philip Dunn 6/0 6/2 6/2
- Jamie Douglas (3) bt Peter Wright (6) 6/4 4/6 6/5 6/5
- Jamie Giddins bt Roman Krznaric 6/3 3/0 retired
Round of 16
- Robert Shenkman bt Tom Seymour Mead 6/3 6/2 6/1
- Roman Krznaric bt James Male (5) 1/6 2/6 6/4 6/5 3/0 retired
- Jamie Douglas (3) bt Harry Eddis 6/4 6/0 6/1
- Peter Wright (6) bt Tom Bomford 6/3 6/1 6/3
- Philip Dunn bt James Coyne 6/3 6/3 4/6 6/5
- Ed Kay (2) bt John Prenn 6/2 6/0 6/1
- Matthieu Sarlangue (1) bt Adam Dolman 6/2 6/0 6/1
- Jamie Giddins bt Luke Danby (4) 5/6 6/5 6/1 6/5
Jamie Douglas, Peter Wright and Chris Davies
A good line-up for the Amateur Doubles was master-minded by organiser, Luke Danby, for whom many thanks. With James Male’s withdrawal, Danby found a willing partner in Jamie Giddins and they proved too strong for the RTC pair, David Watson & Phil Dunn, although 6/5 in the third set showed the challenge was real enough. Matthieu Sarlangue & doubles specialist, Alistair Lumsden, saw off the robust challenge of James Coyne & Tom Bomford. The match of the round was the five-setter between established pair, Adam Dolman & James Acheson-Gray and John Prenn & Robert Shenkman. The advantage swung both ways before an inevitable fifth set was reached. But then the Dolman & A-Gray partnership prevailed. After their supreme efforts, they were no match for defending champions, Peter Wright and Jamie Douglas, in the semi-final – although a great match between two established pairs. The second semi-final was incredibly close, with Danby & Giddins winning two tight sets to lead 2-0 and then establish the early running in the third set. Sarlangue’s role was pivotal as the second seeds slowly worked their way back into contention, narrowly taking the third 6/5, and then the next two sets 6/4 6/4.
Sunday morning’s final saw the top seeds play a marvellous finale. The power and boasting of Douglas was complimented by the volleying and acrobatics of Wright as they took the early advantage to lead 6/3. However, Sarlangue always remained calm under pressure and once again dominated the lengthy exchanges, superbly supported by Lumsden’s volleys; they levelled the match 6/3 and then took the lead by securing the third set 6/4. The fourth set seemed to be heading away from the defending champions as Sarlangue & Lumsden led 4-2, with points for 5-2. But they weren’t converted and the Wright & Douglas pair won four games without loss, taking the fourth 6/4 to level the match. The final set was as tense as those which preceded, with never more than a game between the opponents. But now Douglas was playing with ever great confidence and managed to take the fifth 6/4, retaining their grip on the Championship.
Chris Davies presented the Bailey Cup, paying tribute to all four players for a wonderful match. The gallery warmly applauded tournament sponsor, Neptune Investment Management, not just for this season but in culmination of everything they have done for the game. The match was flawlessly marked by new Queen’s Head Professional Ben Ronaldson.
- J Douglas & P Wright (1) bt M Sarlangue & A Lumsden (2) 6/3 3/6 4/6 6/4 6/4
- M Sarlangue & A Lumsden (2) bt J Giddins & L Danby 5/6 4/6 6/5 6/4 6/4
- J Douglas & P Wright (1) bt A Dolman & J Acheson-Gray 6/3 6/4 6/4
- J Giddins & L Danby bt P Dunn & D Watson 6/2 6/3 6/5
- M Sarlangue & A Lumsden (2) bt J Coyne & T Bomford 6/2 6/2 6/3
- A Dolman & J Acheson-Gray bt J Prenn & R Shenkman 6/4 3/6 4/6 6/3 6/0