British Open Doubles Final
Nov 14, 2021 - Nov 23, 2021 The Queen’s Club A Lumsden & B Ronaldson
The T&RA British Open Doubles 2021 saw a good entry this year, highlighting the wealth of talent around the UK Clubs, as well as players travelling from both France and the US to participate. Qualifiers Nick Wood & Scott Blaber (RTC) won their first-round match before running into the formidable top seeds, Rob Fahey & Nick Howell (Oratory & Bordeaux). Fellow qualifiers, Claire Fahey & Levi Gale (Oratory) ran into the experienced amateur pair, Jamie Giddins & Ed Kay, but made them fight after a brilliant third set recovery.
The quarter-finals saw no major surprises as the top four seeds made their way into the semis; but here there were some tough matches. Fahey & Howell faced third seeds John Lumley (Philadelphia) & Conor Medlow (Chicago), fresh from Lumley’s exploits of the day before, knocking World Champion Fahey out of the singles. A hard first set went to the travellers, before the top seeds levelled. The third set hung in the balance but eventually Fahey & Howell persevered 6/5, and then ran through a swift final set to secure their place in the final, 5/6 6/2 6/5 6/0. Next on court, second seeds Bryn Sayers (Queen’s) & Ben Taylor-Matthews (Leamington) took on another pair of travellers, fourth seeds Rod McNaughtan & Matthieu Sarlangue (Paris). The UK-based pair started strongly and were two straightforward sets ahead before a fiercely contested third set saw them progress to the final, winning 6/1 6/2 6/4.
The final was evenly contested with all four players playing their part with some breath-taking rests. Howell was steady and allowed his more illustrious partner to make his spectacular shots, as Fahey produced a masterclass in doubles play. Sayers and Taylor-Matthews were never far away, taking their own big points to run each set towards its conclusion, but the Fahey & Howell pairing proved its worth as the top seeds, always having just enough to overcome the clever shot-making of Sayers & Taylor-Matthews. Fahey’s skills were highlighted near the end of the third by intercepting a dedans-bound, main wall boast with a crisp volley into the winning gallery. Ultimately worthy winners in a tight match, 6/5 6/4 6/4.
T&RA Chairman, David Watson, first presented the Grays Junior of the Year award to Bertie Vallat (Queen’s) following his own successful year winning the Under 16 Open Championship in the Summer. Then thanks to the tournament organisers, Alistair Lumsden and Ben Ronaldson, together with the numerous volunteers who had made the event happen, ably led by Jess Garside. Thanks were also due to the Patrons and the T&RA for their financial backing, and Queen’s Club for providing the venue. The Doubles salver was then presented to winners, Fahey and Howell, who reiterated how wonderful it was to be back on court, and being able to play in front of Tennis-starved galleries once again.