Rackets

Brown Advisory British Open Singles Championship 2017

24 Jan 2017

Tom Billings wins the British Open Championship against Nick Hopcroft, at The Queen's Club


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Results

Final

  • Tom Billings (1) bt Nick Hopcroft 15/11 15/4 15/2 15/4

Tom Billings avenged his defeat to Nick Hopcroft in the 2007 Jim Dear Final, winning in straight games. This adds the Open Singles Championship to the Manchester Gold Racquet, the Invitation Singles and Amateur Championship.

Both players started well, although it was Billings who inched ahead to 4-0, then 6-1. Hopcroft, using his remarkable reach and court coverage, pulled back to trail 5-7. Billings responded, ever athletic and agile, to lead 9-5. This pushed Hopcroft to seek ever better winners, but Billings seemed to return everything. Hopcroft persisted, once again recovering to 9-10. The game was in the balance but Billings held his nerve, reaching 12-9. Hopcroft was undeterred and yet again closed the gap to 11-13. However, it was Billings who closed out the first game, taking four points on his next hand, winning 15/11.

Billings steadied in the second game, once again returning virtually everything Hopcroft threw at him. He opened a 6-0 lead in two hands before Hopcroft fought back to 3-6. However, five points on Billings' next hand gave him a commanding lead. Now both players mainly cancelled each other out, before sharing a couple of points. Winning the serve at 14-4, it was once again Billings who served through to take the second game 15/4, and a two-game lead.

Hopcroft was fighting hard but had no answer for Billings i the third game. Billings opened a 9-0 lead in the first two hands, as Hopcroft chased ever more difficult winners. Two points broke the duck but Billings ruthlessly secured three more points to lead 12-2. Two hands apiece failed to move the score, as Hopcroft briefly cancelled out the Billings dominance. However, it was once again Billings who scored three further points to win the game 15/2.

Hopcroft was determined in the fourth game, which started evenly to reach 1-all. But the momentum was mainly with Billings and an eight point run largely sealed the fourth, vital game. The players now shared a further couple of points but at 10-2 the result looked increasingly predictable. Hopcroft recovered te serve and a couple of points to trail 4-10; but Billing closed out the game, and match, in the next hand, winning 15/4.

Billings' first Open Championship sealed an incredible season, which included the Manchester Gold Racquet, the Invitation Singles and the Amateur Singles, sweeping all opponents before him. The T&RA President, David Norman, summarised the match in front of a packed gallery before handing over to Brown Advisory's Peter Mallinson to present the Sheppard Cup.

The T&RA are extremely grateful to sponsor's Brown Advisory for the vital support to the game. In this competition there were encouraging performances from many younger players and those returning to Rackets from overseas.

Semi-finals

  • Nick Hopcroft bt Mike Bailey 15/3 4/15 15/4 15/12 15/9
  • Tom Billings (1) bt Toni Morales 15/4 15/10 15/8 15/5

Four exciting players reached the semi-finals to set up an outstanding Friday evening at Queen's. The first match matched two returning stars against one another. Nick Hopcroft took the first game in style but was matched in the second by Mike Bailey's shot making - one game-all. Hopcroft then quickly took the third to re-establish his lead. The critical game was the fourth, but it was Hopcroft who was able to win through a tight game, winning 15/12, and establishing a strong three-one lead. Bailey continued to battle in the fifth but it was a long way back and it was Hopcroft who won through to the final.

Toni Morales had played well throughout the tournament to reach the semi-final and was hoping to upset the odds and topple Tom Billings. Billings has other ideas and played his usual brilliant Rackets to win the first game at a canter. Morales rallied and stepped up but again it wasn't enough, and Billing secured the second, albeit far tighter, game. Similar in the third but again it was Billings who remained on top and carried his form into the fourth to win through to the final. A win in straight games for the top seed, but Morales had his moments and certainly gave Billings something to think about.

Quarter-finals

  • Toni Morales bt Ali Gourlay 15/6 15/3 15/2
  • Mike Bailey bt Jamie Giddins (5) 15/12 15/6 15/8 10/15 15/7
  • Nick Hopcroft bt Will Morse (8) 15/5 6/15 15/12 15/5
  • Tom Billings (1) bt Nick Hutton 15/1 15/0 15/1

As the seeds fell, it meant the quarter-finals were an all-amateur affair. Toni Morales powered past Al Gourlay as his game improved - an exciting run for the young Etonian rising star. Gourlay wasn't allowed into the game, not through lack of trying, but Morales was just too strong on the day.

The match of the round was ever improving Jamie Giddins against the returning Mike Bailey. With both players playing superb Rackets, and Giddins returning extremely well, it was a long but exciting evening. After a tight first game, it was Giddins who nudged ahead, only to see Bailey level and then take a two-one lead. Giddins rallied and won a tight fourth game to set up a decider. However, Bailey showed great determination to win through to the semi-finals.

Another terrific match followed, with the vastly talented Nick Hopcroft showing his Rackets pedigree and overcoming a valiant Will Morse in four games. Hopcroft took the first before Morse levelled. The third game was critical but it was Hopcroft who won through and then maintained the momentum to finish off the match.

The final quarter final demonstrated Tom Billings at his absolute best. Nick Hutton fought hard and managed to wrest the service from the number one seed but then was unable to capitalise. A great tournament for Hutton but it was Billings' night.

Round of 16

  • Nick Hopcroft bt James Coyne (2) 2/15 15/10 6/15 15/12 15/5
  • Nick Hutton bt Alex Coldicott (7) 2/15 15/12 14/16 0-2 retired
  • Will Morse (8) bt Tom Bomford 8/15 15/11 15/5 15/12
  • Toni Morales bt Ben Bomford (4) 15/3 15/5 15/9
  • Jamie Giddins (5) bt Patrick Maxwell 15/6 15/2 15/9
  • Tom Billings (1) bt Felix Clarke 15/6 15/2 15/6
  • Ali Gourlay bt Alaister Orchard (6) 10/15 15/7 15/13 15/7
  • Mike Bailey bt Ryan Tulley (3) 15/7 15/5 15/2

Alex Coldicott played a blinder in the 1st game and went to 7-0 in the second before Nick Hutton got into his stride. Despite getting in hand another 9 times, Coldicott couldn't maintain the momentum and Hutton took the 2nd game 15/12.  The 3rd seemed to be going comfortably to Coldicott when he lead 12-3 but Nick fought back in a series of hands to reach 13-all. Coldicott chose set 3 and won the game 16/14.  However he had strained his shoulder in this game and at 0-2 in the 4th game Coldicott had to retire, sending Hutton through to the last eight.

James Coyne was 9-3 and 11-7 up in the 4th game but could not quite finish it off, and Nick Hopcroft hung in well to edge past Coyne to take the 4th and was always in control in the deciding 5th game.

Will Morse fought back from a game down to beat Tom Bomford in four, with Bomford fighting all the way in the final game. But Toni Morales proved too strong for Tom's brother Ben Bomford and the game was over in three games. Similarly, Jamie Giddins was too strong for Patrick Maxwell and the impervious Tom Billings also eased past Felix Clark without losing a game. Alastair Gourlay lost the first game to Alaister Orchard, but played superb Rackets to win the next three games to reach the quarter-finals. Finally, an on-form Mike Bailey was too much for Ryan Tulley, the latter unable to exert any influence on the outcome.

Group 1

  • Tom Stevens bt Deane Pennick 15/0 15/2
  • Toni Morales bt David Dundas 15/5 15/4
  • Tom Stevens bt David Dundas 15/9 15/2
  • Toni Morales bt Deane Pennick 15/0 15/1
  • Toni Morales bt Tom Stevens 15/8 15/3
  • David Dundas vs Deane Pennick 15/4 15/2

Group 2

  • Mike Bailey bt Reggie Williams 15/4 15/1
  • Mike Bailey bt Patrick Sutton 15/7 15/2
  • Noel Brett bt Reggie Williams 15/12 15/8
  • Patrick Sutton bt Noel Brett 15/9 15/13
  • Patrick Sutton bt Reggie Williams 15/10 3/15 15/8
  • Mike Bailey bt Noel Brett 16/6 15/4

Group 3

  • Nick Hopcroft bt Rory Musgrave 15/2 15/1
  • Graeme Tyndall bt Rory Musgrave 15/9 15/2
  • Nick Hopcroft bt Graeme Tyndall 15/6 15/10

Group 4

  • Felix Clarke bt Ned Robertson 15/7 15/7
  • David Kay-Shuttleworth bt Dom Wright 3/15 17/15 retired
  • Felix Clarke bt David Kay-Shuttleworth 15/4 15/4
  • Felix Clarke bt Dom Wright w/o
  • Ned Robertson bt Dom Wright w/o
  • David Kay-Shuttleworth bt Ned Robertson 15/10 15/9

 


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