Christian Portz wins the Manchester Gold Racquet

08 Nov 2012

Manchester Gold Racquet 2012

This year’s event was well attended, despite the counter attractions of the opening of the new tennis court in Chicago. In the absence of ATB and an injured James Coyne, an opportunity was afforded to the younger guns of the rackets world. As such, Nick James and Christian Portz were the top seeds with the likes of Alex Coldicott and Richard Owen hot on their heels.  And despite the Chicago distractions, the tournament would not be complete without its Detroit challenge, this year in the form of Steve Toseland and Nick Harding.

Seeding went to form in the early stages, although an early upset was caused by Jonny Maltz taking out the number six seed, Chris Atkins, in the first round. Unsurprisingly, Chris went on to take both singles and doubles plate competitions. In the second semi-final, Christian Portz proved too powerful and mobile for Alex Coldicott, winning by three games to love.

In the top semi-final, however, it was a completely different kettle of fish with Nick James coming across an inspired Richard Owen, who played immaculately – keeping his head at the right moments, using a variety of accurate services to keep Nick on the back foot and winning by 17/18 15/5 15/8 15/1.

No upsets were forthcoming in the doubles, the top-seeded pairings of Nick James/Alex Coldicott and Christian Portz/Simon Shenkman coming to their appointed places in the final smoothly. The final went the way of the top seeds who were more at ease as a partnership and demonstrated fabulous reflexes mid-court to win 15/2 15/3 9/15 15/3.

In the singles final, the first two games were fantastic affairs. Richard was playing to a very high standard and putting Christian under a lot of pressure. From 4 love up, he had a run of serves to go to 11/5 at which point Christian started clawing back. At 12/12, Christian served a gimme off the back wall which Richard put away and went on to serve out the game. Richard made the early running in game two, taking an 8/4 lead. By this time Christian was retrieving magnificently, however, and he again kept the scoring tight and from 11/11, apart from one blemish, served out to take it 15/12. Unfortunately, Richard’s mobility had become impaired on account of blisters and, despite a couple of medical time-outs to try and rectify the problem, he found it beyond him and Christian took the last two games in rather anticlimactic fashion 15/1 15/1 to put his name on the trophy.

Mention should be made of Rod MacNaughtan who spent a great deal of the weekend chained to a vice stringing a succession of rackets and Jonny Maltz who supplemented the organisers’ marking admirably. Stella and her staff provided meals and an excellent dinner on Saturday night to a well-entertained group of players (in various dress codes), wives and supporters. Oh yes, and the Detroit Challenge was won by Detroit!

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