Fahey wins 9th British Open - Match Report

25 Nov 2008

Fahey beats Riviere at Queens to take Neptune British Open Singles.

Fahey takes the title for the 9th time - see photos below

Rob Fahey showed again last night that he is not yet ready to hand over any of the myriad titles of which he has �ownership� in the Neptune British Open Final.

A mixture of guile, power and determination helped Fahey to a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Camden Riviere at Queens Club.

Riviere may have held a slight psychological edge going into the match, having beaten Fahey in the final of the European Open at Lords last month, but he wasn�t giving anything away. The knock up showed a statement of intent from both players; with the usual niceties put aside early on, the �top two� displayed a full range of shots to an expectant crowd.

The first set was a close affair, with only two net errors from Riviere making the difference. The standard of play was extremely high, and as such it became apparent that the match would be a very tactical affair; Fahey aiming high serves to the back of the penthouse, forcing Riviere to hit forehand returns on the turn. This was a plan that Fahey pursued throughout the match with varying degrees of success, but clearly it stopped the young American from cutting his backhand cross court as often and thus gave Fahey more chance to stay at the service end. A missed force at 4-4 from Camden gave Rob the chance to serve for the set. Some truly remarkable retrieving kept Camden in the hunt, but consistency and some relentless forehands into the tambour gave the World Champion the first set.

The second set proved to be a little more straightforward. Both players were making few unforced errors and finishing points when they had the chance, but those chances fell more to Fahey than his opponent. Some stunning volleys into the grille and the winning gallery delighted the crowd, but Fahey showed why he is still the world�s best player with some masterful volley returns. It was noticeable throughout the match that Fahey would volley his returns as often as possible, cutting the ball severely to chase 2 or better at every opportunity. This proved to be the decisive factor in what were long and closely fought games ;�that odd shot which was just unplayable. Contrary to the scoreline, Fahey edged the set 6-2.

Riviere then seemed to change tactics somewhat. A more aggressive stance was taken and he seemed to add about 20% more pace to each shot, and started taking on the force at every opportunity. This rattled Fahey, and he started making some uncharacteristic errors, especially on the volley. Camden suddenly looked a new man, with added zip around the court and confidence renewed. He seemed to be in much greater control of the ball on his service and was moving his opponent round the court with great success. This new found controlled aggression allowed him to take the 3rd set 6-3, much to the delight of his supporters.

The crowd sensed a comeback, and thus potentially a long night ahead, alas there was to be no fairy tale comeback. Fahey regained composure and took control of the rallies, and along with 2 of the finest winning gallery volleys you�ll ever see, took the title as well. The tennis really was of the highest quality, with the margin for error so tight, both players should be commended for going after the ball and executing their game plans without hesitation.

So a 9th British Open for the World Champion, and a night to remember for all those that watched the match. It is clear that Riviere is the heir apparent, but he will have to produce something special to dethrone the king. We all look forward to the potential re-match when Fahey goes for his 10th next year.

Match reporting by Oli Harris

Photos taken at the Singles Final by Tim Edwards

Rob Triumphant

Robin Geffen, Rob Fahey, Richard Greenwood and Peter Mallinson

Rob, Camden Riviere and marker Andrew Lyons

Rob Fahey

Rob with Trophy

Cam Riviere��


Rob up the wall



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