Rackets

Rackets World Championship 2010

24 Nov 2010


On Saturday 20 November 2010 James Stout completed a successful defence of his World Championship at Queen’s Club. He lost a close first game to challenger Alex Titchener-Barrett, 14/17, but then took the second game 15/8. Having won the first leg at the New York Racquet & Tennis Club by four games to love, 15/11, 15/7, 15/6, 15/9 this gave him the one game he needed to claim overall victory by five games to one.

 

Alex won the spin and went into an early 4/0 lead in two hands before being put out by Jamie’s superb backhand return of serve. Once in the box Jamie made the most of his opportunity with a run of five points including 3 service aces. Both players were struggling a little with their footwork, Alex especially misreading the bounce. In his next three hands Jamie won eight points to Alex’s three to reach Championship point at 14/7. There had only been one quality rally by this stage of the game and it seemed as though the packed gallery, who had not had much to cheer up to this point, were going to witness a rather short Match. The World Champion, serving for the Match,made his first unforced error of the day to allow the Challenger back in hand. Alex, presented with a chance, made no mistakes, catching up to 14-all in one hand including two aces and two great backhand kills to a perfect length. Jamie chose set to three, and as the game reached a thrilling climax Alex failed to score in his first service hand. However, Jamie made another unforced error, failed to score himself, and Alex took the set in his next two hands, playing his best rackets including a remarkable reflex shot which finished the game off.
 

 

Alex started the second game in the same fashion going to a 5/1 lead in two hands, then to 8/3. This passage of play contained some of the best rackets of the Match, both players hitting the ball down the walls leading to some remarkable gets and terrific rallies. Jamie then seemed to remember that he was the World Champion, and coming in to serve at 3/8 down denied Alex any more points, having a run of 5 to level the game at 8 all. Although Alex got back in hand four more times he failed to score again, and his Challenge was over in just over an hour on court. Over the course of the Match Alex had served 12 aces to the 5 served by Jamie. 

At his best the World Champion was too good, all aspects of his game being stronger than those of a Challenger who, when under any pressure, is still liable to rely on sheer pace and hitting the ball around the walls to get out of trouble. Alex was most successful when he hit to a good length and did not try to overpower his opponent.

Dudley MacDonald, 21 November 2010


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