Rackets World Doubles Challenge - Chicago - first leg

20 Apr 2013

JC/WH beat TC/ATB FOUR games to ONE - 6/15 15/3 15/12 15/12 15/11

The champions set off to a flying start - ATB serves to 4-0. The challengers then drew level 4-4 before two points apiece leveled the game at 6-6. But then TC virtually served the game out 15-6. An amazing rally involving all four players at 10-6 eventually ended with a let. This was followed at 12-6 by a tense point which involved multiple lets before the champions came through. Great start for the champions - ONE GAME TO LOVE COCKROFT/ATB

In the second game, the champions edged ahead but this proved to be short-lived as the challengers stormed to 8-1, via a magnificent rally at 4-1. Four points were then shared to 10-3, again including a particular good exchange by the champions, but then the challengers took charge and secured the next five points, including a (failed) WH trick shot at 13-3! Second game 15/3. ALL SQUARE - ONE GAME ALL

The challengers maintained the momentum into the third game and raced into a 7-1 lead. The champions then dug deep and clawed the score back to 11-6. A great call and shot by JC at 9-3, which saw him race forward and play a sublime winner. This seemed to inspire the champions who fought back valiantly to reach 12-13, but the challengers held their nerve and won two more vital points to take the game 15/12. The gallery erupted at the winning shot in what had proved to be the tightest game of the match so far. TWO GAMES TO ONE COYNE/HOPTON

At the start of the fourth game, ATB/TC took an early advantage to lead 4-1, and then 5-3. JC/WH responded to draw level at 5-all but then the champions reasserted their advantage to 8-5. The game then entered a tense phase with the challengers pulling back time and time again - staying a point apart - nudging into the lead at 9-8. More closely fought points followed until at 11-12 it was the challengers who finally scored four straight points to take the vital game; and, more importantly, a 3-1 lead in the match. THREE GAMES TO ONE COYNE/HOPTON

The fifth game remained just as tight, with first the champions ahead and then the challengers pulled away to 6-2, a period which included an ATB return as he fell to eventually win the point. However the relentless recovery shots of WH and power of JC carried them to a 9-3 lead. Three great serves by TC helped the champions back to 6-9. At 11-all the game was in the balance - one shot either way could have tipped the equilibrium - but once again it was the challengers who held their nerve to close out the game 15/11, and the first match. FOUR GAMES TO ONE COYNE/HOPTON

The volatile gallery exploded at the final point - but it's not over yet. The Challengers have won the first leg. The scene is set for the return leg on the 27th at The Queen's Club. The point score of 66-53 to the challengers could yet play a part, but the challengers certainly have the advantage.

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