Rackets World Doubles Challenge 2013

27 Apr 2013

Will Hopton and James Coyne are the new World Doubles Champions defeating Tim Cockroft and Alex Titchener-Barrett by TWO games to ONE, 3/15 17/14 15/11

Photographs - Tim Edwards

After last weekend's first leg in Chicago, the challengers - Will Hopton and James Coyne, lead the champions - Tim Cockroft and Alex Titchener-Barrett by 4 games to 1 (6/15 15/3 15/12 15/12 15/11) - and by 66 points to 53. The standard of play in the last three games was incredibly high, with each point fought out between the well matched opponents; everything is set for an exciting climax.

Both pairs have been practising throughout the week with the champions seeking to overturn the deficit. Meanwhile the challengers need just two games to take the coveted crown.

In an explosive first game, the champions quickly found their stride. After a lengthy first rally, three swift points, including a service ace from ATB put the champions ahead 4-0. The challengers rallied, with JC's powerful serving edging the score to 4-3. But then ATB stepped up, with a couple of aces and hammer serves, and then the deftest touch to reach 10-3; and then TC struck a magnificent winner, and came into serve at 13-3 to close out the first game 15/3. The champions had changed their serves, mixing them and serving with great width. This was a vital first game and the scene was set for a great match, with the point score now 69-68 in favour of the challengers.

The second game continued in the same manner as the first. After an edgy exchange of service hands, it was ATB who hit the first winner, and then an amazing recovery shot by TC looped into a winner. WH was everywhere, recovering the impossible but it was ATB who dominated this phase stretching the lead to 5-0, and then a magnificent winner to regain the service. Five more points with serve saw the champions stretch their lead to 10-0, before WH hit a glorious winner to salvage a point. Both pairs then traded four points to 12-3 but the champions took the score to 14-3. But then the challengers hit a purple patch with WH dominating the service, recovering to 14-7 and then, almost impossibly to 14-14. This period included three breathtaking JC winners, mixed in with WH's brilliant service. The champions were shaken and chose set to three, but WH continued to dominate and win the all-important second game 17/14.

The third game was the tightest of all, with one point to show for several service hands, in favour of the champions. But the challengers stepped up the pace to establish a 5-1 lead, including winners by both partners. But the champions didn't give up without the most dogged fight, winning the next seven points to lead 8-5 - and the final point was Rackets at the highest level by all four players. But the WH serve, and two further breathtaking rallies saw the challengers edge closer, reaching 11-8 - before the champions again levelled at 11-11. At this stage the game could have gone either way but it was an unbelievable JC winner to reach 13-11 and then two further points to close out the game, match and championship. 15/11.

JC and WH win TWO games to ONE 3/15 17/14 15/11 to become the new World Champions.

The match was streamed live on www.realtennis.tv. The commentary team was Mark Agate and Oli Harris.

RealTennisTV is provided by Paul Brown and Freddy Adam.

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