Rackets

Rackets World Doubles Champions 2015

01 May 2015

New World Champions, Alex Titchener-Barrett & Christian Portz, triumph at The Queen's Club


Watch the 2nd Leg Recording

Queen's Club, Saturday 2nd May ATB & Portz beat Hopton & Coyne 15/12 15/6 15/6 to become the new world champions

An exhilarating first point saw all four players quickly settle down for this apex encounter with the Champions inching ahead 3-0. ATB picked up a near impossible serve and Portz returned sublimely to win the serve and then put points on the board. A point from the ATB serve and then precision Portz serving pushed the score to 7-3. Coyne then played a perfect winner to break the run and put Hopton back in the box. Serving well, including a first forehand variation, and strong back up power play by Coyne saw the champions regain parity, and then Coyne added a further point to 8-7. Fast footwork from ATB won back the serve, followed by an ace round the walls; Portz then put the Challengers back into a narrow lead. Back came the Champions to 9-all – the game remained in the balance waiting for one pair to gain the initiative. The Challengers again inched ahead 10-9, but then the Champions attacked winning back the serve before easing into a 12-10 lead via some clever Hopton angles and Coyne’s perfect length. Coyne caught the tin looking for a clean winner to let the Challengers back in, who then defended against impressive play from both Hopton and Coyne. ATB then served to game point but saw Hopton defending supremely, before Portz finished off the first game, 15/12. All players were playing extremely well, but the defensive shots from the Challengers meant the Champions were forced to play the extra shot to win the rally and push the boundaries to the limit.

Second game and first point to the Challengers. But now the Champions dug deep forcing an uncharacteristic mistake from Portz, a rarity. Hopton then served to 3-1 and Coyne added an extra point 4-1 with a powerful drive. A loose Coyne shot let the Challengers back in; they capitalised and nudged into a 5-4 lead. The Champions fought their way back into a narrow 6-5 lead but then succumbed to a brilliant Portz pick-up to let the Challengers back in the box. Steady play by ATB and Portz then saw them recover their lead and then extend it to 10-6. The gallery was subdued but a fabulous Coyne return brought them to life. Two clean winners from Portz saw the Challengers regain the service and ATB served through in style to take the game 15/6. The Challengers were now close to victory, with the Champions needing to win the next four games and recover the point deficit.

The Champions quickly gained the service in the critical third game and stormed into an impressive 6-0 lead, forcing errors from their opponents, with Coyne’s first ace in the process. ATB then forced a mishit from Coyne, but failed to make any headway to allow the Champions back in the box, via a phenomenal Coyne back-hand winner and passionate play from Hopton. But then Portz chased down a lost cause to flick the ball into the empty court and then played an outright winner to win back the service. ATB then served tight to Coyne’s body to start what was to become a continuous Championship winning run. With the Challengers on top of their game and playing steady, controlled Rackets, they used the width to good effect, with ATB serving the first five points and then Portz picking up the mantle to serve the next ten – two hands without loss. The Champions tried to rally, with Hopton picking up the near impossible, but it wasn’t enough. Portz varied his service superbly and he didn’t let up. The Challengers won the game 15/6, and with it the World Championship.

Sponsor, John Prenn, presented the trophies, thanking marker, Ben Snell, and referee, Peter Brake, for their contribution to a hard fought match. Vintage Pol Roger champagne was the reward for all four competitors.

 

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Chicago, Saturday 25th April ATB & Portz win first leg FOUR GAMES TO TWO 15/8 3/15 15/13 15/11 14/18 15/10

Highlights of the first leg

The Challengers took the early initiative securing the first game 15/8; but the Champions dominated the next game winning 15/3 to level the match. The third game saw the Challengers storm into a 7-0 lead before being caught at 12-all; but then the Challengers won through 15/13. Tightest of fourth games; Champions led 5-2 but then pairs were within a point until 10-all when Challengers pushed to 12-10, before taking the game 15/11. Nail-biting fifth. Even to 4-all, but then the Champions reached 9-5 before the Challengers fought back to 11-9. Champions reached 13-11, then 13-all and called set to 5. First blood to the Challengers 1-0 but then the Champions took the next five to set up a sixth game. 18/14. Sixth (and final) game equally close after an early surge by the Champions, eventually reaching 11-9 to the Challengers (same as the fifth). However, a much tighter finish saw the Challengers win a critical game 15/10 to take the first leg four games to two.

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