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World Doubles Championship in Chicago

Update Jul 15, 2024
Published Apr 25, 2024

The Racquet Club of Chicago is hosting the 2024 World Doubles, where the best four Real Tennis doubles teams in the world will battle it out in a best-of-nine-set format.

All eyes are turned Stateside at the moment, where the 2024 World Doubles Championship has officially started at the Racquet Club of Chicago.

Though the Windy City is known for hosting many venerable sporting events – 16 World Series (baseball), 14 U.S. Opens (golf), 6 PGA Championships, 6 Stanley Cups (hockey), 4 World Squash Championships, and 11 World Rackets Championships, to name a few – this is the first time that the city, and thus the Racquet Club, has hosted this important Real Tennis event.

The action kicked off the evening of Wednesday 24th of April with the semifinal that saw Steve Virgona & John Lumley win the first leg against Rob Fahey & Nick Howell, 3 sets to 1. That was followed by the second semifinal, where Camden Riviere & Tim Chisholm took a 3 sets to 1 lead against Ben Taylor-Matthews & Bryn Sayers.

The above matches can be viewed on USCTA’s YouTube channel, and the rest of the matches (full schedule below) will be available for live streaming as they happen.

The following day, Thursday, April 25, the semi-finals were concluded with Steve Virgona & John Lumley beating Rob Fahey & Nick Howell 2-0; final result 5-1 (6/4 5/6 6/4 6/1 6/3 6/3).

Similar story in the second semi-final with Camden Riviere & Tim Chisholm beating Ben Taylor-Matthews & Bryn Sayers 2-0; final result 5-1 (6/1 6/1 4/6 6/2 6/4 6/5).

Saturday, April 27
World Championship Final
Camden Riviere & Tim Chisholm vs Steve Virgona & John Lumley

All level after the first day at two sets all, but following some dramatic swings in the match. Steve Virgona and John Lumley dominated the early exchanges, taking nine of the first ten games. Striding into a 4-0 lead, Camden Riviere and Tim Chisholm rallied briefly to 1-4 before the Virgona and Lumley swept to the first set 6/1. They continued their run to take a 3-0 lead in the second, before the Champions gained a foothold, which turned the set, winning five games in a row to lead 5-3. But it wasn't all over and a two game recovery saw the set poised at 5-5, before the Riviere-Chisholm partnership secured the vital eleventh game.

They carried the momentum into the third, leading 1-0, and ahead for the first time in the match, but now Virgona and Lumley came back into a purple patch, taking another five game run to lead 5-1. This time the Champions rallied to 3-5 but it was too late and the Challengers took the third set 6/3, and a 2-1 lead in the match. They then streamed ahead in the final set of the day, taking a 2-0 lead following a game which both pairs had chances. But now the Champions showed their grit, reeling off five games and a tantalising 5-2 lead. One further flurry from Virgona and Lumley but too little, and the set went to Riviere and Chisholm, 6/3, levelling the match at two game all and all to play for on the final day.

Sunday, April 28

1:30 pm CDT
World Championship Final
Virgona and Lumley started well taking a 2-0 lead in the fifth set, after a lengthy second game, but Riviere and Chisholm were quickly back in the set, levelling and then taking a small 3-2 lead. The Challengers fought back but then the Champions found their form and sweep through the next three games, winning the set 6/3 and taking a 3-2 lead in the match. The sixth set was tight, with long games going to multiple deuces, but honours were even at 2-2, before a surge by Riviere and Chisholm saw them establish an impressive 5-2 lead. Back came Virgona and Lumley to recover to 3-5, but once again, the Champions proved too strong, taking the next game to win the set 6/3, and were now in a 4-2 lead.

The seventh, and what was to be the final set, was a classic. After the early exchanges, the set once again reached 2-all before superb play by Virgona and Lumley saw them make a breakthrough to lead 4-2. But Riviere and Chisholm then showed why they were the champions, levelling at 4-all and closing in on the defence of their title. Virgona and Lumley then nudged ahead before the set hung in a critical 5-all balance. Riviere and Chisholm proved just too string in the decisive eleventh game, winning to love and taking the set 6/5, and remain world champions.

Top-class marker, Neil Mackenzie, congratulated the five time winners, and pronounced the final score as 5-2, 1/6 6/5 3/6 6/3 6/3 6/3 6/5.

Camden Riviere and Tim Chisholm then were presented with the World Doubles Championship Trophy, an honour they have held since 2015.

For more information about the 2024 World Doubles Championship, check out USCTA's official website. And for T&RA's previous coverage, click here.

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