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Stradwick – B grade doubles runner-up, Grant – Semi-Finals Open
Grant – Semi-final Open, Ibbetson – Semi-final B plate
Stradwick/Calabrese – B Grade runners up, Grant/Tristao – Semi-final Open, Mills/Briedenhann quarter finals Open
The Dutch Open, held over the weekend of the 13/14 November, saw a return to form for several British players.
First up was our silver medal star – Luke Stradwick in the Men’s B Grade, partnering Greg Calabrese from the USA. Greg is a kind man with a thunderous high five . The two have met before both in the UK and in Las Vegas and so were matched well personality wise, which is a welcome change for Luke’s Dutch Open experience. The pair dominated early on, topping their group stages before heading into the knock-outs. They did exceptionally well and made the finals where they came across the hot favourites – Cornelius Terpstra and Peter Van der Schoot of Holland. The Dutch pair proved too strong for our courageous pair but they were delighted with the silver.
In the Men’s Open grade it was Grant who returned to form. After a series of disappointing results in Belgium and Spain, he layered his confidence and shotmaking to make it out of the group of Daddies in pole-position. In the quarter finals he played Sacha Kruithoff, the young Spainish star who is making waves in the game after reaching the final in his home tournament. Dan and Sacha battled out for over half an hour in a game of driving defence. Every shot hit hard and deep, each player waiting for the other to make a mistake. It was Grant who used his experience here to move Sacha about and get him tired. The odd short ball from Sacha saw Grant rush in and knock out a kill shot. Grant took the game 15-12.
In the semis he played Conor Mcelduff, the Irish Open champion who has also been underperforming recently. But the Irishman was intent on winning this tournament and struck out a 9-0 lead immediately with some deft touches and clever shot making. Grant took a time out, changed his game slightly and came back strong. He then won 13 points in a row and lead the game 13-9. It then became a game of high quality nip and tuck up to 15-15. Here Conor drove Dan out wide and he made a few hand errors to give Conor the lead he needed to finish off the match. The game was one of high quality and hugely entertaining. We hope these two players go on to have a great rivalry.
Conor went on to play the Belgian B Champion, Danny Torres in the final. If you’d bet on Danny you’d probably be making the popular decision, but Conor was on imperious form. Utterly dominating and taking advantage of Danny’s nerves, he thrashed the poor American 21-2. Conor becomes the first European since Guillaume Dumoulin in 2012 to win a European Open. What a result!
In the Men’s Open Doubles Grant and Tristao were hotly tipped to make the final and potentially pull off a victory. Tristao was defending champion and after a sub-par singles performance, was intent on showing his worth in the doubles. They pair cleared the group stage in 2nd position and played the Irish duo of Mcelduff and Mcavitt in the quarters. They scraped through this messy game by the skin of their teeth and went onto play Tony Roberts and Vincent Pozzebon in the semis. The pair thought they’d be untroubled but they hadn’t counted on Pozzebon’s consistency and Roberts’ class, channelled from a time long ago. It was amazing to watch as the transatlantic pair demolished our boys. We felt bad for about 10 minutes until we saw the same pair absolutely shred the USA pair of Torres and Melo. Roberts proved once again why he is one of the all time greats at doubles.
In the Bs Penn Chai and Andy Ibbotson also enjoyed their first foreign Open. They played well and the highlight had to be the the quarter finals of the plate competition where the partners played off against each other in an epic encounter, which finally saw Andy prevail by one point.
Finally in the women’s bracket Kathleen and Tessa took to the courts once again to take on the best in Europe. Both sadly did not fare too well in the singles, but in the doubles the girls cracked their way through the groups and ended up playing the wonder kids from Holland in the quarter finals. Anne Monfils and Marrit Zeinstra played exceptionally this weekend and Anne’s solid play combined with Marrit’s complete lack of respect for her body (she dives more than anyone we’ve ever seen) proved just too much for the Brits. The young duo went on to make the final where they narrowly lost to Scheffer and Monroe in a tight match.
Thanks to the great organisation in Holland this year from Bauke, Geert, Hans and all the volunteers who made it possible. The next open is the UK Open in Feb, but before that it’s the UK Nationals next weekend! Can’t wait