Defending U.S. Mixed Squash Doubles Championships champion Natalie Grainger, partnered with Randy Lim, defeated Grainger’s former partner and 2013 co-champion Steve Scharff, with Meredeth Quick, earning her second straight Open division title and Lim’s first Sunday at the Round Hill Club in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The Open final headlined the four-division Mixed Doubles with matches also played at Greenwich Country Club and the Field Club of Greenwich.
Scharff, Round Hill Club professional, and Quick, Women’s Doubles Squash Association world No. 4, employed an unusual strategy swapping sides every round, with Scharff on the right for the quarterfinals, and Quick on the left, as they battled through a tough quarterfinal match against Trinity alums Johan Detter and Tehani Guruge, which lasted five games 12-15, 15-9, 15-12, 12-15, 15-13. Quick and Scharff switched sides once again for the semifinals, and had a more concise match with Scharff on the left and Quick on the right wall. They secured the win in four against Scharff’s assistant professional at the Round Hill Club—Zac Alexander and Nikole Todd, 15-11, 9-15, 12-15, 13-15.
Top-seeded Grainger and Lim proved to be too strong of a pair, however, not dropping a single game until the final against Scharff and Quick, earning the win 15-10, 14-15, 15-13, 15-11.
“It’s probably more fun playing with Natalie than against her because she’s so strong, ” Scharff said of his 2013 Mixed Doubles Open co-champion.
“There’s not a whole lot of weakness there so Meredeth and I were pretty happy with the way we played, but we would have had to be nearly perfect to beat that team. Natalie is just so sharp with her shot-making, and Randy is one of the fastest guys you’ll come across on a squash court, singles or doubles. Randy must have dove maybe eight times in the final, but not just that, also chasing down every ball possible in the finals. We had to hit two or three winners to get a single point out of them.”
The B-division, a six-team familial affair with four married couples and one father-daughter duo, found a strong pair in top-seeded Philip Anstey and Kathy Ewald. The pair did not drop a game in their campaign to victory, parting with just nineteen points over all three of their matches.
The 40+ consisted of a final between Open semifinals Stephanie Hewitt with David Rosen and Dowling duo Diana and Joe. Hewitt and Rosen prevailed in straight games 15-8, 15-4, 15-8.
The 50+ Mixed Doubles’ final had an upset, as top seeded-team Joyce Davenport, U.S. Squash Hall of Famer who was poised to win her third straight Mixed 50+ title, and partner Charles Parkhurst, fell to Sara Luther and Thomas Harrity pairing in three sets 15-10, 15-9, 15-12.
The 2014 edition of the tournament was the first to be held in the fall. Scharff looks forward to the tournament gaining more momentum and growing in 2015.
“It’s a fun tournament because you get an array of people who truly love the game, ” Scharff reflected. “Everybody seems to be there compete, but also enjoy themselves. They were hard-fought battles. All four players are competing hard, but having a good time. Everyone steps up their games and comes through. Personally, it’s nice to play on my home courts. It was nice to see good crowds come out and support this high level of doubles. We hope that next year we’ll be able to expand each draw and see the tournament grow.”
For all results, visit U.S. Mixed Open Doubles tournament page.
For images from the tournament, visit the US Squash Smugmug page.
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