US SQUASH

Hewitt & Betts Seal WDSA St. Louis Open Win

Finalists Narelle Krizek (far left) & Tarsh McElhinny (left) with champions Dana Betts (right) & Steph Hewitt (far right)

Finalists Narelle Krizek (far left) & Natarsha McElhinny (left) with champions Dana Betts (right) & Steph Hewitt (far right)

Second seeded Steph Hewitt & Dana Betts upset top seeds and sister duo Narelle Krizek & Natarsha McElhinny to win the St. Louis Open this past weekend, February 27-March 1, at the Missouri Athletic Club.

The second annual St. Louis Open featured mixed pro am (A and B) and women’s pro am draws, and offered a 10k prize purse. Last year Krizek & McElhinny took home top prize; this year Hewitt & Betts presented a challenge to the defending pair.

Krizek & McElhinny grew up playing together, and for one sister: “It is always a special moment for me to be on court with her. We have played together since we were able to walk, so now to be a team, there is nothing like it, ” said Krizek.

Hewitt & Betts powered their way to the final, playing just one match before the final—they received a bye in the first round—by winning their match against Victoria Simmonds & Heidi Mather 15-13, 15-9, 15-13, setting the tone for their appearance in the final.

Despite strong play and performances from the defending champions—pushing each game into just one or two points away from sudden death—Krizek & McElhinny committed a few too many errors and Hewitt & Betts reaped the benefits. Echoing their earlier Cincinnati Open performance, the pair bested the sisters in three tight games 15-13, 15-14, 15-13.

At the midpoint in the season, only five WDSA events remain, with the next heading to Colorado for the prestigious Hashim Khan Open.

Sisters Krizek & McElhinny (R) with new doubles players,  also sisters,  Abby & Mia Schroeder (L)

Sisters Krizek & McElhinny (R) with new doubles players, also sisters, Abby & Mia Schroeder (L)

Krizek, WDSA tour director, said of the state of women’s pro doubles: “I am always looking at ways to develop the tour, and encourage more women to participate.  At each event this year we have had new women, including former college players, current WSA players and even a U.S. squash junior player.”

“In Denver, Florida and at the Worlds in Chicago we will have a great variety of players. The Wilson Cup this year will be an invitational, including the WDSA women as well as local Under 35 women.  We are trying to encourage the amateur girls to keep playing after college, ” Krizek elaborated. “Not only have we had more women playing this season, we just added Nantucket onto our calendar in August as an invitational event.  The tour is definitely growing which is wonderful.”

For more information, including more results, visit the official Turner Cup tournament page.

The next WDSA event will be hosted by the Denver Athletic Club in Colorado March 20-22 for the Hashim Khan Open. Visit the official tournament page for more information.

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