US SQUASH

Hughes & Thain Three-Peat at Century Doubles

Open champions Dominic Hughes (l) and Nigel Thain. (image: Beth Rasin)

Philadelphia’s Dominic Hughes and Nigel Thain became the first partnership in U.S. Century Doubles history to win three consecutive Open division titles, while Edward Minskoff & William Hartigan also pulled off a three-peat in the Masters (70+) division this weekend at the University Club of New York in New York City.

The twelfth-annual Century Doubles involved 176 players competing on eighty-eight teams across the Open, Women’s, Mixed, A, Grand Champions (80+), Masters (70+) and Legends (60+) divisions. Host sites included the University Club, Union Club, Racket & Tennis Club, New York Athletic Club, Apawamis and the Heights Casino throughout the New York City area.

Celebrating the notion that squash is a lifetime sport, the “Tournament of the Century” requires that the combined age of each team to be one hundred years or greater. The Century brings together partnerships with father & son, father & daughter, husband & wife, twin brothers, brothers and friends alike in a well-spirited, yet competitive weekend of doubles.

Mixed champions Natalie Grainger (r) and Steve Mandel (image: Beth Rasin)

Hughes & Thain entered the Open draw as the top seeds and met four seeds Jeff Stanley & William Ullman in the semifinals as predicted. After squandering a two-game lead in the semis, Hughes & Thain pulled through 15-5 in the fifth against Stanley & Ullman to reach the final. The bottom half of the draw yielded a surprise final run by unseeded Pete Bostwick & Liam Kenny. After upsetting two seeds Thomas Clayton & John McAtee in the quarterfinals, Bostwick & Kenny also needed five games in the semis, coming back from 2-1 down against Morris Clothier & Dave Rosen to reach the final 15-11 in the fifth. The final came down to the wire as Hughes & Thain fought off a 2-1 lead to force a fifth game where they clinched a third title 15-6.

“It feels great to win this tournament for a third straight time!” Thain said. “I am fortunate to play with a competitive, talented and steady partner in Dominic. Each year new teams emerge, which makes it fun to compete and very challenging to win. The tournament format creates an amazing atmosphere mixing in the veterans with the not so young. The pairings are interesting and typically have very contrasting styles of play making the matches entertaining to watch. It’s a fun weekend in NYC catching up with friends. I look forward to playing each year and the Tournament Committee and US Squash do a great job organizing and running the event.”

Minskoff & Hartigan became the first partnership in tournament history to win three consecutive Masters (70+) titles. The champs fulfilled their top seeding, dropping just two games on their way to the final where they met two seeds Tony Ross & Scott Stoneburgh. Minskoff & Hartigan would go on to claim the title 15-7, 15-7, 15-13.

Katheryn Grant & Lissen Tutrone pulled off a perfect tournament in the women’s draw on their way to a maiden Century title. In the final, Grant & Tutrone defeated Jeanne Blasberg & Hope Crosier—who had upset the two seeds in the semis—in three games, 15-5, 15-10, 15-8.

Six years after her first Century mixed title, Natalie Grainger returned to claim her second with new partner and first-time champion Steve Mandel. Top-seeded Mandel & Grainger progressed to the final without dropping a game, and came back from dropping the first game of the final to defeat two seeds Niko Elmaleh & Suzie Pierrepont, 13-15, 15-11, 15-3, 15-14.

2017 Legends (60+) finalists Scott Devoy & Andrew Nehrbas returned as the top seeds this year. In the final against two seeds Palmer Page & Patrick Chifunda, Devoy & Nehrbas nearly squandered a two-game lead, pulling out a close fifth game 15-12 to win their maiden Century title together.

The Masters (80+) division produced first time champions in the form of Alexander Ma & Peter Vandoren. Ma & Vandoren topped Michael Puertas & George Fowler, Jr. in the final, 13-15, 15-7, 15-2, 15-12.

View all results on the U.S. Century Doubles Championships tournament page. View images courtesy of Beth Rasin in the Century Doubles SmugMug gallery.

 

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