Pickleball aficionados lock horns at PGTC
Bermuda's first official, sponsored Pickleball tournament got under way at Pomander Gate Tennis Club this week.
Taking two evenings to complete, the women's doubles tournament evoked a new level of intensity among the players and provided spectators with a fantastic demonstration of what is being described as the fastest-growing sport in North America.
Top seeds Sarah Fox and Kim Burns took top honours by winning all four of their matches. During a hard-fought battle with second seeds Sheila Fisher and Tina Burns on Wednesday, the power duo dropped their only set of the tournament with a final score of 11-7, 8-11, 11-9. Fisher and Burns went on to capture a close second place in the final standings after securing their third match win on Thursday.
Mary Ellen Ewles, who has a strong tennis background but was in only her fourth time on the Pickleball court, took her opponents by surprise. Partnered with Nancy Kempe, she quickly came to grips with the sport's no-volley zone, double-bounce rule and unique two-server scoring system.
The pair came third with two match wins and plenty of points won, including an admirable 11-3, 11-9 defeat by Fox and Burns.
Competition, which includes men's doubles and mixed doubles, is sponsored by Atlantic Construction.
In the tennis portion of the tournament, there are four events this year: men's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and senior men's doubles.
In singles action, No 3 seed Yves Doyon is plotting to spoil the tournament when he takes on top-seeded David Thomas in the first semi-final. On the other side of the draw, second seed David Jenkins will battle Sam Thomsen.
In the men's doubles, the father-son pairing of John and Noel Johnston worked well together to strike up a 6-2, 6-0 victory against Charles Penruddocke and Len Wedlich. They will next take on No 2 seeds Thomsen and David Brown in the semi-finals, who scored a hard-fought 6-2, 7-6 victory over Chris Bardgett and Joe Amaral in the quarter-final.
Top seeds Thomas and Kallan Richardson will shoot for the final against Ali Arouzi and Richard Daley.
Thomsen and Bardgett, the defending senior men's doubles champions, are looking to retain their title as the competition edges to completion. Already in the final, they await the winners Brown and Daley, the top seeds, and veteran pair Penruddocke and Wedlich.
Finally, in one of the tournament's most hotly contested events, the men and women have been doing battle against each other in a round-robin format for mixed doubles. Top seeds Thomas and Poppy Pereira have yet to drop a set and are looking to set the tone at the business end of the tournament.
The draw features two husband-wife pairings among the five entries.