Bermudian James Stout and Peter Cipriano capture US Open Rackets Doubles title
In a gruelling 90-minute affair, Bermudian James Stout and his partner Peter Cipriano, dug deep to secure top honours at the US Open Rackets Doubles champions at the Racket and Tennis Club, Park Avenue in New York at the weekend.
The third-seeded pair caused an upset after overcoming top seeds Ben Cawston and Mike Bailey 11-15, 15-12, 15-7, 15-10 in a hard-fought encounter that lasted for an hour and a half.
Stout and Cipriano started slowly and after four side-outs had fallen behind 8-3 with Bailey’s serve and their own unconvincing serving putting them under pressure.
They spent a good part of the first game two or three points behind their opponents but a good service round by both players threatened to challenge Cawston and Bailey at 10-11. However, they immediately lost service, conceded two more points while managing to add only one before the opposition took the game in 27 minutes.
Stout and Cipriano built up a 6-2 lead in the second game, but their opponents managed to overtake them in the next two rounds, 7-6. Stout then came in to serve and with his partner added five points to the pair’s score.
This included a mammoth 25 shot rally at 10-7 contested mainly by Cipriano and Cawston which ended on an error by Cawston. Having established a 12-7 lead, Stout and Cipriano could only watch on as their advantage was wiped out in one service round. However, they managed to regain service at 12-12 before going on to take the second game 15-12.
Stout and Cipriano built a 3-1 lead at the start of third game, and increased it to 9-2, then 12-4 before closing out the game 15-7.
However, the top seeds refused to give up and started the fourth game in the ascendancy, building up a four-point lead, only for Stout and Cipriano to regain service and level the score.
Cawston and Bailey enjoyed another fruitful service round to lead 9-4 but Cipriano hit back with a great run of eight points on his serve to put the match within their grasp at 12-9.
Bailey served and was out straightaway before he and Cawston won another impressive rally in which the latter dived close to the front wall to get the ball and had to lie there for the two shots it took Bailey to close out the rally, much to the delight of the audience.
Stout and Cipriano regained service at 12-10 and then closed out the match in one hand 15-10 to clinch a first US Open doubles title.
The victory for Stout comes on the heels of his success at the David C. Johnson Memorial Tournament in which he and Australia’s Scott Arnold prevailed over James Bamber and Michael Ferreira at the Height’s Casino club in New York.