2018 Johns Island Open, Vero Beach, FL
Prize Fund: $25,000
April 12th – 15th 2018
The 6th annual John’s Island Open, the premier event on the WSDA calendar, promised to be a fiercely competitive event and it delivered. The event featured a number of new pairings, including Canadian Seanna Keating and Victoria Simmonds who qualified for the event before losing out to second seeds, Meredeth Quick and Dana Betts. In the top half of the draw, 4th seeds Tina Rix and Latasha Khan came up against the formidable sister pairing of Narelle Krizek and Natarsha McElhinny. Krizek/McElhinny took a game to find their feet before winning the next 3 games for a place in the semi-finals. There the sisters met top seeds, current World #1 Suzie Pierrepont, and 21 year old Harvard Sophmore, Kayley Leonard. This first semi-final was a predictably close and highly entertaining match, similar to last year’s final when Krizek/McElhinny faced Quick/Pierrepont.
The John’s Island Open crowd were treated to the full force of Krizek’s incredible shot making ability. Leonard/Pierrepont were able to weather the storm to take the first two games before a slower paced 3rd game allowed Krizek to find every nick on the court. The 4th game saw Leonard/Pierrepont step up the court and control the pace, allowing them to sneak through to the end of the match. Throughout the match, Leonard showed the determination and fight that has made her a top college player and firmly established herself as a top level doubles player.
The second semi-final was a re-match of this year’s national championships in which Hewitt/Stoker were victorious. This time however, Betts/Quick were clearly on a mission to reverse that result. The match was a return to form for former World #1 Dana Betts, who took a break from the tour to have a baby in September of last year. She produced an impeccable display of tactical shot making. Supported by current World #2 Meredeth Quick, who switched from her preferred spot on the left wall to partner with Betts, the pair rolled through the first two games for the loss of just 14 points. The 3rd game saw Hewitt/Stoker come out fighting with Stoker using her court coverage to reduce the winner count from Bett’s racket but Betts/Quick were still able to secure two match balls before a Stoker winner, followed by a sky ball from Betts game Hewitt/Stoker the 3rd, 15-14. A strong start from both Betts and Quick in the 4th established a lead that Stoker/Hewitt were never able to make up.
With the top seeds making the final, it was guaranteed that either Quick or Pierrepont would defend the title they won together in 2017. The match started evenly with both pairs looking to exploit the backhand of the two left handed players on the left wall. A number of great gets for Leonard in the front left corner saw Pierrepont/Leonard take the first game only for Betts/Quick to take the second game very comfortably with Betts finding the nick on numerous occasions, while Leonard and Pierrepont made a number of errors. A neck-and-neck 3rd game saw more winners from Betts racket and some great court coverage from Quick, who looked increasingly dominant on the right wall, forcing a number of errors from Pierrepont. Once again, Leonard showed a cool head under pressure to secure the crucial 3rd game for her team. The 4th went much like the 3rd until 3 winners from Pierrepont at 12-11 sealed the match, Pierrepont’s 4th John’s Island Open and Leaonard’s second WSDA title.
This event was the last ranking event on the WSDA calendar and a fabulous end to the season. Thank you to Michael Pierce, Jack Jago, Lennart Johnson, the John’s Island squash committee and the John’s Island club for hosting this wonderful event and their support of the WSDA.
Quick Defends John’s Island Open Title
Meredeth Quick successfully defended her 2016 John’s Island Open title this weekend with new partner, Suzie Pierrepont. The event, in its fifth year, was Quick’s second John’s Island Open title and Pierrepont’s third.
The event featured only two teams who had played together before and no teams who had played together previously in the John’s Island Open.
Tour newcomers Alicia Rodriguez and Nabilla Ariffin won two qualifying matches, eventually losing to fourth seeds, fellow Trinity College alum Fernanda Rocha and her Canadian partner, Seanna Keating, in the first round.
In the top half of the draw, qualifiers Victoria Simmonds and another Trinity College alum, Larissa Stephenson, lost to third seeds Stephanie Hewitt and Georgina Stoker.
Former top-ranked PSA player Madeline Perry made her WSDA debut playing with current WSDA World #7 Latasha Khan. Perry/Khan lost to Krizek/McElhinny in the first round with Perry showing much promise for a future on the WSDA tour.
The first semi-final was an extremely close match between top seeds Quick/Pierrepont and two of the quickest players on the tour, Hewitt/Stoker. Long points went back and forth with Quick/Pierrepont just managing to pull away at the end of each game to secure a place in the final.
The second semi-final was similar to the first. Closely contested games saw the higher seeds Krizek/McElhinny pull away at the end of each game to secure their spot in the final.
All four players in this year’s final also contested the 2016 final, when Natarsha McElhinny and Meredeth Quick defeated Narelle Krizek and Suzie Pierrepont in five games. Krizek, McElhinny and Pierrepont had all won this title twice previously and Quick once. Krizek/Pierrepont partnered to win the event in 2013 and 2014 before being forced to skip the event in 2015 when Krizek was sidelined by a foot injury. McElhinny paired with Dana Betts in 2015 to win her first title, defending the following year with Quick.
The final was an excellent match between two evenly matched teams. The two had met once before in the semi-final of the NYC Open back in November, which Quick/Pierrepont won 3/1. In this final, Quick/Pierrepont edged out the first two before narrowly losing the third. Quick/Pierrepont started the fourth strong before Krizek/McElhinny pulled back a number of points. It looked like the match was heading for a fifth game before a number of Quick winners secured her title defense.
The pro-am tournament was a third successive win for Peter McGlynn. The final was a re-match of last year’s final with McGlynn partnering with Georgina Stoker to defeat Michael Pierce and Latasha Khan.
Thank you to Michael Pierce, the John’s Island Club, and everyone who supported the event.
Final Result: Meredeth Quick & Suzie Pierreont bt. Narelle Krizek & Natarsha McElhinny 13,11,(13), 12
2017 Event PreviewThe 5th Annual John’s Island Open begins this Thursday and continues through the weekend in Vero Beach, Florida.
This year’s tournament is guaranteed a new champion as the draw features only two teams who have played together before and no teams who have played together previously in the John’s Island Open.
Top seeds for the tournament, Meredeth Quick and Suzie Pierrepont, faced each other in the 2016 final with the partnership of Quick/McElhinny coming out on top. This year they are seeded to meet new pairing Stephanie Hewitt and Georgina Stoker in the semi final. This is the first time Hewitt/Stoker will compete together as Hewitt’s usual partner, Dana Betts, takes some time off from the tour to have her first child.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seeds Narelle Krizek and sister Natarsha McElhinny face newcomer to the tour, former PSA top 10 player Madeline Perry and her partner Latasha Khan, in the first round. Krizek, who has won this event twice previously, partners with her sister whom she faced in the last years final.
Fourth seeds Fernanda Rocha and Seanna Keating are seeded to meet Krizek/McElhinny in the semi final. Rocha, who returns to the tour follow knee surgery in December, was originally partnered with Amanda Sobhy. Sobhy was forced to withdraw following a ruptured Achilles tendon sustained in March.
2016 John’s Island, Vero Beach FL
$25,000 Prize Fund
McElhinny & Quick Claim Second Consecutive WSDA Tour Title in John’s Island
One month after winning the Hashim Khan Invitational in Denver, Natarsha McElhinny & Meredeth Quick captured their second WSDA Tour title this weekend—the $25,000 John’s Island Open at John’s Island Club on the east coast of Florida.
McElhinny & Quick entered the eight-team main draw seeded second and nearly didn’t reach the semifinals after a challenging first-round match against Amy Milanek & Georgina Stoker. McElhinny & Quick found themselves down 11-9 in the fifth game, but managed to come back and pull out the match 10-15, 15-14, 15-11, 8-15, 15-13.
“Our first round against Amy and Georgina was extremely tough,” Quick said. “They put pressure on us with their strong length and lobs in all five games, so we had to work hard to counteract their length and attack.”
McElhinny & Quick’s semifinal opponents, Tina Rix & Fernanda Rocha Maturi also needed five games to get past their first round opponents, Latasha Khan & Karen Kronemeyer. The two seeds controlled their semifinal against Rix & Rocha Maturi, advancing to the final in three games.
The top half of the draw saw top seeds, Dana Betts & Stephanie Hewitt, and 3/4 seeds, Narelle Krizek & Suzie Pierrepont, advance to the semifinal in three games. Krizek & Pierrepont, the 2013 and 2014 John’s Island Open champions, then upset the seeding by defeating world No. 1 Betts & world No. 2 Hewitt 15-13, 15-5, 13-15, 15-8. Krizek & Pierrepont were forced to withdraw from the 2015 edition of the tournament due to injury and hadn’t played together since the 2014 John’s Island Open. The duo marked their partnership’s reunion by storming to a third John’s Island final appearance.
In 2014, Krizek & Pierrepont defeated a Quick & Hewitt partnership, but this time it was Quick who came out on top for her inaugural John’s Island title with Krizek’s sister, McElhinny. Played in front of a packed gallery, the barn-burner of a final saw Krizek & Pierrepont come back from 2-0 games down to force a decisive fifth, which McElhinny & Quick edged out.
“The final was a great match,” Quick said. “We came out attacking in the first two games, but then lost our momentum and confidence as Suzie and Narelle successfully pushed us deeper and began volleying in the next two games. The fifth was incredibly close throughout and could have gone either way at the end. After losing in the first round last year when I was six months pregnant, it was special to be in the final again and especially get the win against such a talented and dominant team.”
The tournament, which began in 2013, is run by chairman and U.S. Squash Hall of Famer Michael Pierce, and along with the Briggs Cup offers one of the two highest prize money purses on the WSDA tour.
“John’s Island is a truly special squash community and we are incredibly lucky to get to play in front of so many supportive and enthusiastic members,” Quick said. “But it all wouldn’t be possible without the Pierce Family’s generous support, specifically Michael and Mollie, who make the event one of a kind for all the players and supporters. On behalf of all the players, I would also like to thank Suzie Pierrepont for leading the WSDA and running such a great event in John’s Island.”
Defending John’s Island Open Champions Betts & McElhinny Seeded to Collide in Final
The largest prize money event on the WSDA tour—the $25,000 John’s Island Open—is streaming live from the coast of Florida at the John’s Island Club this weekend in Vero Beach.
Defending champions Dana Betts & Natarsha McElhinny enter the 2016 competition on opposite ends of the draw as one half of the top-two-seeded partnerships.
Betts, world No. 1, will partner with Canada’s mixed world doubles champion and world No. 2 Stephanie Hewitt as the eight-team main draw’s top seeds.
McElhinny, world No. 3, opposed the top seeds in the bottom half of the draw with partner Meredith Quick. Quick & McElhinny, the two seeds, have tour momentum on their side following their Hashim Khan Invitational victory last month.
Betts & Hewitt are predicted to face a difficult semifinal against former world No. 1’s 2013 and 2014 John’s Island champions Narelle Krizek & Suzie Pierrepont, who were forced to withdraw from the 2015 edition due to an injured Krizek.
World No. 11 Tina Rix & world No. 8 Fernanda Rocha slot into the draw as the bottom half of the draw’s 3/4 seeds with an expected semifinal against Quick & McElhinny.
The draw includes first-time John’s Island participants Karen Kronemeyer from the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles, former Scotland No. 1 Wendy Maitland and Denver, Colorado’s Clair Baker.
One qualifying match commences the tournament at 11am ET to complete the main draw, which begins play at noon.
U.S. Squash Hall of Famer Michael Pierce is serving as the tournament chair.
View the full draw on the John’s Island Open tournament page.
All matches are streaming and scoring live on www.wsdaprotour.com/live.
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