April 28th-May 1st
The Onwentsia Club. Lake Forest, IL
First-Time Partners Betts & Stoker Win WSDA Season Finale in Chicago
The WSDA season came to a close in the windy city this weekend as world No. 1 Dana Betts collected her third WSDA title of the season with first-time partner Georgina Stoker, who celebrates her maiden WSDA Tour title after the MetroSquash Chicago Open at the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, IL.
Betts & Stoker, who played on the right wall for the first time, entered the four-team draw as the top seeds with two other first-time partnerships in the draw, including 3/4 seeds Tina Rix & Amy Milanek and two seeds Suzie Pierrepont & Fernanda Rocha.
“Dana and I have been talking about playing together for a long time so we decided that Chicago would be the tournament we would try it out,” Stoker said. “I’ve been practicing my right wall and would really like to be able to play both so I figured it would be a good test. Dana is a fantastic competitor and a killer on the left wall so I was excited to play with her.”
“I’ve been wanting to play an event with Gina for a while now because I saw her potential a long time ago, when she first started playing doubles, and I knew she’d only get better and better with time,” Betts said. “I thought we’d make a strong team because I felt that my power and aggressive play would match up well with her speed & ability to cover the court along with her great racquet skills for shooting.”
The only partnership to have played with each before this weekend, Latasha Khan & Tehani Guruge, met the eventual champions in the first round, pushing Betts & Stoker to five games.
“Playing against Latasha and Tehani in our semis was tougher than we anticipated,” Betts said. “Latasha and Tehani have played a handful of events together and it took me and Gina by surprise how strong they came out in our match. We squeaked out with a 3-2 win, and it probably took that entire match to really get adjusted to one another as a team and for Gina to start feeling confident on the right, and for me to relax and not be concerned with Gina feeling uncomfortable on the right wall.”
“Going into the final we knew it was going to be a tough match but we also knew that if we played the way we knew we were capable of then we could come away with the win,” Stoker continued. “It was a back and forth affair, with some amazing play from all four of us. After narrowly losing the 3rd we found ourselves 2-1 down. Dana and I regrouped and came back on in the fourth with a new determination. We did not want to lose and won the 4th convincingly 15-8.”
As the fifth game progressed to 5-6, the match came to an unfortunate and abrupt halt as Pierrepont collapsed with a severe Achilles injury, handing the result to Betts & Stoker.
“It was awful to see her in such pain and I wouldn’t wish that injury on anybody,” Stoker said. “But she was an absolute champ and managed to laugh and smile through the tears. I wish her a super speedy recovery!”
“It was awful to witness and really hard to see Suzie in so much pain,” Betts said. “Everyone was pretty shaken-up.”
The champions saluted the hosts at Onwentsia, including tournament chairmen Danny Dolan and Peter Dunn.
“Aidan Harrison and the patrons at Onwentsia, as per their usual, were incredible hosts and organizers and have always made us feel like we are at home, and this year was no different,” Betts said. “Danny Dolan and Peter Dunn, especially, have always gone above and beyond to support the WSDA tour and continue to help grow the game of squash and help their Chicago Metro Squash program thrive as a whole.”
“Onwentsia were amazing hosts as always,” Stoker said. “Aidan and the rest of the staff do such a great job there and the members are fantastic and so welcoming. It’s always a fun event to play and this year was no different. Danny Dolan and Peter Dunne in particular go above and beyond in their support for metrosquash and the WSDA tour. It was also incredible to see how much the members came together to help Suzie after her injury.”
Thus ends the 2015-2016 WSDA season.
“This past WSDA season has been a fun and interesting one,” Stoker said. “There have been a lot of new pairings and a lot of different faces in semi-finals and finals which I think is great to see. It makes for a competitive and entertaining tour and I hope to see it continue.”
WSDA Chicago Open Features First-Time Partnerships
The WSDA season comes to a conclusion this weekend with the MetroSquash Chicago Open at the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
The four-team draw includes three first-time partnerships with only one pairing—3/4 seeds Latasha Khan & Tehani Guruge—having played together before.
One year after Chicago hosted the World Doubles Championships, champion Suzie Pierrepont—who won the world title with fellow English international Carrie Hastings—is seeded to meet world doubles finalist Georgina Stoker once again.
Stoker, who is also English, leads the draw as the right-waller in the top-seeded partnership with world No. 1 Dana Betts, who is coming off of a semifinal loss last weekend with Stephanie Hewitt in John’s Island.
The bottom half of the draw includes Pierrepont on the left wall of the two seeds with world No. 8 Fernanda Rocha on the right in a first-time partnership.
Pierrepont & Rocha will face 3/4 seeds Tina Rix & Amy Milanek for a shot at the title in Sunday’s final.
Tournament organizers include chairs Danny Dolan and Peter Dunne, and Onwentsia pro Aidan Harrison.
Matches are live scoring on www.wsdaprotour.com/live Friday, April 29, from 5pm local time, 6pm ET.