Paul Price & Clive Leach and Narelle Krizek & Suzie Pierrepont are the 2013 U.S. Open Squash Doubles champions following Sunday’s finals on a wintery day at Philadelphia Country Club.
The Women’s Doubles Squash Association (WDSA) and Squash Doubles Association (SDA) champions experienced contrasting routes to their titles as Krizek & Pierrepont cruised to three wins without dropping a game, while Price & Leach endured two five-game matches before a four-game final, including a semifinal that was perhaps one of the closest matches in SDA history against Matt Jenson & Preston Quick.
A packed gallery on Saturday witnessed one of the SDA matches of the season in the first semifinal of the day between one seeds and world No. 4 and 5 Paul Price & Clive Leach and four seeds and world No. 8 and 7 Matt Jenson and Preston Quick.
The highly-skilled match had blistering pace between Quick’s reverse corners, Jenson’s cross-court volleys, and Price shooting the lights out when it counted most. Price & Leach took the first game 15-11, but Jenson & Quick leveled the match, winning the second 15-8. The third game was even throughout with the sides reaching seven-all, ten-all, thirteen all, then fourteen-all at which point Jenson & Quick pulled out the game and a 2-1 advantage.
Jenson & Quick seemed to be on their way to a four-game victory, up 9-2 in the fourth, but Price & Leach fired themselves level saving one match-ball on their way to 14-14, then winning the all-important fifteenth point to force a fifth game. Again, Jenson & Quick took the advantage, up 13-9 in the fifth, but Price & Leach once again recovered—saving three match-balls to reach a remarkable third consecutive fourteen-all score—then winning their own match-ball to reach the finals.
The ensuing WDSA semi between one seeds Krizek & Pierrepont and four seeds Dana Betts & Sarah West was more routine as the joint world No. 1’s dispatched their opponents in three games 15-14, 15-7, 15-10.
The second SDA semifinal saw three seeds Imran Khan & Mark Chaloner reach their second final of the season (since losing out to world
No. 1’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould in the Maryland Club Open final) by defeating unseeded John Russell & Freddy Reid, upset winners over two seeds Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan on Friday in four games 15-10, 9-15, 15-11, 15-14.
Saturday’s final match of the evening was between WDSA seed-killers Heidi Mather & Victoria Simmonds and qualifiers Alexandra Clark & Amy Gross. Unlike both sides’ previous upsets that went to five games, the semifinal was decided in four as Clark & Gross bounced back after losing the first game (10-15) to command the final three games and reach their first WDSA final of the season 15-6, 15-10, 15-12.
Winter weather hampered Sunday’s crowds and participants alike resulting in the SDA final pushing back its start time an hour. The WDSA final opened proceedings and was another clinical display from Krizek & Pierrepont as they remained perfect in the tournament winning in three games against the stand-out qualifiers Clark & Gross 15-6, 15-7, 15-11. Their U.S. Open title marks Krizek & Pierrepont’s seventh consecutive WDSA title as partners and third title out of three tournaments in the 2013-2014 season.
Once both sides finally arrived at the venue, play began between Price & Leach and Khan & Chaloner. Price & Leach controlled the first two games to gain a 2-0 lead, but Khan & Chaloner replied to win the third 15-11. In a close fourth game, Price & Leach found themselves at the familiar score of fourteen-all and—as they had twice in the semifinals—delivered when it counted most to win their first title of the 2013-2014 season.
While the U.S. Open marks the final date on the 2013 WDSA tour calendar, the SDA now looks ahead to its largest prize money tournament of the season, December 11-16, at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York, for the $100,000 Briggs Cup.