Philadelphia’s Georgina Stoker & Lauren West marked the Specter Center’s first professional doubles tournament with their partnership’s first title after saving two match balls in the final against Amanda Sobhy & Lume Landman Sunday, November 14.
Like the season-opening NYC Open, the Philly Pro doubles seeding was shaken up as the top two seeds failed to reach the final. Top seeds and NYC Open champs Maria Elena Ubina & Kayley Leonard had to come back from 2-0 down against Celia Pashley & Madeline Perry to advance to the semifinals in five games. After their own first round five-game comeback win, West & Stoker upset the top seeds in the semis 15-12, 15-10, 4-15, 15-10.
In the bottom half of the draw, Narelle Krizek & Suzie Pierrepont rekindled the partnership that went undefeated for three seasons and entered the Philly draw as two seeds. Both Krizek & Pierrpont and three seeds Amanda Sobhy & Lume Landman won their opening match in three to set up one of the matches of the tournament in the semifinals. In the semis, Krizek & Pierrepoint earned a two game lead until Landman & Sobhy turned the match on its head 13-15, 11-15, 15-6, 15-12, 15-12.
A dramatic final provided a fitting conclusion for an unpredictable tournament. After edging the first game from 14-all, West & Stoker found themselves down two match balls 13-14 in the fourth game. West & Stoker saved both match balls and sped away in the fifth with the title 15-5.
West celebrates her first professional doubles title while Stoker collects her fourth and first since the MFS Pro-Am Boston title in January 2020.
“It was a really fun final played in good spirits, it felt competitive but with no pressure on us,” said Stoker, a professional at the Cynwyd Club. “After they played an epic battle against Narelle and Suzie last night I just didn’t want to embarrass myself today. My juniors came out to watch which was really fun, having that support definitely made a difference for us. It was a really good tournament, there were a lot of close matches, new teams and new faces—all great to see for the tour.”
West was perhaps the busiest player all weekend at the Specter Center, leading her Philadelphia A division team “International Love” to a Howe Cup title shortly after winning her first professional doubles title.
“We were taking the final seriously, but all of us were joking around a bit and it felt like a training match for half of it,” said West, a professional at Germantown Cricket Club. “My aim was to win a game, especially with Amanda on court, I thought one game’s fine. I had a lot of Germantown players at the Howe Cup supporting me and my Dad was in town and I haven’t seen him since before covid so that was an extra special thing for me. The first professional doubles title at the Specter Center is a special one to take home. A lot of strong teams and tough match ups made for a great tournament. Thank you to the organizers for both the Howe Cup and Philly Pro doubles, it’s been an incredible weekend.”