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Boston Open 2019

Sarah-Jane Perry and Joe Lee have won the 23rd annual Boston Open 2019.

It was the strongest edition of the tournament for many years, and included a five-set final in the women's event.

A full report is below...

DAY ONE Men’s 1st Round

Ian Cox bt Paul Warner 11/1, 13/11, 11/8 (22m)

Nick Ratnarajah bt Muhammad Fahran {5/8} (W/O)

Ben Smith bt Oscar Hill 11/2, 11/8, 11/3 (21m)

Jack Mitterer bt Tom Miller 11/2, 11/8, 11/5 (14m)

Kyle Finch bt Thomas Ramsey 11/4, 11/2, 11/1 (13m)

Joe Lee bt Scott Drewery 11/5, 11/5, 11/1 (22m)

Jared Carter {5/8} bt Josh Inman 11/4, 11/6, 11/6 (16m)

Adam Turner {5/8} bt James Ryan 11/4, 11/3, 11/4 (18m)

Jamie Goodrich bt Oliver Ramsey 11/4, 11/1, 11/5 (15m)

Phil Nightingale bt Muhammad Abdul Qadir (W/O)

Due to the highest number of entries in many years, the 23rd edition of the Boston Open began at lunchtime on Friday. The men’s first round was a very straightforward affair - with every match in the round won in straight sets. The first of the ten matches played, between Ian Cox and Paul Warner, turned out to be the joint longest at 22 minutes.

Women’s 1st Round

Charlotte Kirkwood bt Sophie O'Rourke 11/4, 9/8 retired (12m)

Olivia Gow bt Risa Sugimoto (W/O)

Lucy Beecroft bt Poppie Jaram 11/4, 11/1, 11/5 (13m)

Lea Barbeau bt Katie Cox 11/7, 3/11, 9/11, 11/8, 11/1 (34m)

Emma Bartley bt Alexandra Bardac 11/6, 11/1, 11/6 (18m)

Ellie White bt Sofia Aiero Pita 11/6, 11/7, 11/3 (19m)

Alice Green bt Fran Wallis 11/4, 11/5, 11/6 (17m)

Celine Walser bt Katie Wells 11/13, 5/11, 11/7, 13/11, 11/3 (47m)

Round one was more eventful in the women’s draw than in the men’s. It included a walkover, a retirement and two five-setters. Sophie O’Rourke had to call time on her Boston Open appearance in the second set of her match against Charlotte Kirkwood due to illness, having been suffering from a nasty cold this week. The round finished with a stonking encounter between Celine Walser and Lincolnshire’s Katie Wells. The 19-year-old from Horncastle let a two-set lead slip and couldn’t recover in the fifth and final game after losing the fourth on a tiebreak.

Men’s 2nd Round

Robert Downer {1} bt Ian Cox 11/3, 11/9, 4/11, 11/6 (24m)

Mark Fuller {3/4} bt Jack Mitterer 11/3, 11/7, 11/8 (27m)

Ben Smith bt Nick Ratnarajah 11/5, 11/5, 11/6 (24m)

Ben Sockett bt Ziad Salam 11/2, 11/5, 11/3 (20m)

Kyle Finch bt Nick Mulvey {3/4} 6/11, 11/7, 11/2, 11/2 (31m)

Adam Turner {5/8} bt Jamie Goodrich 11/8, 11/8, 11/8 (32m)

Joe Lee bt Jared Carter {5/8} 8/11, 11/2, 11/4, 11/2 (50m)

Tom Walsh {2} bt Phil Nightingale 11/6, 11/5, 11/4 (29m)

The men’s second round overlapped with the women’s first round, meaning there were often three matches taking place simultaneously – leaving little downtime for the team of three referees! Top seed Robert Downer progressed to the quarters despite dropping the third set of his match. Former world #29 Joe Lee also secured his passage into the final eight by knocking out one of the seeds. One other upset saw 3/4 seed Nick Mulvey knocked out by Kyle Finch. Mulvey suffered an injury in the first set. He had already raced into enough of a lead to see that game out, but not the ones that followed.

Women’s 2nd Round

Lucy Beecroft bt Lily Taylor {5/8} 12/10, 6/11, 11/3, 11/7 (40m)

Sarah-Jane Perry {1} bt Charlotte Kirkwood 11/4, 11/3, 11/6 (12m)

Julianne Courtice {5/8} bt Lea Barbeau 11/8, 11/4, 11/5 (15m)

Hollie Naughton {3/4} bt Emma Bartley 11/4, 11/3, 11/3 (15m)

Tinne Gilis {3/4} bt Ellie White 11/3, 11/2, 11/2 (18m)

Coline Aumard {5/8} bt Olivia Gow 11/3, 11/2, 11/2 (16m)

Millie Tomlinson {2} bt Celine Walser 11/7, 11/9, 11/6 (21m)

Haley Mendez {5/8} bt Alice Green 11/3, 11/8, 11/6 (23m)

As the last of Friday’s action was finishing up in the men’s event, it was the women’s turn to take centre stage once again. Lucy Beecroft and Lily Taylor were first up. Their match wasn’t on either of the two glass back courts – which was a shame – as they slugged it out for four sets in what was an entertaining match that still drew a healthy line of spectators to the balcony of court two.

While Taylor was defeated, all the other seeds made it through to the quarters. World #8 Sarah-Jane Perry sailed through her first match of the competition. Last year’s runner-up Haley Mendez was last on court at around 9pm, against Alice Green - who she beat in straight sets.


Women’s Quarter Finals

Sarah-Jane Perry {1} bt Lucy Beecroft 11/7, 11/8, 11/7 (25m)

Julianne Courtice {5/8} bt Hollie Naughton {3/4} 11/9, 11/8, 11/7 (27m)

Millie Tomlinson {1} bt Haley Mendez {5/8} 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 (26m)

Tinne Gilis {3/4} bt Coline Aumard {5/8} 8/11, 11/9, 11/9, 11/9 (47m)

Saturday began with the women’s quarter finals. Sarah-Jane Perry was first to seal her place in the semis, swiftly followed by Julianne Courtice who knocked out a higher-ranked seed in Hollie Naughton. Millie Tomlinson continued her run of not losing a set, let alone a match, at the Boston Open since 2015 (despite appearing in every tournament since) with a 3-0 victory over Haley Mendez in what was a repeat of last year’s final. Tinne Gilis was the last name into the semi finals, beating Coline Aumard 3-1 in a match in which every game was close.

Men’s Quarter Finals

Ben Smith bt Robert Downer {1} 8/11, 11/8, 11/7, 11/4 (45m)

Ben Sockett bt Kyle Finch 13/15, 11/5, 11/5, 11/8 (48m)

Joe Lee bt Mark Fuller {3/4} 11/7, 11/9, 10/12, 11/3 (57m)

Tom Walsh {2} bt Adam Turner {5/8} 11/7, 8/11, 11/6, 11/6 (41m)

With the first pair of men’s quarter finals it was difficult to know which glass back to turn your head to.

On one court, Ben Sockett and Kyle Finch each played their part in an excellent contest which began with a 28-point set. Sockett recovered from 10/6 down to force a tiebreak and subsequently ended up having a gameball himself at 13/12 before conceding three consecutive points. Nevertheless, he didn’t let his head drop and won the next three games.

At the same time, on the court opposite, we were treated to a fiery encounter between Robert Downer and Ben Smith. Playing in his home county, the unseeded Smith played very well to produce the biggest upset of the competition and knock out the top seed – even after losing the first game.

Joe Lee became the third unseeded semi-finalist in the men’s draw with a win against Mark Fuller that took just shy of an hour, before second seed Tom Walsh progressed in four sets against Adam Turner.

Women’s Semi Finals

Sarah-Jane Perry {1} bt Julianne Courtice {5/8} 5/11, 11/7, 11/8, 11/8 (40m)

Millie Tomlinson {2} bt Tinne Gilis {3/4} 11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (33m)

More than 40 people watched Sarah-Jane Perry beat Julianne Courtice in the first of the semi-finals. The top seed will no doubt have been unhappy with her performance in the first set but credit must also go to Courtice, who played Perry when they were juniors and gave her a good run for her money on this occasion. World #25 Millie Tomlinson continued her ultra-consistent form on Boston’s courts, dispatching world #22 Tinne Gilis without so much as a brief wobble.

Men’s Semi Finals

Ben Smith bt Ben Sockett 11/9, 11/5, 11/5 (34m)

Joe Lee bt Tom Walsh {2} 11/8, 11/8, 11/6 (39m)

Ben Smith continued his impressive performance levels through the competition so far with a straight sets win against Ben Sockett. It was in the second half of each game that Smith put together the winning runs that made the difference. Joe Lee also made the final without too much trouble, defeating second seed Tom Walsh in three.


Women’s Final

Sarah-Jane Perry {1} bt Millie Tomlinson {2} 8/11, 7/11, 11/3, 11/5, 11/7 (53m)

The women’s final, much like the women’s event as a whole, was the strongest in the Boston Open’s 23-year history. With world #8 and British #1 Sarah-Jane Perry taking on world #25 and defending champion Millie Tomlinson, the crowd that assembled was the biggest the tournament had attracted on its finals day for many years.

Hopes were high for a close and entertaining showpiece and that is exactly what the spectators got. Tomlinson played excellently to win the first two sets, while Perry was often frustrated as the referee was frequently called upon to make decisions – far more so than in the men’s final that followed. There was perhaps a clash of styles between this particular pair of players.

But after falling to her knees in frustration at the end of the second game, Perry began her fightback. “Come on!” she shouted after taking her first point of the third set. Spurred on, she raced into a 5/1 lead and didn’t look back from there. The top seed powered through the next two sets to win the final and deny Millie Tomlinson a sixth consecutive Boston Open title.

Men’s Final

Joe Lee bt Ben Smith 11/4, 11/5, 11/2 (31m)

The men’s final was expected to be a less tight affair than the women’s before it, and so it proved. 17-year-old Ben Smith had upset the seedings to become the second young player from Lincolnshire to make a Boston Open final in as many years, following in the footsteps of Harry Falconer in 2018.

While his opponent Joe Lee was also unseeded in this competition, that belied the fact that he is a former world #29 on his way back from surgery.

It briefly looked as though we might be in for a four-set match at the very least when Smith took a 4/1 lead in the second game. But Lee responded well and won seven consecutive points. He never looked back and won his first Boston Open title.

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