American Platform Tennis Association crowns Grand Prix winners from Fairfield County

Despite the unrelenting rain Sunday, Oct. 9 at the Patterson Club Open in Fairfield, high quality of play shone through at the American Platform Tennis Association’s first Grand Prix tournament of the season.

Gabi Niculescu of Norwalk, pro at the Milbrook Club in Greenwich, and Martina Ondrejkova of Stamford, pro at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien, took the women’s title, while Mark Parsons of Norwalk, pro at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., and Johan du Randt of Wayland, Mass., won the men’s title. The matches played all weekend gave a glimpse of the fierce competition expected during the season ahead.

In the women’s draw, co No.1 seeds Cynthia Dardis of Stamford, pro at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, and Amy Shay of Wilton, pro at the Woodway Country Club in Darien, cruised through to the finals without dropping a set. Yet, the finals were a rematch of the 2016 APTA National Championship finals with Niculescu/Ondrejkova defeating Dardis/Shay 6-4, 6-1 in a contest that showcased a mastery of shot making from both teams.

In the men’s final, when du Randt/Parsons won the first set while only losing one game, it looked like the match would be over quickly. But their opponents, the new team of Max Le Pivert of Stamford, pro at Aspectuck Valley Country Club in Weston, and George Wilkinson of Stamford, pro at the Manursing Island Club in Rye, N.Y, had other ideas and won the second set 6-4. Although du Randt/Parsons emerged with a hard fought 7-5 third set victory and the Patterson Club Open title, Le Pivert/Wilkinson’s play signaled that they could rise to the top of the APTA ranks this year. Full draws can be viewed on www.platformtennis.org

The APTA’s next Grand Prix tournament will take place in Chicago, IL next month and the remaining in the series are slated for Cincinnati, OH, Boston, Mass. and Short Hills, N.J. The American Platform Tennis Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that governs the sport for its 17,000 members. The APTA sanctions more than 180 annual tournaments, including 26 national championship events; provides national rankings; maintains official rules and etiquette; and regulates standards for paddles, balls and courts.

Tournament Director Scott Slobin from the Patterson Club with winners Martina Ondrejkova and Gabi Niculescu, and finalists Amy Shay and Cynthia Dardis — Photo by Steven P. Mack/SPM Design.

Tournament Director Scott Slobin from the Patterson Club with winners Martina Ondrejkova and Gabi Niculescu, and finalists Amy Shay and Cynthia Dardis — Photo by Steven P. Mack/SPM Design.

Tournament Director Scott Slobin from the Patterson Club, with winners Mark Parsons and Johan du Randt, Finalists Max LePivert and George Wilkinson — Photo by Steven P. Mack/SPM Design.

Tournament Director Scott Slobin from the Patterson Club, with winners Mark Parsons and Johan du Randt, Finalists Max LePivert and George Wilkinson — Photo by Steven P. Mack/SPM Design.

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