Jay Schwab and Michael Slutzky Repeat as Colorado State Champs

Cary Hodges
February 12, 2014
Denver, CO

With the excitement level at a fever pitch in Denver on Superbowl weekend, the Men's Colorado State Open road the wave of energy through Friday night and Saturday. Twenty-four teams gathered for play in two separate brackets with twelve teams in ‘A’ and twelve in ‘B.’ In an effort to provide as many matches as possible, both brackets began with pool play for main draw qualifying Friday evening. Brackets were divided into four groups of three teams in each group with round robin play in each group. The top two teams from each group advanced to the main draw while the remaining teams were placed in consolation.

Complete Draws (pdf)

Eventual ‘B’ bracket champions, Jim Warner and Tim Conarro, emerged from qualifying in second place after being defeated by Derek Bond and Kent Lemon. Conarro and Warner cruised through their first round with Dave Romberg and Adrian Alday, 6-2, 6-2, to face the dark horse team of Sam Hall and Andy Creath, who surprised many with their undefeated run through the qualies. With both teams hailing from Boulder, they had seen each other across the net before. This made for an epic showdown that went a full three sets with Conarro-Warner holding on 6-1 in the third set.

Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the ‘B’ draw, Lemon and Bond held on in two tight sets against John "The Bionic Man" Speer (two new hips) and Jim Sigman. In the semis, Bond and Lemon found themselves across the net from long-time buddies, Craig Emerson and Scott Ripley. This match took a page out of motor-mouth Richard Sherman's book with all four players chirping "the truth" endlessly, until Bond and Lemon finished with a 6-3, 6-3, victory., Bond and Lemon were now faced with a rematch from Friday night qualifying with Conarro and Warner. Conarro and Warner dropped the first set, but did not let losing three consecutive sets get them down. Conarro's forehand continued to inflict damage, helping them take the second set, 7-5. The third set went neck and neck all the way to 6-6 and a deciding tiebreaker. At 5 all, Bond and Lemon flinched just enough to give the Boulder team a match point. Conarro and Warner obliged and took the title 7 points to 5.

(l-r) Champions Jay Schwab and Michael Slutzky,
Finalists Cary Hodges and Matt Assini

As the ‘A’ bracket began, players were excited to play in "real paddle conditions," overcast with light snow. This is only notable due to how many warm, sunny days Denver paddle sees. With eleven teams in the draw all from Colorado, the unknown was the team of Marc Porter and Pete Harvey, formerly ranked 24th nationally, who journeyed from Stonington, Connecticut. After qualifying as the top team from their group and earning the top spot on the bracket, Porter and Harvey were upset by the Boulder team of Pete Walters and Jim Bray, 7-5, 6-2. 

On the other side of the draw, defending champs, Jay Schwab and Michael Slutzky, rolled through their first round with another Boulder team of Pete Chandler and Curt Corrigan, 6-1, 6-4, giving them a rematch opportunity from a loss in the Boulder Open a few weeks prior at the hands of Brock Borman and Ian Hintz. Hintz and Borman played for nearly three hours to get past Andrew Green and Tom Hertzberg, 6-7, 7-5, 7-5, in their opening match. In the last quarter-final match, eventual finalists, Matt Assini and tournament director Cary Hodges got past Chuck Roosevelt and Townsend Hall, 6-3, 6-1, setting up a semi-final with Bray and Walters. Schwab and Slutzky capitalized on fatigue factor taking Borman and Hintz in straight sets, 6-4. 6-4, in the other semi-final, while Assini and Hodges also captured a spot in the finals with a straight set victory.

The final was like the Super Bowl the following day—total dominance in all disciplines by Slutzky and Schwab, who won the first 10 games of the match. Assini and Hodges were able to break Schwab's lefty serve to get on the board in the second set, but the overall blend of speed, patience, and power was consistently at a high level giving Assini and Hodges no glimmer of a comeback. Slutzky and Schwab ran away with a 6-0, 6-1, victory.

Men’s ‘A’

Main Draw: Jay Schwab/Michael Slutzky def. Matt Assini/Cary Hodges, 6-0, 6-1
Third Place: Borman/Hintz finished won with a straight set win over Bray/Walters
Quarter Reprieve: Porter/Harvey defeated a dejected Green-Hertzberg. 6-2, 6-2
Consolation: The brothers Morris, Nick and Will, defeated Ed Hays and Randy Swenson, 6-1, 6-2
Last Chance: John Stegner/Eamonn MacNaughton won the Last Chance final in an abbreviated match 7-6.

Men’s ‘B’

Main Draw: Tim Conarro/Jim Warner def. Derek Bond/Kent Lemon, ?-6, 7-5, 7-6
Third Place: Sam Hall/Andy Creath needed extra innings to take Craig Emerson/Scott Ripley, 6-3, 3-6, 10-7.
Quarter Reprieve: John Speer/Jim Sigman had the epic match of the tournament by defeating Adrian Alday (Cleveland)/Dave Romberg, 6-7, 7-6, 10-8.
Consolation: John Moore/Buck Dominick won over Travis Boyle and Todd Groth, 6-2, 6-0.
Last Chance: Father-son duo of Ted Pomeroy/Sam Pomeroy got past Tim Osburn/Brock Wortman, 6-2, 6-1.

All of Colorado's events for the year are now complete except for one....the BIG one. The Arapahoe Invitational, a President's Cup Qualifier and National Ranking Points event, will be held at Arapahoe Tennis Club on February 21-23. Hope to see you here at ATC!

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