Kowalik and Metzler Three-Peat at the St. Louis Invitational

Frank Sant
February 22, 2012
St. Louis, MO

2012-St-Louis-Champions-540For nearly half of its 20 years of existence, a group of four men have been running the St. Louis Platform Tennis Invitational.  In my humble opinion, we have been able to tweak elements of the tournament to help insure an increasingly successful tournament.  However the greatest determinant for success is the quality of the field.  St. Louis had 94% of its top 16 players participate.  We also drew participants from Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (IL), Kansas City, Norfolk (CT), Scarsdale and Springfield (IL).

The festivities kicked off with eight St. Louis teams playing on Friday, February 10th.  The highlight of the evening was seeing newcomers Matt Jessee and Taylor St. Eve take veterans John Drew and Brian Gesme into a third set.  Jessee/St. Eve took a 1-4 lead in the deciding set before succumbing to the nuances of the game.  The final score was 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. The best I can tell, the rest of the first round matches were won in straight sets.

The second round started to see matches get somewhat tighter.  Tom Fluri and Bill Stude closed out Frank Childress and Chris Rhyne 7-6 in the second set.  Mike Carr and Frank Sant overcame a blazing start by Alex Mayer and Enrique Pozo to prevail 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.  Kevin Connor and Travis Helgeson held off second year players Michael Laycob and Tim Miller with a 7-5 victory in the third.  In the consolations, newbies Mike Anzalone and Matt Edwards bested veterans Scott Schmid and Chris Wright 6-4, 7-5.  In a mild upset, Steve Boone and Bill Snyders defeated Rob Christopherson and Michael Rossetto also by a score of 6-4, 7-5.

The back draw was the home of some great matches as everyone started to find an equal level of competition.  Jessee/St. Eve outlasted Schmid/Wright in what must have been a marathon as the final score was 5-7, 7-5, 7-6.  However, Christopherson/Rossetto won the bracket by winning two tie-breakers in the semi-finals and one breaker in the finals.  Other division winners were Mayer/Pozo, Dave Castleman/Ryan Dickherber, Fluri/Stude, Anzalone/Edwards and Rob Golterman/Chris Nasrallah.

The St. Louis tournament should have been renamed the Kansas City East Invitational as KC placed three teams into the semi-finals.  Chace Brundige and Pete Stroer beat Pete’s mentor (Fluri) 6-1, 7-6.  Connor/Helgeson had a terrific match with Graham Bundy/Bob Curtis and won 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.  Kevin Kowalik and Andy Metzler took the St. Louis team of Mark Jeffrey and Earle Weaver to task with a 6-2, 6-1 win.  The New York area team of brothers Mike and Chris Cochrane schooled Carr and Sant, 6-0, 6-4.

Both Cochrane/Cochrane and Kowalik/Metzler took their respective semis in straight sets.  Their victories set up a much-anticipated final.  The predominant crowd from St. Louis and Kansas City was anxious to see if our market(s) could be competitive with a top-ranked player, Mike Cochrane, and his brother who was no slouch.  Simply put, there were shots displayed that none of us had previously seen.  Metzler brought out his vicious tennis forehand.  Mike Cochrane walloped his two-handed forehand from both sides (I still don’t know if he is right-handed or left-handed) and also offered up his underhand, slice volley which backs up into the opponents’ net.  Chris Cochrane said, “I can put spin on the ball, too.”  Yes, he certainly can.  Kowalik was his usual backboard self, handling drives of all speeds.  In the end, Kowalik/Metzler ran their St. Louis tournament record to 15-0 with a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the championship.

The best compliment came from newcomer Matt Edwards who said, “It was my first (tournament) experience…and this weekend got me even more excited about the game!”

Final Draw

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!

Main Draw Kowalik/Metzler Cochrane/Cochrane 7-5, 6-4
Quarter Reprieve Fluri/Stude Bundy/Curtis 6-2, 6-2
16’s Reprieve Mayer/Pozo Laycob/Miller 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
16’s Reprieve Reprieve Castleman/Dickherber Saksa/Schrumpf  
Consolation Feder/Shoff George/Ingram 7-6, 6-1
Consolation Quarters Anzalone/Edwards Brightfield/Striler 6-3, 6-3
Consolation Reprieve Christopherson/Rossetto Jessee/St. Eve 6-0, 7-6
Last Chance Golterman/Nasrallah Comesana/Schneider 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
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