PWC prizes bring out the aces

It is that time of year again when the best tennis players in Cayman battle it out for the top prize on the island.

This year’s Cayman Open, hosted by the Cayman Islands Tennis Club, is the most competitive open ever. Participants will be competing in six divisions; Men’s and Women’s Singles and Doubles, Men’s over 40s and Mixed Doubles.

In the Men’s Singles, CI Tennis Club Champion Eamon Wilson will look to add another trophy to his collection. He will have to play his best tennis to overcome the competition in his draw which includes the island’s top juniors Marc Reid, Alex Leonard and Edward Bodden. Also making his life tougher will be Richard Harrison, Gyanendra Jha, Sean Slattery and big hitters Nikhil Jha and Steve Theaker. Two new names to the tournament will also add some depth to the draw, Rob Weins from Colorado and Tyson Ramsey from Wyoming.

The top finishers in the Men’s Open qualify to play in the PWC Men’s Invitational where there is $12,000 worth of prize money. The PWC Men’s Invitational Championships will take place 1-5 February where Tony Mule will try to defend the title against a couple of Davis Cup players from Jamaica and the Dominican.

In the women’s section last year’s runner up, Carol Reid, will try to go one step further and claim top prize. Standing in her way are Marion Goodall, Anne Todd, Shamar Ennis and the resilient Anna-Lisa Hawkes, who is coached by local pro Adam Bayley. Sian Harrison, who missed last year’s tournament due to knee surgery, is back in fine form and ready to cause an upset.

The Men’s Doubles should provide some exciting viewing with a strong, evenly matched field. Experienced doubles competitors Brian Wight and Robert Hale are seeded second and have been training with the pros at the club for this event. They will be looking to upset the No.1 seeds, John Crossan and Ilian Manchew.

Newcomer Rob Weins is teaming up with Allen Bernardo and club pro Dale Avery is partnering Jonathan Hawkes to take a shot at the title. Other couples to watch out for are Jeremy Superfine with Jonathan Caulton, Mike Fullerton with Sean Slattery and top juniors Marc Reid with Alex Leonard.

Top Seeds in the women’s doubles are Marion Goodall with Patricia Calder and Shamar Ennis with Anne Todd. Experienced doubles pairs Sandra Dailey and Geraldine Duckworth as well as the big hitting combo of Danica Treadwell and Christine Cleaver are also in contention for the title.

Junior Hydes and David Berry are the top seeds in the Men’s over 40s and are likely to see each other in the final unless Allen Bernardo, Steve Theaker or Tim Courtis can cause an upset.

It is an open field with the mixed doubles headed by Fleur Vagniez with Eduardo Torres and Marion Goodall paired with club pro Dale Avery. Brother-sister team Richard and Sian Harrison are also strong contenders.

The open started on Friday and finishes this Friday at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club in South Sound. Entrance is free and anybody is welcome to watch and support their favourite players. Matches are on each evening starting at 5:30pm. The semi-finals for singles are on Wednesday while the finals will be Friday at 5:30pm.

Club pro Rob Seward said: “The Cayman Islands Tennis Club expresses its deepest gratitude to PWC, the main sponsor. This is their fifth year sponsoring the event and without them it would have been impossible to stage such a successful tournament. We’re also very excited to have Scotia Bank back for a second year of sponsoring the junior clinic at the club on 29 January. This is where some of our local juniors and adults can come down and participate in a clinic with some of the visiting pros.”

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Reid was runner up last year.
PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD
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