Posted by Rob Short at 10:02 on 4 February 2013
Saturday and Sunday saw national titles fought over and won and lost over the weekend. In men’s singles injuries to both of last year's finalists Raj Popat and Daniel Font meant a diluted field but good opportunities for junior players to make statements of intent and whilst many of them indeed did play well the finalists were a surprise in that former junior Chris Pickard met Oliver Gwilt for the title. Pickard won the title over doubles specialist Gwilt.
Carissa Turner after several previous disappointments was this time far too strong in the ladies singles and dominated every match to take her first senior title.
The doubles contests proved fascinating with quite a few very strong pairs looking to take the prizes. In the end the top seeds in mixed Sarah Thomas and Oliver Gwilt were too strong for the in form James Phillips and Vikki Jones in a very good quality final. The ladies doubles contest was won by Carissa Turner and Sarah Thomas over Vikki Jones and Jordan Hart and although the score was convincing for the champions the contest was keenly fought with all players giving everything as they always do. Alice Palmer and Ellen Mahenthiralingam perhaps gave the champions the biggest fright early in the event, demonstrating good form.
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited final was the men’s doubles where three time winners on the European circuit this year Joe Morgan and Nic Strange faced James Phillips and one of Wales' all-time greats Chris Rees. This match was in doubt until the very end with Phillips and Rees taking the first game and establishing early leads in the second and third. The change of ends seemed to make a difference and saw Strange and Morgan claw their way back each time to edge over the winning line. Rees, apart from the occasional service and net errors has lost little of his skills and presents endless problems for the present generation of players, and whilst very few of them will be looking forward to his presence again at next years Nationals, for the spectators he provides an annual treat of top class play.