DOUBLES tennis – that perfect combination of guile, touch, strategy and teamwork which delivered Australian tennis some of the most memorable moments in its 28 Davis Cup and seven Federation Cup wins – had its importance underlined last week in round 8 of the State Tennis League with many of the clashes decided by doubles wins.
The inclusion of John Peers, world number 4 ranked doubles player and holder of the 2017 Australian Open, 2017 World ATP doubles championship, finalist at Wimbledon and US Opens and Australian Rio Olympics doubles representative, for Mosman Park against Mt Lawley showcased doubles brilliance at its best.
Combining with world number 304 Brydan Klein, Peers helped deliver a rout to take Mosman Park within three points of the top of the league as it enters the long break.
His deft volleys and quick hands delighted the crowd of 150 who watched in searing heat.
Peers is a great example of a touring singles player who made a career choice to play doubles.
“I wanted to make the cut in the biggest tournaments as quickly as possible by becoming a doubles specialist,” Peers said.
The results are outstanding and Peers’ approachability and insights thrilled juniors in a frank Q&A after the match.
Juniors could reap the benefits playing doubles has on their singles game.
Sunday’s win completed a three-game winning streak for Mosman Park with a win over Bayswater under lights on Thursday night, a match where they did not have their own way and came back from 1-3 rubbers down after the singles to win both doubles.
On Saturday, Mosman Park underscored its strength with a powerful 5-0 win over Hensman Park again led by Klein with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Zach Itzstein.
The inclusion of former Victorian pro Aaron Leeder-Chard, a stylish big serving player with a one hand backhand, was too much for the home team.
In other Saturday matches, Bayswater won its first match of the season over Peppermint Grove.
Tied at 2-2 rubbers each after the singles with wins to Gavin Van Peperzeel and George Perez, doubles turned the match with Bayswater winning two very close rubbers 10-6 in the third set tiebreak in one match and 11-9 in the other.
League leaders Cottesloe, facing a defeat with nationally ranked juniors unavailable for their match against Royal Kings Park (RKPTC) on grass, surprised the competition with world ranked pro Matt Ebden making his debut with a 6-0, 6-0 win over RKPTC’s Dean Cochrane.
Ebden, now ranked number 76 in the world, is enjoying his best tennis and was the difference between the teams with three of the matches going the full three set distance.
Teams split the doubles with Cottesloe winning three rubbers, eight sets and 74 games to 3-8-67.
Mt Lawley jumped into sixth on the ladder with a well fought win over Dalkeith (DTC) away.
DTC’s classy Dane Propoggia dismantled Sam Galati and with DTC’s Matt Russo breaking his singles drought and Mt Lawley’s experienced Rhys McDougall evened the score leaving Dalkeith needing to win both doubles but fell short, losing by a set.
In the women’s match between league leaders RKPTC and Cottesloe on grass, teams were tied two rubbers each after some pulsating singles tennis.
Cottesloe’s Teiwa Casey won 7-6, 7-6 over Janelle Cuthbertson.
Cottesloe won both doubles easily to snatch a 4-2 win.
Both teams were missing their number one players and the expected showdown between Alicia Molik and Bojana Bobusic will now wait until the rematch in 2018.
Hensman beat North Beach five rubbers to one and in an upset and City Beach downed a depleted Blue Gum by a set.
Despite the loss, RKPTC go into the break on top with 137 points, 25 points clear of Cottesloe who are well clear of last years runners up Blue Gum on 68 points.
With the State League due to return on January 27, attention will now be on the world’s only mixed doubles event, the Hopman Cup running from December 30 to January 6.
Roger Federer is set to return to lead the strongest field in the event’s 30th anniversary.
Another feast for tennis doubles fans.