National Singles Championship
Finals: Manchester Y Club, December 2/3rd
Organiser Charlie Brooks has today published the draw for the final rounds of this year’s National Singles Championship; and, as ever, it looks set to be an enthralling tournament.
Top seed – and defending champion – is Dan Tristao, but he certainly won’t have an easy ride if he’s to retain the Jesters Club Cup. Will Ellison, who has featured in the last seven finals in this event, is of course in the running, but if there is a shock even before the first point is played, it’s that he isn’t second seed this year.
Instead, that position goes to Ed Kay, who also has to be seen as a potential champion after a superb run of tournament results in the first part of this season. In that time, he has beaten both Will and Dan, and secured titles at both the London and Yorkshires Open championships, as well as retaining his BUSF title.
If the seedings go to form, Ed and Will will meet in the semis, and that should be an intriguing clash. The form book says Ed should win, but Will has won the North West Open singles title in three of the last four years, so he clearly likes the Manchester courts…
Arguably, that match could just make Dan the favourite, as he looks to have a slightly easier route to the final. But, with the likes of Charlie Brooks, David Butler and former champion Matt Cavanagh all in the top half of draw, there will be no easy games.
Indeed, one of the most fascinating battles in the first round could well be the match between Ollie Arnold and eighth seed Matt, the current National Veterans singles champion. There may be a few years between their ages, but experience could well be crucial.
It says something for the youthful feel to the event that, in the bottom half of the draw, Will is the oldest player. In fact, all four matches involve at least one student, with Will’s first opponent being reigning National Schools Champion (and fellow Wykehamist) Tom Kidner.
There is also some local interest, with Manchester student James Smith earning a place in the draw – although his reward is the rather dubious honour of facing Ed Kay in the first round.
National Singles Championship – last 16 draw [PDF, 353KB; opens in a separate window]