Turner Cup Semis Recap: Top Two Seeds Power Their Way Into Final       
by Rob Dinerman, for DailySquashReport.com

Dateline May 13th, 2012 --- In a sequential pair of dominant performances that left no doubt that they are by far the two best teams in the draw, top seeds Steph Hewitt and Meredeth Quick and second seeds Narelle Krizek and Suzie Pierrepont both overpowered their respective opponents this afternoon in the semifinals of the $30,000 Turner Cup, the most high-profile stop on the WDSA women’s pro doubles tour. Hewitt and Quick won 15-9, 7 and 8 over Seanna Keating and Natarsha McElhinny, following which Krizek and Pierrepont eliminated No. 3 seeds Dana Betts and Emily Lungstrum by scores of 15-6, 2 and 12.

   Keating and McElhinny, five-game quarterfinal winners (with a 13-2 match-closing run from 2-3 to 15-5) against fourth-seeded Philadelphians Amy Milanek and Dawn Gray, had their chances both in the first game, during which the score stood at 7-all before a swift five-point burst decided that game, and even more so when they moved out to a 7-2 advantage in the second. On the last of those points, Keating lashed a winning drive after McElhinny had made a difficult retrieval of a ball that appeared on the verge of dying in the back-right corner, a get that was appealed and sustained on a split decision by the judges. At that juncture, Keating and McElhinny, who as noted had faded at the end of the first game, seemed to have righted themselves --- certainly, no one in the gallery could have foreseen they would not win a single point for the remainder of that game.

   The avalanche began quietly (a drop shot off the back wall by Quick, followed by a cross-drop from Hewitt and a top-of-the-tinned would-be winner off McElhinny’s racquet), gained momentum when Hewitt got just enough of her racquet on a wall-scraping rail for it to trickle over the tin for 7-all, and burst into full stride with a series of Quick front-court winners and a bunch of errors (including several balls that hit the low University Club Of New York ceiling) from the increasingly demoralized Keating/McElhinny tandem, who would then yield a similar 9-2 run in the third game that brought Quick and Hewitt from 1-3 to 10-5 en route to sealing their unexpectedly one-sided victory.

   Pierrepont and Krizek, if anything, were even more ruthlessly efficient than Quick and Hewitt had been. Right from the opening point (Krizek served, and Betts’s return down the left wall was cut off by Pierrepont, who guided a backhand cross-drop into the front-right nick for a clean winner), they seized complete control of the action, finishing off that 15-6 frame when Krizek nailed a forehand volley into the front-left nick, a spot she then found in the first point of the second game as well on a perfect three-wall from deep in the right corner, following which she hit a shallow rail that Lungstrum was unable to scoop back. Other than a pair of Krizek tins, none of the remaining second-game points landed in the Betts/Lungstrum column, and though the third was more competitive, at least statistically, Pierrepont and Krizek were able to score repeatedly, and often early in the point, with a diverse array of winners, including one wondrously-struck Philadelphia boast by Krizek that ran parallel so close to the back wall that, even though Betts was there in plenty of time, she was left with nothing to swing at. The match ended barely a half-hour after it began when Krizek slid a shallow rail off the back wall that stayed too low for Lungstrum to retrieve it.

  The Monday-night final should be compelling, representing as it does a rematch both of the inaugural Turner Cup, three-love for Pierrepont/Krizek, and of the inaugural WDSA tour stop this season, in October at the Philadelphia Country Club, three-love for Quick/Hewitt, who would then go on to capture the U. S. National Doubles and a tour stop last month in Chicago. Both teams come into the final playing their best squash and fully prepared for what should be the defining match of the 2011-12 campaign.

Semis Recap:

Meredeth Quick/Steph Hewitt d. Seanna Keating/Natarsha McElhinny, 15-9, 7, 8

Suzie Pierrepont/Narelle Krizek d. Dana Betts/Emily Lungstrum, 15-6, 2, 12


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