Overall champions Chris Doran and Karina Le Fevre

Doran and Le Fevre top the Grand standings

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Chris Doran won his third overall title and Karina Le Fevre her fourth on a pulsating final day to the Grand Prix series in London.

Doran knew he had to win the men’s singles on the day to take the title, which he duly did to extend his winning run to seven successive main Grands Prix entered, having won two at the end of last season.

Le Fevre had no such pressure but reaching the women’s singles semi-finals rubber-stamped her overall title and the player who beat her, Hannah Hicks, went on to take the title on the day.

Click here to see all the final standings.

Click here to see more pictures from the event, bu John Upham.

Men’s Singles

Chris Doran and runner-up Helshan Weerasinghe

Chris Doran ended the season with a perfect record of five Grands Prix won from five entered as he leapfrogged Darius Knight to top the standings.

Doran had to win the tournament to be sure of taking the crown back from the retiring Ryan Jenkins, with Knight reaching the semi-finals and having to hope his conqueror, Helshan Weerasinghe, could overcome Doran in the final.

In the event, Weerasinghe gave it a good crack before succumbing 3-2 (11-13, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5) in front of some vocal spectators who appreciated a high-class match.

Doran had not dropped a set on his way to the final, with his passage made easier by Gavin Rumgay’s withdrawal from the singles.

Fifth seed Weerasinghe, by contrast, had ended up in the ‘wrong’ part of the draw when he finished second in his group, losing to 13-year-old Louis Price in the result of the day, which drew applause from all the surrounding tables.

The Bristol youngster won that match 3-1 (11-8, 11-4, 4-11, 11-8) and went on to reach the quarter-finals, where he lost to Callum Evans.

Louis Price (picture by John Upham)

Weerasinghe ended up paired with Jenkins in the last 16 and was a pantomime villain of sorts as he made sure there would be no fairytale end to Jenkins’ career, which had seen 55 Grand Prix wins and eight overall titles.

The score in that one was 3-1 (6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11) as Weerasinghe made Jenkins pay for not taking game points – and he went on to beat Mike O’Driscoll in three in the quarters before seeing off Knight 3-1 (11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3) in the last four.

All of which meant Doran had a third overall title, ahead of Knight, with Callum Evans, Ryota Kawai and Matt Leete unchanged in the minor money places.

Doran said of his magnificent seven in a row: “It’s ridiculous – I went into Blackpool last season not winning one for 15 months and now I’ve won seven in a row.

“I knew I had to win today, barring something unlikely like Darius going out in the first round, and that’s pressure in itself, so it’s a great win, probably one of my favourite wins.”

Women’s Singles

Hannah Hicks and Anna Hursey

Hannah Hicks sunk young Anna Hursey in four games in the final to add to her wins at Blackpool and Bath earlier in the season.

The score was 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 as experience proved the key.

On the way, Hicks went the distance in overcoming series champion Karina Le Fevre in the semi-finals, the score 3-2 (11-8, 3-11, 13-11, 5-11, 11-5). Hursey’s semi-final victim was Gina Rieck, in four games (13-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6).

With Haoyu (Jenny) Liu absent, Le Fevre’s overall title was already in the bag, while Hicks cemented second place with her victory.

Anna Hursey (picture by John Upham)

Liu having played only thee Grands Prix meant she was ineligible for prizemoney, meaning Yolanda King took third overall, while Hursey’s run saw her into fourth. Fifth went to Emily Bolton.

Le Fevre said: “I’ve only won one Grand Prix this year but I’ve got to a lot of finals. There have been a few different players around, like Jenny and (Iulia) Necula who won Liverpool.

“It’s my fourth overall title but I don’t think I’ve ever come into London with it already won, so I was more relaxed today.”

Veterans’ Singles

Julius Esposo and Rory Scott

Julius Esposo defeated overall champion Rory Scott in the final in three straight (11-8, 11-8, 11-5) to take the title on the day.

Scott had been extended by Sugay Jagannathan in the semis, needing five to prevail 11-13, 12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9.

Scott, who had the distinction alongside Adam Ridley of having played at every main Grand Prix this season, was over the hills and far away in terms of the overall title, his total of 218.5 points being 138.5 ahead of second place.

By contrast, second and third were separated by only half a point. Andy Frain reached the quarter-finals to climb above Kevin Nicholls, absent here, with 80 points to 79.5. Fourth was Jason Quirk and fifth Tim Vaughan.

Adam Ridley and Rory Scott who competed at every Grand Prix

Under-21 Men’s Singles

Winner Mitchell Jones (right) and Luke Savill

Mitchell Jones recovered from a wobble from 2-0 and 10-7 up to defeat Luke Savill 3-1 (11-2, 11-5, 11-13, 11-9) to win the title on the day.

Jones had been something of a five-game specialist in previous rounds, beating Naphat Boonyaprapa (5, 6, -6, -8, 10) in the last 16 and Olly Tyndall (8, -5, -9, 9, 3) in the semi-finals.

The overall picture showed very little change, with the top four staying as they were – Matt Leete, Callum Evans, Ethan Walsh and Calum Morrison. But Dylan Curry, beaten by Savill in the quarters, jumped above Joe Clark into fifth.

Under-21 Women’s Singles

Anna Hursey (right) and Danielle Kelly

Women’s singles finalist Anna Hursey completed a good weekend with victory in the under-21s.

And it was a clear-cut one too, as she defeated Danielle Kelly in three straight (11-3, 11-5, 11-5).

Kelly had done well to overcome her previous two opponents in tight matches – beating Margarita Tischenko 3-1 (14-16, 15-13, 11-6, 11-6) and then Zahna Hall also in four (11-8, 12-14, 11-7, 12-10).

It was enough to take Hursey to the top of the overall leaderboard, leapfrogging Kate Cheer, the duo being the only players to qualify for prizemoney.

Open Doubles

Danny Bajwa & Martin Johnson with winners Ryan Jenkins & Cherith Graham

Denied the fairytale in the singles, Ryan Jenkins’ last act on the Grand Prix circuit was to win the doubles alongside Cherith Graham.

They might have lost the final several times though, Danny Bajwa and Martin Johnson holding a match point in the fourth game and four more of them in the fifth.

But the sporting gods were not having that – all were saved before the older couple took their own second chance to seal it 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 11-13, 13-11, 15-13).

The champions needed to come from 2-1 down in the semi-finals too, defeating Tom Maynard and Owe Karlsson 3-2 (7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 14-12).

With no one having qualified for the overall standings by playing in four Grands Prix, no prizemoney was given out.

Men’s Singles Standings

Women’s Singles Standings

Verterans’ Singles Standings

Open Doubles Standings

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