British Open 2016 Synopsis Up To Semi’s Completion

Published on: Nov 20, 2016


The 2016 Neptune British Open singles is the strongest field of any event in recent times.

The top 10 world ranked players, plus the 11th, 12th and 13th ranked players

1          Camden Riviere
2          Rob Fahey
3          Steve Virgona
4          Bryn Sayers
5          Tim Chisholm
6          Ben Taylor-Matthews
7          Chris Chapman
8          Kieran Booth
9          James Stout
10       Nick Howell
11       John Lumley
12       Ricardo Smith
13       Matthieu Sarlangue

The strength of this draw had possibilities of an upset and it duly arrived in the quarterfinals with Chris Chapman taking on and defeating for the first time Rob Fahey in four sets. Chapman had in 2014 shown his ability to defeat a top 4 player in defeating Chisholm in the R.16 in 5 sets and taking Virgona in the quarters to 5 sets. In 2014 and 2016 Chapman was Fahey’s practice partner for the world challenge. It is no coincidence his game and court craft are honed in the challenge year.

The first quarterfinal match saw the defending British Open champion Steve Virgona playing Kieran Booth. Booth was up against an inspired Virgona who served and retrieved brilliantly and Virgona won in straight sets.  Video of this match

It should be remembered that tournaments have a time schedule; all quarterfinals should be completed on the same day. The tournament director, Alistair Lumsden, may have started to feel ‘qualms’ on this when the next match between Fahey and Chapman was quite obviously not going to be a quick one. The games were lengthy and the length of the match was nearly 4 hours.  Video of this match

Ben Taylor-Matthews and Bryn Sayers was tight from the start, with long games and the first two sets score being 6/5. Taylor-Matthews rather than capitulating fought back and took the third 6/3. Now the schedule was beginning to be ‘shot’. The fourth set continued with both players neck and neck looking for an advantage. Sayers who won the fourth set 6/5 achieved that advantage but now the timings of the schedule with this match lasting just over 3 hours was looking distinctly out of sorts!  Video of this match

The final quarterfinal of the day, (it would be more accurate to say late evening) was between the world champion and world no. 1 Camden Riviere versus his fellow American and doubles partner, the world no. 5 Tim Chisholm. Great friends they may be, but the rivalry on court is intense and Chisholm showed from the start he meant business and although Riviere won the first set 6/4 it most certainly was not a foregone conclusion Riviere would wrap up the next two sets. He didn’t; Chisholm won the second 6/4. Up until 4/4 in the third, it was still anyone’s match but something was happening. Andrew Fowler was talking with the marker, Andrew Lyons. The lights on the court would automatically go off at 23:00 and it was now 22:54. This problem was sorted but probably to Chisholm’s detriment. During the delay of nearly 20 minutes he had cooled down and stiffness had set in however, Chisholm called on his year’s of experience and took the third set 6/5. Chisholm now led by 2/1 in sets. Riviere’s level went up in the fourth and at 5/0 with Chisholm serving and with no warning to the marker, Chisholm served 2 balls into the net, then 2 more, a further 2 and then of course another 2. It was two sets all and the fifth to fight for. The final set saw as the clock was reaching midnight the set score at 2/2. Riviere won the next two games and Chisholm at the hazard end reached for a ball and the match was all over. Cramp in a leg and feet has set in.  Video of this match


The semi-final line-up of Virgona v Chapman and Riviere v Sayers started with the Virgona/Chapman match. The big question being asked was whether Chapman would be able to bring to the court a game to cause another upset. As we know he did. He was unstoppable winning the first two sets 6/1 6/2. Sadly, Virgona had to retire due to injury at 0/2 in the third. The second semi-final saw Riviere in no mood for letting Bryn Sayers anywhere near sniffing a weakness in his game (if there is one), the score line of 6/0 6/2 6/1 shows this.

Video of Virgona v Chapman and Riviere v Sayers


The final of Monday will be fascinating, how much closer is Chapman getting to be a very serious contender for a top ranking, could another upset be possible? If you cannot be at Queen’s Club to see for yourself watch the T&RA’s live feed