Tomasz Lewandowski was the star of the show as he illuminated Blackpool with a dazzling display to win his maiden Grand Prix crown on debut.
Lewandowksi and Polish teammate Mateusz Golebiowski obliterated the rest of the field, storming to the final before engaging in an awesome final that consisted of sensational rallies in abundance. The duo were relatively unknown upon arrival on the seaside, but their presence was soon felt across the hall as the day went by.
Golebowski was the first to gain the attention of fellow competitors as he destroyed the credible James Garrod 3-0, hitting a series of earth-shattering backhands in the process. His next victim was Ryan Fellows, who was also brushed aside by the Pole. His first real challenge came in the shape of Garth Kinlocke, who took the first end with a fantastic display of consistent looping, before Golebowski eventually raced clear in four tight ends. Before that, Golebowski had dropped an end to Jody Bevington, a personal triumph for him.
Then came the match everyone was waiting for. Golebowski went up against the ‘Welsh Wizard’ Ryan Jenkins, in what promised to be a mouthwatering contest. What followed was unthinkable. Golebowski pummeled the 51-time Grand Prix winner, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6, cruising to victory largely thanks to his cunning backhand that sent Jenkins the wrong way countless times.
His teammate Lewandowski was going about his business in a more subtle manner. After coming through his group unscathed, he advanced to the last four with victories over Martin Matuzevicius and Simon Noutch. His first test was against Scot Craig Howieson, who raced out of the traps to take a 1-0 lead. However, Lewandowski clawed his way back into contention with countless forehand loops, which eventually broke down Howieson’s walls.
Despite Golebowski putting on an entertaining affair, he couldn’t overcome the Lewandowski onslaught in the final, with his constant harassment through his forehand sucking the life out of his opponent, eventually prevailing 3-1.
Karina Le Fevre reigned supreme once again as she secured her third Grand Prix title of the season. Her stunning season continued in Blackpool as she defeated Angharad Phillips to capture the title, giving her a comfortable gap at the top of the Grand Prix standings in the process.
Having come through her group in convincing fashion, Le Fevre advanced to the final with hard-fought victories over Megan Phillips and Abbie Milwain, the latter taking an end off the top seed before Le Fevre’s consistency eventually saw her prevail.
As for Angharad, she also won her group, and went on to make the final with victories over Natalie Slater and then superbly overcoming second seed Emma Vickers. Angharad went toe to toe with Vickers and battled her way to a deserved victory with her dangerous hits causing Vickers problems throughout.
Keen to put the disappointment of her Band 1 final defeat behind her, Phillips battled valiantly to capture the title and tested Le Fevre all the way, but Le Fevre’s will to win and sound mental toughness saw her take a 2-0 lead before responding to Angharad’s capture of game three to seal it 3-1.
Craig Howieson and Chris Wheeler avenged an earlier defeat to secure the doubles title in the final competition of the weekend.
The Scottish duo defeated Chin Yin Yu and Bryan Kwan in the final, despite losing to the duo in the groups. Thankfully for Howieson and Wheeler, they recovered and defeated Karina Le Fevre and Matt Ware in the group stages, which condemned the second seeds to a shock exit early on.
Howieson and Wheeler defeated Martin Matuzevicius and Adam Fuzes to reach the final, whilst Yin Yu and Kwan clawed their way past top seeds Ryan Jenkins and Cherith Graham.
Despite the mental advantage of beating them previously, Yin Yu and Kwan were no match for their opponents in the final, who dismantled the pair with ease to claim the title.
Men’s Under 21 Singles
An impressive weekend for Callum Evans concluded with him winning the Under 21’s crown at the conclusion of the weekend.
Evans was rarely troubled on his way to victory, with his first real challenge coming in the shape of finalist and fifth seed Li Kam Wa, who took out a string of top players on his way to the final, including James Garrod, Ryan Fellows and Joe Pilkington.
As for Evans, who was seeded at one for the event, he battled past Joe Killoran and then Will Hornsey, who had picked up a brilliant victory over Michael Fraser to make the quarter-final. Evans brought an end to Harry Dai’s outstanding weekend in the semi-final as he raced to a 3-0 win. In the final, despite never opening a cushion, Evans battled his way to a 3-1 victory with a string of high-quality loops that ended another strong Grand Prix for the Welsh youngster.
Women’s Under 21 Singles
Abbie Milwain made light work of the competition as she secured het first Under 21s crown of the year.
Milwain dropped just one end on her way to the title, wrapping up the title with a straight ends win over third seed Isobel Ashley in the final.
Having never struggled in her group, up and coming Scot Rebecca Plaistow proved the most difficult for Milwain, with the youngster taking an end off Milwain before she ran out the eventual winner.
Her final against Ashley, who had defeated Kate Roberts to make the final, was far from one sided with Ashley the better player for spells, but ultimately Milwain’s ability to play the big points well saw her prevail in three tight ends.
Mixed Veteran Singles
Steve Green won his first Veteran’s title of the season after a convincing display saw him capture the crown.
The competition’s top seed lived up to his billing as he clinched victory over fourth seed John Magnall in the final.
A convincing 3-0 victory over Peter Aird was followed by a 3-1 victory over third seed Peter Wilkinson in the last four opened the door for Green to face Magnall in the final, who had previously dispatched of David Noutch and Tony Whelan to make the final.
But Magnall had no answers to Green, who capped off an impressive display with a solid performance against Magnall to capture the crown.
Tomasz Lewandoski (POL) bt Mateusz Golebiowski (POL) 3-1 (11-8, 5-11, 11-6, 14-12)
Karina Le Fevre (Cv) bt Angharad Phillips (WAL) 3-1 (11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5)
Craig Howieson (SCO) & Chris Wheeler (SCO) bt Chin Yin Yu & Bryan Kwan (Mi) 3-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-6)
Men’s Under 21’s Singles
Callum Evans (WAL) bt Li Kim Wa (Wa) 3-1 (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9)
Women’s Under 21’s Singles
Abbie Milwain (Dy) bt Isobel Ashley (Dy) 3-0 (11-9, 11-9, 11-7)
Mixed Veteran Singles
Steve Green (La) bt John Magnall (IMN) 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-7)
For an up to date list of Grand Prix points (including Blackpool) click here.
And don’t forget you can now enter the last of the 2014/15 Grand Prix series in London on 9th & 10th May. To enter, either online, or to download the paper entry form, click here.
To read the report from the Jersey Grand Prix, click here
April 12, 2015