IC USA claims Potter Cup title
The 44th edition of the Potter Cup took place last weekend, and saw the team from the United States emerge triumphant, claiming its seventh title in the prestigious senior tennis event.
Seven nations took part in this latest edition; IC Ireland, IC Belgium, IC Italy, IC Great Britain, IC Spain, IC USA and IC France. The early rounds saw some fairly straightforward results, with the teams from USA, Spain, Italy and Great Britain qualifying for the semi-finals.
In the top half of the draw, IC Italy overcame the team from the host nation with what seemed a decisive 4-1 victory in matches, though four of the five encounters were extremely closely contested. Indeed, the only point won by the Spanish team came when Italian former world #220 Antonio Padovani was forced to abandon his match against David de Miguel. In one of the matches of the tournament, Giovanni Lelli Mami fought back to beat RC Polo player Carlos Costa Bou in the tight third set, having saved seven match points. Andrea Spizzica also scored an unlikely victory for the visitors, recovering from a 2-5 deficit in the third set before winning in a tie break. Meanwhile, Pietro Pennisi beat the Spanish #1, Alex López Morón in another close match.
The other semi-final between USA and Great Britain was equally well disputed, with the highlight being former Roland Garros finalist Mikael Pernfors’ victory over British #1 Seb Jackson. Pernfors needed three sets to secure the win, eventually triumphing 7-5 in the third. Like the Spanish team, for all their fighting spirit, the Brits eventually managed only one win over their victors, as Ben Kneapp beat USA’s Jeff Cohen.
The final match saw the team from USA score a memorable victory over two-time defending champions Italy, coming from behind to clinch a victory with doubles wins. The singles matches saw Mikael Pernfors squeak to a 7-6 7-5 win over former world #150 Pietro Pennissi. Cark Clark was pushed to three sets by Giovanni Lelli Mami but at this stage the Americans still trailed 2-3. Their doubles prowess was enough to tilt the scoreboard decisively in their favour, and ensure that they would lift the trophy for the first time since 2004.
A women’s exhibition event was held alongside the men’s competition for the first time. The event took the form of an Over 40 tie between teams from IC Italy and IC Spain, with the host team – captained by Eva Bes and made up of players from the RC Polo in Barcelona – eventually claiming victory.
As is tradition, the Potter Cup players also took the opportunity to take part in an on-court clinic with players from the Acell Federation, which provides opportunities for players with learning disabilities. The group receives support throughout the year from the philanthropic wing of the IC Council, and is just one of the many programs around the world, from Leon in Mexico to Addis Ababa in Ethioia, that receives such assistance.