The Massachusetts Racket Masters Challenger draw has been made with Canadian stars Patrick Laplante and Jeremy Easterbrook drawn in different groups.
The tournament is returning to the FIR World Tour for a third straight year, boasting a record 29 participants this year.
Katrin Maldre headlines the Women’s A category while +55 World Champion Martyn Langston is also competing in Northampton.
Jeremy Easterbrook and Patrick Laplante the men to beat
Former U21 World Champion and top seed Patrick Laplante is in Group A while Jeremy Easterbrook lands in Group B.
Laplante is joined in Group A by Hong Kong’s Kevin Ho-Ching Ng and America’s Patrick Moran. The two are vastly inexperienced compared to Laplante but will be more than up for the challenge. Ho-Ching Ng is taking part in just his third tournament, all having taken place this year. Moran meanwhile, is taking part in his fourth tournament and third Massachusetts Racket Masters.
While none of the trio have played each other in singles, Moran did face Laplante in doubles a couple of years ago. The Canadian top seed won that match comfortably and is the favourite to advance from this group.
In Group B, Easterbrook has landed himself alongside two American’s making their FIR World Tour debut; Bryan Song and Allen Fitzsimmons.
While Song is new to the World Tour, he has serious racketlon pedigree already. Last year at a national tournament in Granby, Song actually shocked Easterbrook to knock him out, before losing to Laplante in the final.
Fitzsimmons has also played on the national racketlon scene in Canada but makes his debut on the World stage.
It is by no means a certainty, but if Laplante and Easterbrook live up to their seeding then they will play their fifth World Tour match against each other. Laplante leads the head-to-head 4-0 but has needed to play tennis every time.
Women’s A headlined by US No.1 Katrin Maldre
Katrin Maldre, the highest-ranked American in the Men’s or Women’s rankings, is the top seed in the Women’s A.
She’s joined in a four-women box league by Canada’s Line Bellerose and American pair Dominique Canale and Shona Kerr.
Bellerose and Maldre have met twice before, with the pair both winning one match each. Maldre has also played Kerr before, defeating her in a topsy-turvy match two years ago at this very tournament.
Throw tennis specialist Dominique Canale into the mix and you have an extremely interesting Women’s A grade. While Maldre is the top seed, she is by no means the clear favourite. At this stage, this really is anyone’s title.
Who else is in Northampton?
While the majority of players competing at the Massachusetts Racket Masters are American or Canadia, there are a handful of players travelling from elsewhere.
Alongside Kevin Ho-Ching Ng from Hong Kong, Russia’s Mark Tulchinskiy is competing as well as +55 World Champion Martyn Langston. The Brit is currently riding a 10-match unbeaten streak and will be hoping to extend that in America.
You can follow the results from the Massachusetts Racket Masters here.
The full 2019 FIR World Tour calendar is available here with all events open to players of all ages and abilities.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Andy Stenson