2023 Potter Cup and Two Presidents Cup
The USIC team had a fantastic week facing high level competition at the 50th Anniversary Potter Cup in Barcelona, Spain. On the red clay at the Real Club de Polo, day one saw the Americans compete hard in all five singles against Italy in the marquis match on the beautiful center courts. Unfortunately, the Italian's clay court prowess was too strong as the USIC team lost 5-0 despite several close sets. The Italians agreed to an exhibition doubles match on the center court where John Fritts and Dani Homedes nearly secured a win against a team of incredibly talented lefties. However, just as in year's past the US team bounced back strongly against Belgium on day 2 with new USIC member Paulo Barros winning a deciding superbreaker at #1 after losing the first set to a very strong Belgian #1. Potter Cup veteran John Fritts staged a come from behind victory at #5 in the final superbreaker, winning a highly entertaining match played with a great competitive spirit. The Belgians graciously agreed to a doubles match even though the US had clinched the match 4-1, and Dani Homedes made his Potter Cup debut on center court at the Real Club, playing for the USIC for the first time on the same courts he grew up on.After defeating Belgium 4-1, on day 3 the Americans faced off against Great Britain who had nearly beaten #2 seed France on day 1. This was the strongest British team in several years and the US team was prepared for some stiff competition. Barcelona native and new USIC member Dani Homedes, brother of last year's captain Carlos Homedes, made his singles debut in front of many family members and Barcelona friends in a very tight match at #5. While Dani ultimately lost in a second set tiebreaker, his competitive fire helped spur on his other teammates leading to a 4-1 win. Udi Kish won at #4 singles bringing his career Potter Cup record to an impressive 6 wins and 2 losses, and Neil Bennett did the same with another strong performance winning in straight sets at #3 for his second victory of the week. This was a particularly satisfying win for Neil as he was born and raised in England before playing college tennis in the US. At line 2, another new USIC player Willie Dann secured a much needed point as he started to master the red clay and used a variety of lefty spins to confound his opponent. With the US leading 3-1, Captain Chris Groer won at #1 singles in a very close match against British stalwart Tom Wride, ultimately prevailing in a 3rd set superbreaker. Britain saved several match points in the second set tiebreaker which they won 11-9 and both teams cheered their players with enthusiasm during a final stretch that included some very long points and even 2 diving volleys. This win guaranteed a 4-1 win for the US over Great Britain and secured a 5th place finish for the US team.The Spanish IC put on a memorable event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Potter Cup with fantastic hospitality throughout the week, elegant dinners, and a memorable players party on the final night. On the final night, the USIC recognized two new honorary members, former Spanish Davis Cup player and Potter Cup Captain Lis Arilla as well as Toni Homedes, father of USIC members Carlos and Dani who is a member of the Polo Club and has been involved in organizing the Potter Cup for many years. The level of play at this year's event was higher than ever with dozens of former ATP players on the rosters including French Open champion Albert Costa and 45+ world #1 Roberto Menendez. The USIC team is grateful for the opportunity to play at such a historic club against such high quality opponents in matches that exhibit all the virtues of the IC.
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