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Open doubles turns into battle of survival.

Losing in the quarterfinals of the open singles may have been a blessing for Victor LoPierre. Meanwhile, partner Allan Sanchez chose doubles only.

The effect of the grueling singles final played in the intense heat was that open singles finalists Timothy Gonzalez and Tyree Bastidas and their partners went out of the doubles in semifinal tiebreakers.

In the doubles final, Sanchez/LoPierre rallied to score the final three points of a very long first game to edge Pee Wee Castro/Cesar Sala 21-20 before getting rolled 21-4 in Game 2.

They got off to a great start in the tiebreaker, leading 8-2, and then held on to win the championship 11-9.

LoPierre and Sanchez had last experienced a national title together 14 years ago when they were juniors. This was their first open doubles championship.

LoPierre has enjoyed a resurgence in his handball career the last few years, while Sanchez has become the pre-eminent one-wall doubles player in small ball or wallball.

The lefty-righty duo beat No. 2 seeds Gonzalez and Alvaro Rebaza 11-7 in what most considered an upset in a contentious semifinal match. The electric Castro and smooth-swinging Sala took out the tired defending champs, Tyree and Jurell Bastidas, in another semifinal tiebreaker.

First round: PeeWee Castro/Cesar Sala (N.Y.), def.; Allan Sanchez/Victor LoPierre (N.Y.) d. Steven Woo/Eric Lee (N.Y.) 15, 11.

Semis: Castro/Sala d. Tyree Bastidas/Jurell Bastidas (N.Y.) 13, (18), 5; Sanchez/LoPierre d. Timothy Gonzalez/Alvaro Rebaza (N.Y.) 13, (12), 7.

Final: Sanchez/LoPierre d. Castro/Sala 20, (4), 9.

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Date:Nov 1, 2019
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