2020 Men’s Grand Prix Darien Invitational Preview

October 14, 2020
Darien, CT

After a long, Covid-plagued off-season, the men’s APTA tour returns with a bang, as eight of the top ten players are entered at the season’s first Grand Prix tournament in Darien, CT. In fact, the six players on the top three seeded teams are the winners of 12 APTA National titles between them—Johan du Randt and Mark Parsons with four each and the rest with one each—promising the highest-level competition on Saturday in this 16-team draw.

The top seeds, du Randt and Stephen Mitchell, won the 2019 National Championships, also played in Darien. Du Randt won his first National title ten years ago (with Jerry Albrikes) and has been at the top of the game ever since. Mitchell has worked hard in the last few years to become a top player and National Champion, making this the team to beat in Darien.

John Hughes and Marc Powers, the second seeds, won Nationals in 2018 and dominated the game that entire season. They had good results last season, winning the Boston Open and reaching the Nationals semifinals. They have struggled with a few injuries over the past few years, but as long as they remain healthy, they are very likely to be playing in Saturday’s latter stages.

Seeded third are the 2019 National Champions, Juan Arraya and Mark Parsons. This team won the Philly Grand Prix last season, but otherwise failed to find their familiar spot in major finals. Look for them to come back stronger in Darien.

Sven Burus and Mikk Irdoja, the fourth seeds, had an incredible 2019-2020 season, toppling a slew of higher-ranked teams en route to final round finishes at both Chicago Charities and The Midwesterns. This dynamic duo is always a threat to go deep in the draw of a major tournament.

If the seedings hold, Hughes/Powers will face Arraya/Parsons in the semis in one half of the draw in a rematch of the epic 2019 National final, and du Randt/Mitchell will take on Burus/Irdoja. As exciting as those matches sound, there are 12 other highly ranked teams in the draw that have the potential to knock out any of these seeded teams along the way.

You can watch the matches from Darien all day Saturday on the APTA YouTube channel.


Marc Powers


Sven Burus and Mikk Irdoja

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