He may be ranked No44 in the world in doubles, but Kiwi tennis pro Michael Venus still packs a punch in singles as he won the New Zealand Tennis Champs title for the second consecutive year and earned a singles main draw wildcard into next month’s ASB Classic.
Venus beat fellow Davis Cup player and No43 in the world in doubles Artem Sitak 6-1 6-4 in an hour of hard-hitting tennis to win the national title and the converted wildcard. In January 2015 Venus used the wildcard to great effect by winning his first round singles at the then Heineken Open before falling in the second round and setting up a top year, albeit mainly in doubles.
In the final against Sitak he proved too powerful as his opponent chipped and charged to the net and Venus blasted some powerful passing shots. “It feels good. I’m just excited to have the wildcard for the ASB Classic. It’s an honour to win the tournament and to be on the trophy with some great names on it and to know I’ve earned the wildcard. I won the first set pretty comfortable and managed to stay focused in the second set,” said Venus.
The women’s final had one of the youngest winners for nearly a decade as 17-year-old Rosie Cheng who has just finished high school at Westlake Girls in Auckland beat top seed Sacha Jones 7-5 6-0.
Cheng earned herself a singles qualifying wildcard with her fitness showing through and also some strong focus during the first set where four-time winner Jones put her under pressure. She showed a mature attitude and a full range of powerful shots as well.
“It kinda makes me feel like all of the hard work has been worth it and I’m finally winning stuff,” said Cheng who is likely to go to the United States on a scholarship to a University in 2016. “It was a really tough first set, she pushed me really hard. I think there were some turning points, but I got all the important points that counted.”
Cheng also won the women’s doubles title while teaming up with Jones to beat Leela Beattie and Jo Carswell 6-2 6-2. The victory gives Cheng and Jones a main doubles draw wildcard into the ASB Classic.
Women’s singles final:
(3) Rosie Cheng (North Harbour) bt (1) Sacha Jones (Auckland) 7-5 6-0,
Men’s singles final:
(3) Michael Venus (North Harbour) bt (4) Artem Sitak (Auckland) 6-1 6-4.
Women’s doubles final:
Jones/Cheng bt Leela Beattie(Auckland)/Jo Carswell(Auckland) 6-2 6-2.