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Big Names Take To Court At NZ Tennis Champs

Friday 20 December 2019, 10:10PM

By dave worsley

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The 2019 Wellington Open and NZ Tennis Championships start getting down to the business end of the tournament at the Renouf Centre as the top four seeds enter the draws.

Finn Tearney the double-defending champ is set to face Macsen Sisam, the big hitting Aucklander who is still a teenager and is on a scholarship at Vanderbilt University in the United States. It was Tearney who beat Sisam in the final of the same event two years ago and it will be a test of the younger player to see how much he has improved.

North Harbour third seed Alex Klintcharov plays Isaac Becroft, the Wellington player who is on a scholarship at Mississippi State. Becroft had earlier beaten George Stoupe from Lower Hutt in three sets. In-form KP Pannu is set to take on third seed and former Davis Cup team member Ollie Statham in his quarter-final while second seed Ajeet Rai (Taranaki) plays Canterbury’s Connor Heap who had a straight set victory over Hawkes Bays Rob Reynolds.

In the women’s quarter-finals singles matches there is a wide range of players from around the country.

Top seed Paige Hourigan aged 22 and  ranked 439 in the world in singles and 134 in doubles comes from Whanganui and will face Auckland’s Elyse Tse, the national 16’s champion in her match. 

Teenager, Jade Otway is from Marlborough and plays Louise Waite who is originally from Taranaki but is on a scholarship at Eastern Washington State University while Elys Ventura from North Harbour is up against Auckland’s  Vivian Yang.

In the bottom section of the draw second seed, Wellington’s Kelly Southwood plays Auckland’s Holly Stewart, a doubles winner at the NZ Champs last year.

In the men’s doubles semisfinals world No.43 Marcus Daniell and Stoupe play Teanery and Becroft while Matt Alexander and Reece Falck play Pannu and Rai in the other semi.

Play starts early on Saturday at 9.30am with two round of singles and the big prize of a share of $12,000, plus wildcards into pro ITF tournaments in the new year.