26 Dec 2010

2010 REAL SPORTS Taranaki Tennis Open preview

Dec 27-Dec 30 2010 For publication Monday Dec 27th

Over 100 entries have been received for the "Real Sports" Taranaki Tennis Open to be held in Hawera this week.  Good numbers have been received for the age group events which range from 18 year olds down to 10 year olds but the biggest entries have been in the Men's Open Singles and Men's B Singles where there are 25 and 26 entries respectively. 

The top seed in the Menís Open Singles is 2008 finalist, Jaden Grinter (17) from Hamilton.  Grinter is ranked at 171 in the world for ITF Juniors (No.2 in NZ) and has had an interesting year travelling the globe playing in junior tournaments.  This will be Grinter's second appearance at the Taranaki Open, having reached the Final in 2008 as a 15 year old, succumbing to the championship winner, Frayne Bloor.

Second seed in the men's draw is tall left-hander Jono Hurley (Wairarapa), who will enjoy the serve and volley nature of the natural grass courts.  Third seed is Uzbekistan  visitor, Aleksey Namozov, who is studying in Palmerston North, whilst the perennial visitor and 2-time singles champion, Kurt McNamara, is the tournament 4th seed.

Taranaki's top two men in the tournament are Jordan Fleming (No.5 seed) and Jono Ussher (No.7 seed).

In the Men's Open Doubles, Hurley and McNamara combine to be the top seeds, with Grinter/Fleming, Namozov/Scott Sutherland (Manawatu) and Wellingtonian twins Luke and Sam Piercey completing the seedings.

A smaller field contests the Ladies Open Singles with the top seed being teenager Saravinder Pannu (Wellington).  She will have strong opposition to taking the title from a Taranaki quartet of Davina Mills, Alice Caskey, Rebecca Atkins and Esther Timu.

The Open Combines is an event that can throw up surprise winners and this year look to be no different.  Two veterans team up to be the top seeds in this event. Peter Lehrke (Akld but formerly Taranaki) won his first Taranaki Open title in 1974 as a 14 year old and added an Open Combines title in 2004 at his last appearance.  He teams up with Manaia's Davina Mills, who plays for fun these days but will be very competitive.  The biggest threat to them will be from the Pannu family; mum Jane, and son Kiranpal team up whilst daughter Saravinder joins forces with Sam Piercey.

In age group play, the star attractions will be NZ No.1 ranked 12u boy, Ajeet Rai (Huatoki); NZ No.7 ranked 14u boy Kiranpal Pannu; and Olly Sadler (NZ No.6 16u) who is playing in the Open section.

The two biggest attractions of the Taranaki Open Tournament are the natural grass surface which is a rarity in today's tennis and the fact that adults and juniors can play in all events together, other than the junior events.

Play begins daily from 10am on the natural grass courts at the Hawera Lawn Tennis & Squash Club facilities on Albion St, Hawera.  Age Groups (10 to 18 years) begin on Monday 27th; adult grades begin later on the 28th and the tournament runs through to Thursday 30th.



Open Mens Singles: 1-Jaden Grinter (Waik)), 2-Jono Hurley (Wair), 3-Aleksey Zamonov (Uzbekistan), 4-Kurt McNamara (Man), 5-Jordan Flemin (Tar), 6-Scott Sutherland (Man), 7-Olly Sadler (Well), 8-Jono Ussher (Man)

Open Menís Doubles: 1-Hurley/McNamara, 2-Grinter/Fleming

Open Ladies Singles: 1-Saravinder Pannu (Well), 2-Davina Mills (Tar)

18 Boys: 1-Jaden Grinter (Waik), 2- Jordan Fleming (Taranaki)

16 Boys:  1- Tom Sizeland (Waik), 2- Luke Piercey (Well), 3-Callum Old (Taranaki), 4-James Southon (HB)

16 Girls: 1-Alice Caskey (Tar), 2-Rebecca Atkins (Tar)

14 Boys: 1- Kiranpal Pannu (Well), 2-Theo Piercey (Well

14 Girls: 1-Sophie Robertson (Tar), 2-Grace Bayley (Man)

12 Boys: 1- Ajeet Rai (Taranaki), 2-Calvin Harrison (Well)

12 Girls: 1-Hikaru Han (Taranaki), 2-Eva Bayley (Man)

Tournament Controller: Andrew Baylis, Cell: 027 4965 672