30 Dec 2010

2010 REAL SPORTS Taranaki Tennis Open Review


Kurt McNamara (No.3 seed), still only 21, picked up his third Men's Open singles title at the REAL SPORTS Taranaki Tennis Open which concluded on Thursday evening, having previously won in 2004 and 2005.  McNamara makes a living as a Palmerston North-based tennis coach and he gave his touring party some excellent lessons on grass court play.

Due to a days play lost on Tuesday due to rain and high winds, the tournament was under pressure to be completed so the Men's Singles final was played with sets up to 4 with a super tiebreak if players were locked at 1 set all.

McNamara's opponent in the final was Wairarapa's Jono Hurley (No.2 seed); another player with a love of grass court tennis.  With both players drained from epic semi-final matches, it was going to come down in part to which player could draw on hidden mental and physical reserves.

Hurley started the stronger and the first set was his at 4-1 in very quick time.  McNamara's strong net play was being matched and bettered by Hurley.  In the break between sets, McNamara must have realised that he needed to lift, and quickly.  Slowly and inexorably, McNamara was able to put some pressure on Hurley and keep him away from the net with deft touches into the far corners of the court and powerful passing shots when Hurley approached the net.  McNamara took the second set 4-1.

The super-tiebreak is the first player to 10 points with a 2 point advantage.  Unfortunately for Hurley, he lost his way at the beginning of the tiebreak, and with McNamara's renewed confidence, McNamara was able to get an 8-3 lead.  In the next point, McNamara produced arguably the shot of the tournament.  Hurley had lobbed deep into the backhand court of McNamara and seemed to have a winner until McNamara slapped a vicious between-the-legs return, ala Roger Federer.  Hurley was waiting though and got to the ball to volley a winner.  McNamara was able to complete the tiebreak 10-5 and therefore take the match.

McNamara, (No.4 seed) had made his way to the final with a gritty win over No.1 seed Jaden Grinter, 6-2 7-6, whilst Hurley got to the final with a massive match against Uzbekistan's No. 3 seed, Aleksey Namozov, 6-4 4-6 7-5.

That win was McNamara's third Open singles title and he must now be eyeing up the current record of 5 wins jointly held by Frayne Bloor (1991-2009) and A.G. Wallace (1906-1922).  Bloor will be returning to Hawera in 2011 for another crack though.


McNamara made it 7 overall Taranaki titles, when he combined with Jono Hurley to take out the Open Men's Doubles title defeating Namozov and Scott Sutherland (Manawatu).


The Ladies Open Singles title went to the top seed, Saravinder Pannu (Well), who also benefited from several years of making the pilgrimage to Hawera, when she defeated Taranaki's Alice Caskey 6-1 6-4.  Saravinder Pannu then combined with her mother, Jane, to take out the Open Ladies doubles title, with Taranaki's Cindy Death and Davina Mills, runners-up.

Saravinder Pannu then completed a rare trifecta by winning the Open Combined Doubles title 2-6 6-3 10-6, thus denying Peter Lehrke (formerly Hawera but now residing in Auckland) a second combines title, with this years partner Davina Mills.

Pannu had a tremendous tournament as she also took out the 18 Girls Singles title.


Age Groups and supporting events winners:

18 Boys Singles: Jaden Grinter (Waik)

18 Boys Doubles: Jordan Fleming (Tar) / Jaden Grinter (Waik)

18 Girls Singles: Saravinder Pannu (Well)

16 Boys Singles: Luke Piercey & Sam Piercey (Well) share the title

16 Boys Doubles: Max Brewster (HB) / Callum Old (Tar)

16 Girls Singles: Alice Caskey (Tar)

16 Girls Doubles: Alice Caskey / Frances Gray (both Tar)

14 Boys Singles: Kiranpal Pannu (Well)

14 Boys Doubles: Kiranpal Pannu / Theo Piercey (Well)

14 Girls Singles: Sophie Robertson (Tar)

14 Girls Doubles: Hikaru Han / Natalie Mead (both Tar)

12 Boys Singles: Ajeet Rai (Tar)

12 Boys Doubles: Logan Amey & Keiren Rooney (Mwtu)

12 Girls Singles: Hikaru Han (Tar)

12 Girls Doubles: Hikaru Han & Tessa McCann (both Tar)

10 Boys Singles: Matthew Harrison (Well)

10 Boys Doubles: Blair Murray & James Weir (both Tar)

10 Girls Singles: Alexandra Spurdle (Tar)

B Mens Singles: Alistair Nairn (Tar)

B Mens Doubles: Alistair Nairn / Stuart Nairn (Tar)

B Womens Singles: Jane Pannu (Well)

B Womens Doubles: Cindy Death / Davina Mills (both Tar)

Social Mens Doubles: Ryan Stockman / Mark Laurence (both Tar)

Social Combined Doubles: Ajeet Rai / Sophie Robertson (both Tar)