30 December 2015

Taranaki's Ajeet Rai was able to create history and become the first player in the 114 year history of the Taranaki Tennis Open Men's Singles to win the title consecutively on three occasions.  16 year old Rai also defended his NZ Lawn Tennis Championship Men's Singles title at the Hawera Lawn Tennis Club.  The four top seeds all came through the draw to the semi-finals where the top seed Olly Sadler overcame No.4 seed Connor Williamson 7-5 6-3 whilst Rai (No.2 seed) looked ominous when he disposed of Michael McGlinchey (No.3) 6-1 6-2.  The final was played in sunny conditions with little or no wind, as had the entire four day tournament.  Sadler broke Rai in the very first game but Rai broke back to make the score 4-4.  Both players held twice more to force a tiebreak which Sadler comprehensively won 7-1.  Rai broke Sadler to go up 2-1 in the second set and afterwards held serve consistently to take the second set 6-4.  Rai then progressed into the third set in exactly the same way, breaking serve to lead 2-1 and then held to the end of the set.  Leading 5-4 Rai appeared to show no outward signs of nerves and was able to serve extremely well to give Sadler no chance to break back, eventually winning the last game to love, and the match 6-7(1) 6-4 6-4.  Commenting on his victory, Rai said "I was feeling the pressure of history and tradition leading up to the tournament but I love playing tennis in high pressure situations like this and I'm extremely proud to win what I consider to be my home tournament.  Olly is one of the top players in NZ and he's a great competitior. The grass courts were excellently prepared, the weather was awesome for tennis and the knowledgeable crowd were right behind me.  Thanks must go to Tournament Director Andrew Baylis for attracting the high class field and for running the tournament in great fashion."

Rai was then joined by older brother Amrit and they also came from behind to take out the Open Men's Doubles against Olly Sadler/Michael McGlinchey 4-6 7-5 10-6.  Sadler was finally able to gain some consolation when he partnered with Saravinder Pannu to win the Open Combined Doubles title overcoming Aneil Achari/Paige Hourigan 7-6(5) 6-1.  Ajeet Rai had a good tournament also adding the 16s and 18s singles and doubles titles.

The Ladies Open Singles final was fought out between two young ladies attending universities in the USA.  Paige Hourigan (Turakina and Georgia Tech) was too accomplished for Saravinder Pannu (Wellington and Columbus State), winning 6-3 6-0.  Both girls had previously won the Ladies title, Pannu in 2010 and Hourigan in 2008.  Hourigan also took out the Ladies Doubles title with Taranaki's Ellen O'Byrne.
The prizes for the NZ Lawn Tennis Championships were presented by the Right Honourable Maurice Williamson, MP.


Event                                                   Pos.     Name                                                                   Club

            Social Combines

                                              1          Kurt Mcnamara+Ella Rogers                                Feilding/Pukekura Park

                                              2          Vincent Baylis+Aroha Beattie                             Okaiawa

            Ladies Social Doubles

                                              1          Michelle Cornish+Cherol Filbee                          Hawera

                                              2          Roneta Harrison+Caroline Kuklinski                  Huatoki/Hawera

            Mens Social Singles

                                              1          Dave Bayley                                                         

                                              2          Paul Cornish                                                          Hawera

                                              C-1       Pete Mihaljevich                                                    Okaiawa

            Ladies B Doubles

                                              1          Nicole Brown+Emily Dine                                    Lower Hutt

                                              2          Maree Bennett+Caroline Kuklinski                     Hawera

            Mens B Doubles

                                              1          Kurt Mcnamara+Kristian Revfeim                       Feilding/Huatoki

                                              2          Andrew Baylis+Vincent Baylis                            Okaiawa

            Ladies B Singles

                                              1          Aroha Beattie                                                        Okaiawa

                                              2          Caroline Kuklinski                                                Hawera

                                              C-1       Carly Chang                                                          Manawatu

            Mens B Singles

                                              1          Justin Rowe                                                         

                                              2          Vincent Baylis                                                       Okaiawa

                                              C-1       Connor Backhouse                                               Feilding

            Mens Xtra Consolation Doubles

                                              1          Aneil Achari+Peter Lehrke                                   Howick

                                              2          Lewis Bazalo+Jakim Malan                                 Petone/Khandallah

            Open Combines

                                              1          Olly Sadler+Saravinder Pannu                             Miramar/Wellington

                                              2          Aneil Achari+Paige Hourigan                              Howick/Turakina

            Ladies Open Doubles

                                              1          Paige Hourigan+Ellen O'Byrne                            Turakina/Huatoki

                                              2          Amy Galloway+Emily Murchland                         Maungaraki/Karori United

            Mens Open Doubles

                                              1          Ajeet Rai+Amrit Rai                                              Huatoki

                                              2          Michael Mcglinchey+Olly Sadler                         Upper Hutt/Miramar

            Ladies Open Singles

                                              1          Paige Hourigan                                                     Turakina

                                              2          Saravinder Pannu                                                  Wellington

                                              C-1       Kate Bolton                                                           Island Bay

            Mens Open Singles

                                              1          Ajeet Rai                                                                Huatoki

                                              2          Olly Sadler                                                            Miramar

                                              C-1       Cam Wenham                                                        Whakatane

            Girls 18 Doubles

                                              1          Hikaru Han+Ellen O'Byrne                                   Huatoki

                                              2          Nikayla Barnard+Kate Bolton                             Pukekura Park/Island Bay

            Boys 18 Doubles

                                              1          Ajeet Rai+Connor Williamson                             Huatoki/Parnell

                                              2          Hamish Lee+Andrew Shand                                Greendale

            Girls 18 Singles

                                              1          Paige Hourigan                                                     Turakina

                                              2          Hikaru Han                                                            Huatoki

                                              C-1       Kate Bolton                                                           Island Bay

            Boys 18 Singles

                                              1          Ajeet Rai                                                                Huatoki

                                              2          Connor Williamson                                               Parnell



                                              Event  Pos.                                                                       Name            Club

                                              C-1       William Hewett                                                     Maungaraki

            Girls 16 Doubles

                                              1          Eva Bayley+Hikaru Han                                       Manawatu/Huatoki

                                              2          Andrea Dano+Rebekah Leung Wai                     Johnsonville/Manawatu

            Boys 16 Doubles

                                              1          Jayden Harrison+Ajeet Rai                                 Huatoki

                                              2          Milo Benn+Satchel Benn                                      Khandallah

            Girls 16 Singles

                                              1          Hikaru Han                                                            Huatoki

                                              2          Nikayla Barnard                                                    Pukekura Park

                                              C-1       Andrea Dano                                                         Johnsonville

            Boys 16 Singles

                                              1          Ajeet Rai                                                                Huatoki

                                              2          Milo Benn                                                              Khandallah

                                              C-1       Sam Bird                                                                Kohimarama

            Girls 14 Doubles

                                              1          Nicole Brown+Emily Dine                                    Lower Hutt

                                              2          Nikayla Barnard+Caitlin Haylock                        Pukekura Park

            Boys 14 Doubles

                                              1          David Barnard+Satchel Benn                              Pukekura Park/Khandallah

                                              2          Jayden Harrison+Kristian Revfeim                     Huatoki

            Girls 14 Singles

                                              1          Nikayla Barnard                                                    Pukekura Park

                                              2          Ella Rogers                                                           Pukekura Park

                                              C-1       Willoughby Benn                                                  Khandallah

            Boys 14 Singles

                                              1          Jayden Harrison                                                   Huatoki

                                              2          Satchel Benn                                                         Khandallah

                                              C-1       Shane Colton                                                        Martinborough

            Girls 12 Doubles

                                              1          Seraphine Benn+Alice Bolton                              Khandallah/Island Bay

                                              2          Ella Bayley+Isabelle Tong                                  Manawatu/Okaiawa

            Boys 12 Doubles

                                              1          Hugh Avery+Jordan Whittleston                        Huatoki/Pukekura Park

                                              2          Jack Brunel+Nathan Willoughby                         Khandallah

            Girls 12 Singles

                                              1          Elise Hendry                                                         Maungaraki

                                              2          Alice Bolton                                                          Island Bay

                                              C-1       Jorja Symes                                                          Okaiawa

            Boys 12 Singles

                                              1          Shane Colton                                                        Martinborough

                                              2          Jordan Whittleston                                              Pukekura Park

                                              C-1       Tom Watson                                                         Khandallah

            Boys 10 Doubles

                                              1          Sam Watson+Tom Watson                                  Khandallah

                                              2          Tomi Avery+Lachlan Tong                                   Huatoki/Okaiawa

            Girls 10 Singles

                                              1          Alice Bolton                                                          Island Bay

                                              2          Jorja Symes                                                          Okaiawa

            Boys 10 Singles

                                              1          Tom Watson                                                         Khandallah

                                              2          Tomi Avery                                                            Huatoki

                                              C-1       Jack Brunel                                                            Khandallah