DEBUT DELIGHT: Queenslanders ace annual tournament
TENNIS: With his rocket left-arm serve, Grafton tennis professional Jacob Sullivan came within an inch of adding his name to the North Coast Tennis Championships honours board yesterday.
But it was not to be as Queensland's Gavin van Peperzeel (Australian No. 33) had the right antidote to Sullivan's power with his impressive court coverage.
Van Peperzeel was forced to work hard for every point as he took the Silver AMT event final 6-3, 6-1 in front of a healthy crowd at the Grafton City Tennis Centre.
It was the fifth tournament win in a row for the Bribie Island native who was impressed with the level of facilities provided by the Grafton club.
"I remember driving in and I was almost certain I have never been here before. It has been a great tournament,” he said.
"The courts are good, and the town is great, it is just a great opportunity to get out into the regional centres.”
It was a fitting final between the pair as they had played the weekend as doubles partners, even earning their way through to the doubles final.
"It was kind of funny that we had to be enemies on the court in the singles, and then best mates in the doubles later in the day,” van Peperzeel said.
"When you cross that baseline it is just a different story, but I think it helps that there is definitely mutual respect between the two of us.”
Van Peperzeel was definitely happy to be on the same side of the net as Sullivan's sonic boom serve, with the winner finding it tough to contain at times.
"Luckily my returns are a strength of mine along with my court movement so I was able to sort of neutralise it as the match wore on,” he said.
"I just tried to focus on my own game out on court. If you're looking down the other end of the court and worrying about what's going on down there, you're in trouble.”
A self-confessed perfectionist, Van Peperzeel was at times frustrated by his own game during the final and he was not afraid to fire himself up.
"I am really passionate and really competitive, and I guess I have some high expectations of myself, and I don't mind giving myself a bit of chat if I miss those expectations,” he said.
"That comes with the territory, at the end of the day this is my job and I need to succeed.”
The Queenslander pocketed a handy $1000 thanks to his victory and will now turn his attention to the $10,000 Platinum AMT Shaw Park Open in Brisbane on June 25-29.
Queensland teen takes all before her at Grafton
SHE might only be 17, but no one could doubt the size of the heart of Queensland tennis player Tiana Windbuchler after she took all before her at the 91st annual North Coast Tennis Championships.
Windbuchler came into the tournament as the top-seeded player, and it did not take her long to prove why, blasting through the opening rounds in straight sets.
After a dominant tournament it was down to Windbuchler and North Coast junior Ashley Allman in the final.
Despite dropping a service game in the second set, the Queenslander fought hard to notch a 6-3, 6-3 win to take home $1000 in prize money.
"This was my first time to Grafton and I was very impressed,” she said. "The courts are fantastic and the tournament was very well run.”
Windbuchler said the fact she didn't know most of her opponents was one of the keys to her on-court success.
"It just means that you don't get too caught up in your opponent and their weaknesses,” she said. "Instead I just got to play tennis, which was great.”