The North Otago Open proved a resounding success over the weekend with Madison Aubrey winning the Men’s Singles title over Robin Jamieson and Rebecca Dellaway taking the Women’s Singles crown against Rileigh Fields.
Twenty one players competed in round one of the Men’s Singles section which saw Josh Eckhold down Peter Dick 6-3, 6-2.
Eckhold played a smart game to see off the much more experienced Dick and pave his way through to the next round.
Ben Carter won his opening match by default as David Miller retired through injury while Nathan Caldwell proved too much for William Sunderland for a 6-2, 7-5 Victory.
Sunderland fought well but Caldwell’s speed across the court proved the difference between the two.
Matt Howard toppled Russell Hancox 6-3, 6-2 in his round one tie. Howard dictated play and deserved the victory despite a plucky effort from Hancox.
The second round saw the seeded players play their first matches of the open.
Number one seed Vernon Aubrey soundly beat Josh Eckhold 6-1, 6-0, while Shane Keenan saw off Josh Dalziel 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in a tightly contested battle with Keenan’s serve eventually seeing him through.
Cantabrian Fourth Seed Madison Aubrey proved a step too far for local player Ben Carter in a 6-2, 6-1 victory while fellow Cantabrian Nic Jenkins (5) made light work Russell Drew (6-0, 6-0), the 16- year-old relished the soft surface following a recent leg injury.
Local player Robin Jamieson got off to an impressive start in his quest for a North Otago Open title on the eleventh time of trying with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Aaron Reid.
Jamieson showed why he remains North Otago’s number one with a solid performance.
Nathan Caldwell progressed after Ryan Eggers was taken ill and unable to continue while Glen Claridge downed eighth seed George Alexander 6-3, 6-0.
The match was a close encounter before Claridge broke Alexander’s serve and will for a hard fought win.
Dunedin’s Paddy Ou (2) saw off local player Matt Howard 7-5, 6-0 to book his place in the quarter finals. Ou took time to find his rhythm as Howard produced a valiant display to push the Dunedin youngster to the end.
In the quarter finals Vernon Aubrey defeated Shane Keenan 7-5, 6-1.
The two Cantabs were hard to separate in the first set, but Keenan showed some fatigue in the second from the three sets played in his previous match with Dalziel for Aubrey senior to secure a semi final spot.
Madison Aubrey then joined his father in the last four with a 7-6,6-2 win over Nic Jenkins. Aubrey, who played the quarter final tie with a borrowed racket, won the first set in a tie break before making short work of his fellow Canterbury team mate in the second when his racket had been restrung and returned.
Jamieson then convincingly saw off Nathan Caldwell 6-0, 6-3 before Paddy Ou and Glen Claridge produced the highlight match of the quarter finals. Ou, who had played at the Wanaka Open a week earlier, was pushed hard.Claridge looked to be fighting his was back in the match only for Ou to up the intensity for a well deserved 6-3,6-1 win.
The semi finals featured a father-son clash with youth getting the better of experience as Madison beat Vernon 7-5, 6-3. Madison junior’s big forehand proved too fiery for his father to handle at times.
Jamieson then knocked out Paddy Ou 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Ou looked comfortable after taking the first set before Jamieson’s big forehand and knife-like- slice- backhand earned him a spot in the final.
Despite the impressive semi final display, Madison Aubrey took the spoils in the final with a 6-4, 7-5 victory Jamieson in a contest that produced some enthralling tennis.
Aubrey handled all the Jamieson sent his way in the first set, provoking the Oamaruvian to up his game in the second.
Jamieson’s forehand power was relentless, forcing Aubrey to play defensively in the majority of rallies as the youngster hung on.
Aubrey began to fire back and take control of the tie before unloading some exceptional shots.
Jamieson denied Madison several match points before relinquishing his chance of lifting the coveted prize.
Only four women contested the Women’s Singles section with North Otago’s Rebecca Dellaway taking the title, dropping just seven games throughout her three matches.
Dellaway’s left hand serve was troubling for all she played and found her forehand range to keep her opponents on the back foot.
Dellaway downed Eliza Booth 6-1,6-0 in her opening match before beating Nicky Wallace 6-0,6-3. Dellaway then won the final 6-2,6-0 over Rileigh Fields.
Defending champion Wallace could only muster third with a playoff win over Booth.
The Men’s Doubles were won by Vernon and Aubrey Madison in a hard fought final over local duo Robin Jamieson and Josh Dalziel.
The Madisons won the first set but Jamieson and Dalziel took the second before the father and son team took a 6-10 super-tie break victory.
The Women’s Doubles were won by undefeated mother and daughter team Judith and Nicky Wallace.
Judith’s serve and slice backhand proved difficult to handle while Nicky’s fierce forehand also caused opponents problems.
North Otago Tennis Association president Kevin Dellaway said he was pleased with the event and the level of effort and commitment displayed.
“I think it went fantastically well, the feedback from the players was that it was really well organised and that they enjoyed playing on the grass,” he said.
“The level of play in the semi finals and finals was outstanding, the players weren’t as highly ranked as we’ve had previously but they certainly rose to the occasion.”
By James Ford
PHOTO: JAMES FORD – North Otago’s Rebecca Dellaway downed Otago’s Rileigh Fields 6-2, 6-0 to win the Women’s Singles title.