Draper is too wily for partner
By Adam Hicks
LISMORE'S Brendan Moore was out-foxed by his wily hitting partner Mark Draper 6-2 6-4 in the Ballina New Year's Tennis Open men's final yesterday.
The pair practice together regularly at Queens Park on the Gold Coast and have met four times in competition prior to yesterday's final.
Moore, 21, usually pushes Draper to three sets, but Draper, 37, had won all their encounters.
They both know the other's game well.
"You have got to attack him," Moore said.
"He's just too crafty and controls the point too well."
Draper got out to a strong start winning the first set 6-2 as Moore struggled to find his mark.
"I served well and intentionally played a more aggressive game than normal," he said.
"I wanted to step it up and hurt him early in the points.
"On a synthetic surface, if you can get them moving early you dictate and it's harder for them to stay in the point.
"He didn't get a lot of his first serves in which didn't help him."
But Moore came out firing in the second set.
"He found his range and was getting his teeth in so I wanted to put it away early," Draper said.
The second set went with serve until Draper broke the local hope to clench the final 6-4.
"Momentum in tennis can shift quickly ... I had to play a good game," he said.
"I chose that game to play aggressively and I stepped up and played a few big points.
"It's not my game but I took a chance and it payed off."
Draper said he couldn't allow the match to go to three sets.
"He is a heavy hitter, puts more spin on the ball," Draper said.
"I like it coming onto my racket flat and fast and that's why he has bothered me a bit in the past.
"That was one of the easier matches we've had.
"He has a good gameplan.
"He targets my forehand which is a part of my game that can go missing serves and volleys and I never feel at ease."
Moore said Draper was a deserved winner who went through without dropping a set.
"He's very good. He could easily be on the tour," he said.
"He'd be ranked in the top 150."
The Open is likely to be Moore's last local tournament before he joins the Australian leg of the ATP tour and leaves for Europe later in the year.