Mark Draper, of the Gold Coast, powers his way to win the men’s singles final yesterday at the Ballina New Year Open.
Mark Draper, of the Gold Coast, powers his way to win the men’s singles final yesterday at the Ballina New Year Open. DAVID NIELSEN

Draper breezes through

FORMER ATP Tour player and top seed Mark Draper took out the Ballina New Year Tennis Open men’s singles final with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over No 2 seed Scott Puodziunas of Brisbane.

Draper was never challenged on his way to the final and cruised through the tournament without dropping a set.

In front of a large crowd of spectators yesterday, Draper demonstrated that he was in a class of his own in this company.

Mullumbimby player Steven Gort fought valiantly against Draper in his semi-final but was dealt with in similar fashion toall the other contenders and lost 6-1 6-1.

Puodziunas gained some consolation by partnering Josh Barranechea to take out the open men’s doubles.

They met little opposition from Sydney father-and-son combination Neil and Jordan Smith to clinch the final 6-3 6-1.

At just 13, Jordan Smith’s effort indicates he is a name to remember – his results in this tournament show that he certainly has a bright future.

The open women’s singles also went as expected with No 1 seed Alexandra Nancarrow, from the ACT, having a solid 6-4 6-4 victory over Sydney’s Natalie Markovic.

The feature of the match were the long exchanges of shots, with perseverance a key factor.

Chloe Costello of Gosford combined with her coach Janine Tremelling to win the open women’s doubles final 7-5 6-0 over Brittany Huxley of Maclean and Ella Merritt of Terrigal.

Local victories were hard to come by, however Ballina’s Nathan Whitty and his Gold Coast partner Glenn Philp took out the special men’s doubles final 6-3 6-2 over Andrew Donaldson and Josh Banks.

Organiser John Whitty said the tournament was a raging success with a record number of entries and quality tennis throughout.

“We hope to gain improved status of this tournament next year and a higher prize pool is sure to attract the attention of more players,” he said.



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