A TRIP home for the Christmas holidays has seen Newcastle tennis product Jack Maddocks arrive at the Ballina New Year Open this week.
Maddocks, 21, is three years into a scholarship playing college tennis at North Carolina in the United States.
He is the number four seed and had a 6-3 6-3 win over Stephen Stoddart in the third round yesterday.
He finished the day with a 6-1 -6-2 win against Alexander Pavkovich in the quarter-finals.
"I'm feeling pretty good out there and I have played here plenty of times in the past,” Maddocks said.
"There is about four people from my school playing in this tournament now so it's good to see them once a year.
"I come home for a month each year but I've made friends over there and always enjoy heading back.
"The season starts over there as soon as I get back so I try to play as much as I can now to be ready for that.”
Maddocks is also playing doubles with Oliver Casey who is the number one seed in the open men's singles.
He is unsure what will happen at the end of his time in the US but he will walk out with a psychology degree.
Maddocks showed plenty of maturity and mental toughness on the court yesterday to get past his younger opponent (Stoddart).
"It was a big move (overseas) at the time but there are three other Aussies playing tennis at the school and we kind of stick together,” Maddocks said.
"A lot can happen in a year so we'll see what happens at the end of it.”
In other matches yesterday, Casey proved far too strong for the unseeded Lazar Gagic with a 6-1 6-0 win in the third round.
He also beat veteran Chris O'Mara 6-1 6-2 in the quarter-finals.
Suffolk Park player and No 2 seed Louis Clark advanced to the semi-finals after a 6-3 6-3 win over Mullumbimby's Stephen Gort.
Elsewhere, Ella Husrefovic and Komaki Ido were the first players to reach the semi-finals of the open women's singles.
Top seed Megan Smith was pushed to the limit against Isabella Bozicevic before winning her quarter-finals 3-6 6-4 6-2.