Teen girl rules the court to win final
HER visit may have been in doubt but nothing was going to stop budding tennis ace Taylah Beckman finally enjoying a successful trip to the seaside.
The 16-year-old recovered from a mid-match blip to overcome Alicia Smith and take out this year's women's singles at the Ballina New Year competition.
It was only the Grafton teen's second tournament back after sustaining a torn cartilage in her left wrist before Christmas.
Although she is still shaking the rust from her game after the injury, Beckman was still good enough to claim a hard-fought 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in Sunday's final.
"At first they weren't sure if it could be six weeks or six months," she said. "When they said it could be six months I was like, 'No way.'
"Luckily it seemed to get better.
"I have always come to this tournament, but usually I only get through a round or two if I'm lucky.
"I haven't won anything for a while, so it definitely means a lot to win this."
The right-hander, who went into the tournament ranked just outside the top 100 women in Australia, has a fine pedigree.
She comes from the renowned Beckman tennis clan and has enjoyed notable success as a junior, claiming national doubles titles and other singles events.
Having spent a few weeks playing in America last year, the talented teen is hoping one day to earn a place on the tough US college circuit after completing her schooling.
"I'm doing Year 12 this year, but I love tennis and want to keep it going," she said.
Scores of competitors from across NSW and interstate once again enjoyed the annual four-day tournament, which wrapped up on Sunday.
Singles and doubles action in various grades took place.