09 Jan 2014

Miki, Park and Alcott win New Zealand titles

Match Report

Photo: Jeanna CourterJu-Yeon Park (KOR)

Ju-Yeon Park maintained her unbeaten record for 2014 to win the women’s singles at the Perry New Zealand Wheelchair Tennis Open on Thursday while Takuya Miki made it seven wins from eight matches this season so far as he won the men’s singles, with Australia’s Dylan Alcott easing to victory in his first ever quad singles draw.

With Albany Tennis Centre in Auckland hosting the ITF 3 Series tournament for the first time, New Zealand’s Mark Sullivan won the only three set match throughout the men’s singles, having earlier come through his qualifying round in straight sets. Sullivan came close to an early, but eventually overcame his compatriot Hadleigh Pierson 57 76(5) 63 to set up a quarterfinal against Miki.

However, the Japanese top seed proved far too strong for Sullivan, earning a 60 61 win before defeating Australian third seed Ben Weekes 61 63 in the semifinals after Weekes had claimed his first two matches without dropping a game.

The semifinalists in the bottom half of the men’s draw had a tougher time as South African second seed Evans Maripa battled past Korea Republic’s Ji-Hwan Lee 75 63, while the all Australian semifinal between fourth seed Keegan Oh-Chee and Henry de Cure ended in a tense 75 64 win for the seeded player. However the Australian challenge was to end in the last four, as Maripa eased past Oh-Chee 61 62.

Nevertheless, last weekend’s Queensland Open runner-up Miki was the dominant player in the final and claimed his first title of the year 62 62.

Maripa and Weekes justified top seeding in the men’s doubles as Weekes claimed his second doubles title in as many tournaments. Second seeds Miki and Lee kept the second set of the final on serve in the second set until Miki was broken at 5-4, Maripa and Weekes’s dominance at the net throughout the match eventually bringing a 61 64 victory.

Park maintains 2014 unbeaten record      

As in Brisbane, Queensland Open champion Park also had a first round bye in Auckland as Tiffiney Perry, carrying the hopes of the home supporters, earned a  36 63 61 win over American Elizabeth Williams. Meanwhile, having been drawn in separate halves of the draw in Queensland, Australian duo Janel Manns and Sarah Calati met for a place in the last four this time, with Manns 62 63.

The left-hander went on to provide Park with a considerable challenge, but the Korean kept her challenge alive with a 63 64 victory as Nijo also earned her place in the final with a comfortable 61 61 win over Perry.

Park went on to lead both sets of the final 5-2 but, having been taken to three sets by Japan’s Nijo in Brisbane, Park withstood another comeback from her opponent this time to close out a 62 64 victory and has now won all four of her matches to far this season.

Nijo also remain undefeated in two women’s doubles event this season and followed up their Queensland Open win with  a 61 61 win over Calati and Manns in their deciding round-robin match in Auckland.

After being awarded the wildcard for the Australian Open in two weeks’ time, Dylan Alcott completed his first quad singles event with three straight sets wins against his three opponents from New Zealand. Alcott will now join many of the players at the Sydney International Open, the first Super Series tournament of the year, after which the Melbourne-based player is likely to have his first world ranking ahead of competing in his home city.

The quad doubles decider turned out to be one of the matches of the tournament as Alcott and Chris Harvey edged out the all-New Zealand duo of James McLeod and Richard Page 61 36 (10-4).