2012 Australian Claycourt Championships
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Australian Clay Court Championships were held in Melbourne over the Labour Day weekend. Previously held in June, the Championships were brought forward so that the results could be taken into account for the selection of Australian teams.
The state of Victoria was pleased to welcome competitors from Thailand, New Zealand, Great Britain, India and Germany and of course the majority of players were from around Australia. Fine weather throughout the weekend meant there were no rain delays. The drying conditions of the courts made for slippery footwork, particularly for the visitors who are not used to the 'en tout cas' surface.
In the men's 35 singles some new faces were welcomed. Number two seed Allen Belobrajdic was to create an upset beating top Alf Sammassimo in the final 63 63. Allen in his younger days was a touring professional and achieved a world ranking of 146. Hopefully we will see more of him in senior tournaments.
In the men’s 40, Martin Richards defeated Paul Kleverlaan, who had recently returned from the Seniors World Championships in San Diego.
In the men's 45 singles, Glen Busby was playing down two age groups but won a hard-fought final 26 75 60 against Steve Casey. This shows how good Glen is and why he received TA's Newcombe Award for Most Outstanding 35+ Senior in 2011.
The men’s 55 event saw German Wolfgang Haag lose to Australia’s Wayne Cowley. This was particularly pleasing for Wayne after recovering from a recent stroke, he is clearly back to full fitness.
Ever-green Andrew Rae was too strong for Max Bates in the 60 age group.
In the Super Seniors an unexpected result was the defeat of Peter Keller by Wayne Hassett in the 65 event. Peter got off to a great start taking the first set with no loss of games, but Wayne was to prove too good in the end taking the title after winning the next two sets 64 61.
Bob Howes is also getting back to his best form after defeating Dennis Bindon 62 64 in the mens’s 7s. Peter Froelich took the title of the men's 75 event after defeating Ian King.
The final age category of the event say Bert Barwick take the men's 80 title against Max Byrnes – a great effort by both as they have overcome various health and fitness issues in the recent past.
On to the ladies singles, which saw Judy Hancy demonstrate her superb fitness in overcoming all those in her path. She beat Margaret Wayte in the women’s 70 final. After a grueling first set, Judy pressed on to win 76 60. It was good to see Margaret has returned to playing singles after an absence of five years.
Kati Patterson was successful in the round robin women’s 65 singles. In the final she defeated Margaret Harris comfortably. Margaret is on the comeback trail after a gap of many years since her last appearance in the seniors event.
Other winners included:
Kerry Ballard, who only lost one game in the 4 matches she played over the weekend! A great effort.
Brenda Foster defeated Wanda Howes in the women's 50;
Loretta Sheales was successful against Maree Coulson in the women's 45;
Narelle Folllington won the 40s and Kelly Bisinella defeated Karen Kleverlaan in the women's 35.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who helped to make the Championships a success.