Juniors impress against the best

THE Bathurst summer tournament attracted the best junior players from across Australia and international visitors as well, but by the time the last shot was played on December  23 the local contingent had more than impressed.

The Bathurst Tennis Centre hosted event was a Tennis Australia silver tournament - the third highest level of national event for juniors.

As it offered players the chance to improve their national rankings, the competition was hot across all age groups and attracted large fields.

“The event got 170 entries with players coming from as far as Japan - I got four players from Japan,” tournament organiser Andrew Mitton said.

“There were players from Victoria, Canberra and a Vietnamese boys as well. He is the number three ranked boy in Vietnam for his age and he was on holidays, so they flew him out here.”

But even with a host of inter-state visitors and international hopefuls, the players who lined up for their home tournament more than held their own.

Mitton went as far as saying that in most cases they exceeded expectations.

Orange’s Luke Petraglia, who trains in Bathurst, reached the semi-finals of the main draw in the under 16s boys division while Gaby Mitton advanced to the same stage in the under 16s girls main draw.

Petraglia, the number four seed, went down fighting in his epic two hour, eight minute semi-final clash with top seed Corey Gaal. He won the first set 6-3, but went down 6-2, 6-2 in those that followed.

Eglinton talent Grace Schumacher won both the main draw singles and doubles in her under 12s division.

The top seed for her age group in the singles, she defeated number four Meri Zafirova 6-1, 6-1 in the decider. 

The doubles saw Schumacher paired with Laura Kaplan and in the final they beat the pairing of Zafirova and Angelina Graovac in three sets 6-2, 2-6, 10-6.

Tayla Brasier took part in an under 10s competition and while it had no impact on national ranks, Andrew Mitton was delighted to see her emerge victorious.

She beat Erin Grace Lawless 6-0 in her final.

“The local kids were just fantastic. Grace has being doing a lot in tennis, she has been playing a lot of tennis to get her Australian ranking up and she has done that,” Mitton said.

“But while she has been playing a lot, Tayla and Grace haven’t. Even Luke, he rarely competes in tournaments outside the Central West, so for those kids to show they can be competitive against the best from across Australia is a very good sign.”

Aside from the pleasing efforts of these four players, Mitton said the overall standard impressed him and things ran smoothly.

He got good feedback from players and parents.

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