Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Pacific Oceania players in hot form at Shepparton tournament

The men's singles draw has been cut wide open at the Greater Shepparton Summer Challenge with a team of Pacific Oceania players starting the tournament in brilliant style.

DAMEN FRANCIS January 14, 2014 4:15am

Shepparton’s Nick Gattuso reaches for a forehand during day one of the Goulburn Valley Junior Championships in Shepparton.

A team of Pacific Oceania tennis players has broken the men’s singles draw wide open on the opening day of the Greater Shepparton Summer Challenge at Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club.

Guam’s Daniel Llarenas dropped one game in his opening round win against Madol Madol, before eliminating number-one seed Nathan Mayes in straight sets.

New Caledonia’s Nikolas N’Godrela accounted for local hopeful Jarrod Bingham 6-4 6-1 and downed third seed Jake McKenzie 6-2 6-3 to join in his teammate in the third round.

At the time of writing, Vanuatu’s Cyril Jacobe was in a strong position against second seed Ross Marzetti of Tasmania in their round two clash.

Fourth seed Ryan Draffin survived the onslaught, fighting back from a set down to beat Vanuatu’s Aymeric Mara 3-6 6-3 10-7.

The quartet are using the Australian Money Tournament Bronze Series event as a warm-up for the Asia-Pacific Tennis League Play-offs, which will be hosted at Melbourne Park during the second week of the Australian Open.

It was otherwise a smooth opening day of the tournament, according to tournament manager Jamie Hayes.

Temperatures reached 40°C yesterday in a sign of things to come.

‘‘We’ve done pretty well, we’re managing to get through all our matches on time,’’ Haynes said.

‘‘We had a break in the middle of the day, the last matches went on at 12pm, then we stopped until 5pm to give people a break out of the heat.

‘‘We would like to thank the players and parents for their co-operation with the heat, it’s only going to get worse as the tournament progresses, but touch wood it keeps going the way it has been.’’

Shepparton’s Bruce Ferguson and James Curtis-McDonald and Kyabram’s Matthew Starling remain alive in the men’s singles competition.

Ferguson ousted Pierce Gilheany 6-1 7-5 and Ryan Smith 6-3 6-1 and will meet Regan Moore today.

Curtis-McDonald had a first round bye, before knocking out fellow Shepparton player Jesse Brun 6-3 6-4 and will play the winner of the Jacobe-Marzetti match.

Starling saw off Ted Williams 6-2 6-0 and 15th seed Thomas Patterson 6-3 6-4, but faces N’Godrela for a place in the quarter-finals.

At the time of writing, Echuca’s Erik Holt-Crossman was still to complete his second round battle with ninth seed Nathan Ponton.

Shepparton young gun Nicholas Gattuso lost a thrilling opening round tie to Michael Ilett 6-3 6-7(7) 10-4.

At the time of writing, Gattuso remains alive in the 16-and-under boys’ singles at the Goulburn Valley Junior Championships.

In the women’s draw, number one seed Jayde Viccars remains in the hunt, as does second seed and local favourite Hope Curtis-McDonald from Shepparton, who was still to complete her second round match against Lisa Mays.

Jessica Mason won the head-to-head battle with fellow hometown hopeful D’Arcy Curtis-McDonald, 6-2 6-4, and had to negotiate her way past Leanne More last night.

In the junior event, Kialla’s Kara Farrow made it through her first round 16-and-under girls’ singles match, when Victoria Tsividis retired while trailing 6-1 1-0.

Shepparton’s Linton Colclough beat Cobram’s Henry Sanders 6-3 7-6 in the 16-and-under boys’ singles and Molyullah’s Alex Rofe advanced past Joshua Vlcek 6-0 6-0.

Olivia Quigley was knocked out of the 14-and-under girls’ singles by Polly Barnett 6-4 2-6 10-4, but Jordon Butts won through to the third round of the 14-and-under boys’ event, by beating Yutong Su 7-6(3) 6-2.

Hugo Kearney, Lucas Enders and Fergus Wilson were all beaten in the 12-and-under boys’ draw.

The competition continues today from 8am.

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