Nick Fenaughty could be forgiven for thinking he was still dreaming.By Marc McGowan
Nick Fenaughty could be forgiven for thinking he was still dreaming.
The teenager, who played for Nathalia this season and previously for Cobram, would have expected a tough men’s open singles quarter-final against triple Cobram Labour Day champion Ashleigh Janke.
Fenaughty, 19, breezed through the opening six games against triple Cobram champion Ashleigh Janke for a 5-1 lead yesterday.
He was in a similar position of strength in the second set at 4-2, but Janke came back from the brink both times to inflict a 7-5, 7-5 defeat on Fenaughty.
‘‘I sat down after the first set and thought to myself, ‘It’s once a year I get to give back to Cobram by playing this tournament’,’’ Fenaughty said.
‘‘There were a lot of supporters around and I really wanted to push and give it everything I could and come off thinking there was nothing more I could have done.
‘‘With the (little) amount of training I did, I’m happy enough that was everything I could have given. Obviously, I had my opportunities, but I was happy overall.’’
Fenaughty was two points from the first set when he had Janke 15-30 on serve at 5-1, but his increasing passiveness and opponent’s spike in form conspired against him.
The Frankston visitor began dominating on serve and overpowering Fenaughty, who was flawless early other than three double faults, from the back of the court.
Janke, complete with tattoos, a lip piercing, holey Dunlop Volleys and shaggy blond hair, creamed a backhand winner down the line to break Fenaughty for a third time to go one set up.
Fenaughty settled again on resumption — getting more first serves in and more depth on his groundstrokes — and held to two-all before Janke’s ugly half-volley attempt sailed long to hand his rival the break.
Fenaughty went 4-2 ahead and had a break point for a greater advantage, but Janke hung on then unleashed a barrage of winners in the former’s next service game.
A Fenaughty double fault locked the set at four-all and although he held to tie the set again at 5-5, it always seemed like Janke had an extra gear to go to.
Janke’s net-rushing more often than not resulted in either a volley winner or Fenaughty error and it came to a head in the 12th game of the set.
Fenaughty slumped to 0-40 at 5-6 and Janke ended the contest a point later in similar fashion to the first set — via a winner.
‘‘I started pushing the ball a bit more (at 5-1 in the first set) rather than hitting through the ball,’’ he said.
‘‘It was on my mind not to be passive, but it still happened — it’s a very hard thing to change
‘‘I didn’t want to do the same thing in the second set and it wasn’t as bad in the second, but it happened.’’
Fenaughty, who almost withdrew during the week because of suffering golfer’s elbow in his right arm, thanked his support crew, including coach Peter Morgan and those who turned out to watch him.
He planned to get further physiotherapy on his elbow this week and hoped to compete in Shepparton’s annual Easter tournament at the end of the month.
Fenaughty, who has relocated from Finley to Ballarat, will play for Hepner Indoor at Grade Two pennant level this year.
Third-seeded Janke continued his form in his semi-final, taking out No.
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