Tennis action heats up as final rounds loom
SINCE 1938 the Gladstone Open has been offering budding tennis stars from Gladstone and afar the chance to compete for glory.
This weekend 125 men and women took to the courts to battle it out, with $1200 prize money for both the men's and women's champion on offer.
Gladstone juniors showed plenty of spirit, with three players, all under 18, making it through to the second round of the 2014 Rio Tinto Alcan and QAL Gladstone Open on Saturday.
Unfortunately for 17-year-old Jack Smith, the second round was as far as his AMT Men's Singles campaign went, with ninth-seed
Brandon Daly-Walkin proving too much for Smith, who went down 6-0 6-0.
The New Auckland teen who trains at the Gladstone Tennis Club remained upbeat, as his attention turned to the under-18s and A-Grade doubles competitions.
"It was pretty tough, he's (Daly-Walking) a pretty good player and he's been around for a while but yeah I didn't do any good," Smith said.
"He's got a really good serve and when I served he just creamed it, he was just too strong.
"It was a good game for learning how tough he is and a lot of players are."
With 48 men alone in the top competition, Smith was always going to be up against it trying to progress through the open field, as many of the state's future stars flocked to Gladstone in the hunt for Australian ranking points as well as the prize money, said tournament director Rob McBean.
"This is probably the only event in central Queensland of this stature in terms of big events," McBean said.
"We've got locals but mainly players from Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast sort of areas; they're the guys up here playing the big events.
"They're playing for Australian ranking points so that goes towards their Australian ranking and as well there's $1200 in prize money for first place for both men and women."
Co-ordinating the event is a tough task for McBean.
"A lot of players are playing in say three events so yeah, co-ordinating all of that to keep everyone on the court and get everyone finished at a decent hour, it's a big challenge," he said.
The AMT men's and women's singles finals will begin at about 9.30am today and McBean said a large, public holiday crowd would be a great way to close the tournament.
- AMT Men's Singles Final: Calum Puttergill (1) v Luke Harvey (4)
- AMT Women's Singles Fina: Kaylah McPhee (1) v Natalie Rogers(2)
- Finals start at 9.30am on Monday