Wellington Scoop

Big-time tennis in Wellington next week

News from Tennis Central
A strong and very even field has been confirmed for the 2019 Wellington Open NZ Championships starting next week.

Traditionally the NZ Champs has been held in Auckland or North Harbour. However this year it is combined with the Wellington Open to provide more incentive for the best Kiwi players with $12,000 prizemoney, prestige and potential wildcards to ITF tournaments in Te Anau and Hamilton.

The men’s singles entries have seven of the top ATP ranked New Zealand men. Only Rubin Statham who is out with injury is missing.

Heading the field is double defending champion, Finn Tearney of Wellington who is currently ranked 805 in the world. He’s followed by Rhett Purcell who played his first match of Davis Cup for New Zealand this year.

Ajeet Rai is third ranked after a mixed year with injuries. When fit the Taranaki 20-year-old played Davis Cup as well as main draw doubles at the ASB Classic and qualifying in singles.

North Harbour 23-year-old Alex Klintcharov with an ATP ranking of 1200 heads a list of other pro players including former Davis Cup player, Oliver Statham, Wellington’s KP Pannu and Macsen Sisam who was a finalist at the NZ Champs two years ago.

The next group of players includes Alex Hunt, Rob Reynolds and Isaac Becroft, all of whom have had ATP rankings in singles or doubles in recent times.

The tournaments have an exceptional doubles entry list which features Marcus Daniell the world No.43. The Wairarapa-born player reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this year as well as winning the ATP title at Brisbane and being a finalist at two other ATP events. He will be teaming up with George Stoupe who played at the ASB Classic in January.

Other top doubles teams include Tearney who is looking for his third consecutive doubles title and second consecutive win with Isaac Becroft.

There’s also Hunt and Reynolds, Sisam and Klintcharov, Pannu and Rai plus three combinations of brothers; Oliver and Finlay Hall, Matt and Sam Shearer and Connor and Dylan Heap.

In the women’s draws Paige Hourigan is the outright favourite. She was the finalist at the NZ Champs last year and winner of the Wellington Champs title.

Paige 22 from just outside of Whanganui has a current WTA career high ranking of 134 in the world in doubles and 439 in singles.

Her best results in 2019 include winning a Futures singles title and reaching the semis at a US$25k Challenger tournament . In doubles she made the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland with Taylor Townsend and won six US$25K titles .

In the doubles draw at the Wellington Open NZ Championships Hourigan is teaming up with Vivian Yang while Holly Stewart and Sarah Kate Weekley are the likely second seeds

A couple of wildcards are being kept open for late entries to the women’s singles where a group of younger players such as Nina Parapovich, Holly Stewart, Jade Otway, Yang and Elys Ventura will try to push Hourigan for the title.

“Over the last few years, we’ve created a very special atmosphere around the Wellington Open that players and the community seem to enjoy and support. Combining our event with the NZ Championships adds even more prestige and talent to the tournament. The standard of play will be high all round,” said tournament director, Florent Perret.

The tournament runs from 19-22 December at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Wellington with the finals day televised live on Sky TV.


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