By TIM BARROW
The spoils: Ben Mitchell holds the Wollongong International trophy after beating Germany's Sebastian Fanselow in straight sets on Sunday. Picture: Georgia Matts
QUEENSLANDER Ben Mitchell survived five break points before holding a crucial service game, which set him on course for a straight sets victory at the Wollongong International final on Sunday.
Mitchell won 6-1, 6-4, but had to fight his way back from a break down against Germany’s Sebastian Fanselow at Beaton Park.
Fanselow had led 4-1 in the second set and then had five opportunities to snatch a crucial break while leading 4-3.
However, Mitchell responded on each occasion, before pulling off a stunning lob which caught the baseline, holding at 4-all, the pivotal moment in the match. “I think it got the back of the line,” Mitchell said.
“I wasn’t quite sure if it was going in and (the linesman) didn’t call it, so I was pretty happy.
“To hold off those five break points at 3-4 was the really big turning point.
“I think every single break point (Fanselow had) I won with an ace or a winner, so I’m just happy I was aggressive and held on.”
It’s his second consecutive triumph, after winning the Canberra International Challenger tournament last week. In cruise control early, Mitchell, who is ranked almost 400 ATP places higher than Fanselow, took the first set in 25 minutes.
“It’s the first time I’ve won a tournament without dropping a set, which is very hard to do,” Mitchell said.
Having twice played in the main draw at the Australian Open, losing to American John Isner (2012) and fellow Aussie James Duckworth (2013), Mitchell declared he is playing better than ever.
“My current for is the best it’s ever been,” he said.
“I’m calm. On break points and big points I’ve got a clear mindset and I know what I need to do.
“Winning a Challenger tournament is massive and I’ve picked up quite a few rankings points in the two weeks. I’ve won 10 matches in a row now, so I’ve just got to keep it going.”
By TIM BARROW
Nov. 15, 2015, 3:15 p.m.
MAVERICK Banes and Finn Tearney won two matches on Sunday to claim the Ashley Fisher doubles trophy at the Wollongong International.
Resuming at 4-2, Australian Banes and New Zealander Tearney marched through to the final with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Jeremy Beale and Ivan Goluza.
Then in a dramatic decider, the No 2 seeds overcame top-seeded Steven de Waard and Marc Polmans to claim the title in a super tie-break.
Banes and Tearney won five points in a row in the tie-break, sealing the match 6-7, 7-5, 10-6 in 92 minutes.
It came after Tearney missed out on a place in the singles final after losing 6-4, 6-2 to runner-up Sebastian Fanselow. De Waard and Polmans fought back from a mid-set break to claim the first in a tie-breaker.
However, Banes and Tearney broke in the 12th game of the second set to send the match to a thrilling super tie-break finale. The No 1 seeds led 6-5, before their rivals’ late surge.
Close call: Marc Polmans lost the doubles final in a super tie-break.
By TIM BARROW
Nov. 15, 2015, 1:33 p.m.
Net gain: Wollongong International winner Ben Mitchell takes a moment to enjoy his success at Beaton Park on Sunday. Picture: Georgia Matts
BEATEN finalist Sebastian Fanselow will return to the Beaton Park courts this week for a second shot at Wollongong International glory.
The German fell short in the final on Sunday, but will not have to worry about the presence of victor Ben Mitchell this week.
Unseeded Fanselow had made a statement in the quarter-finals, toppling American No 1 seed Connor Smith in a three-setter in bizarre circumstances.
However, after holding a second set break against Mitchell, he conceded five straight games to lose the final 6-1, 6-4.
When the $15,000 Beaton Park event, which is split into two tournaments, resumes on Tuesday, Mitchell will be preparing to fly to Japan to play a Challenger tournament.
It will leave Smith, New Zealand Jose Statham and Fanselow among the favourites to take from the Wollongong prize pool.
“It’s a pretty strong Futures (tournament),” Mitchell said after claiming the trophy on Sunday.
“The Aussie Futures are getting to be the strongest in the world.
“It’s a tough week and even though I didn’t drop a set, there were some tough matches."
Mitchell’s triumph held extra significance, with family watching on.
It was the first time his father Chris had seen him play in 12 months, such is the demands of the international circuit.
The Wollongong International victory is Mitchell’s 10th career title and second in a row after winning at the Canberra Challenger event last week.
Fanselow had made the final by beating Connor Smith, who will be the No 1 seed again this week.
Smith had won the first set 7-5, but in extraordinary fashion Fanselow hit back, taking out the match 6-0, 6-0.
Fanselow is ranked at 628 in the world, with Smith the highest ranked player at the Wollongong event at 238.
Of the other contenders, Statham, at No 293, was knocked out in the semi-finals by Mitchell.
Statham played in the 2014 Wollongong International final, losing 6-4, 7-5 to American Jarmere Jenkins.
Czech Robin Stanek, who beat Fanselow in Canberra last week, but bowed out in the quarters in Wollongong, will also be involved in this week’s tournament, as will American Marcos Giron and Thirroul’s Blake Mott.
Mitchell is hoping to gain a wildcard to the Australian Open, the third time he will have played at a grand slam. He is also chasing a place at the Brisbane International in January in the lead-up.
Beaton Park favourite son Ashley Fisher will be in action on day one of the Wollongong International after he and partner Dayne Kelly drew fellow Australians Scott Puodziunas and Calum Puttergill in the opening round.
It will be Fisher’s tournament debut as he attempts a comeback to the pro doubles tour on which he reached the 2006 US Open semi-final, the 2006 Australian Open semi-final and the 2004 Wimbledon quarter finals.
Fisher will be in action at 2pm on Tuesday after avoiding a match with any of the top four seeds on day one.
Thirroul’s Blake Mott and partner Matthew Dellavedova weren’t so lucky drawing US pair and fourth seeds Connor Smith and Marcos Giron who are seeded first and seventh in the singles draw respectively.
Top seeds Steven De Waard and Marc Polmans will take on fellow Australians Adam and Jason Taylor at 12.30 while third seeded pair Ben Mitchell and Bradley Mousley will be in action at 2pm.
FRONT RUNNER: Canberra International winner Ben Mitchell is among the favourites to take out the Wollongong International singles crown this week. Picture: Graham Tidy
THE race for the Wollongong International singles title remains wide open after five of the remaining six qualifying seeds won through to the main draw on Monday.
Top qualifying seed and former US Open wildcard Marcos Giron (USA) easily accounted for Australian Zach Itzstein 6-3, 6-1 while second seeded Australian Marc Polmans defeated Socrates Leon Tsnoris in straight sets.
Remaining seeds Scott Puodziunas, Blade Fong, Jake Delaney, Patrick Fitzgerald and Richard Yang all won through to the Main Draw with only fifth seed Caleb Boland failing to make it through after losing 6-2, 6-1 to fellow Australian Damian Farinola.
Top two seeds Connor Smith and Canberra International winner Ben Mitchell won’t be in action in singles until Wednesday but number three seed, Jose Statham of New Zealand and Giron will both be in action on Tuesday.
Aussies Blade Fong, Calum Puttergill, Darren Polkinghorne, Bradley Mousley and Steven De Waard will all take to the court on day one.
Local hope Blake Mott will face Delaney on Wednesday and said the singles crown is a wide open race.
‘‘Ben Mitchell obviously just won the Canberra [International] and he’s coming in with a bit of confidence,’’ Mott said.
‘‘There’s a couple of good American players who play a lot of matches.
‘‘It’ll be about who can put it together on the day.’’
Nov. 10, 2015, 5:26 p.m.
Day one of the Wollongong International proved a day for favourites on Tuesday with all seeded players featured in the draw advancing.
In the singles draw number three seed Jose Statham from New Zealand had little trouble accounting for un-seeded Australian Daniel Hobart in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 while American seventh seed Marcos Giron made similar work of Blade Fong shutting the Australian out 6-0 in the first set before closing the second 6-4.
Darren Polkinghorne also advanced in straight sets over fellow Australian Calum Puttergill 6-3, 6-4 while Bradley Mousley prevailed over Steve De Waard in the only three-setter of day one 5-7, 61, 6-2.
It was a similar story in the doubles with top seeded pair De Waard and Marc Polmans advancing 6-2, 6-3 over Adam and Jason Taylor.
American pair Giron and Connor Smith defeated local boy Blake Mott and partner Matthew Dellavedova 6-3, 6-3 while Wollongong favourite son Ashley Fisher also advanced with partner Dayne Kelly.
Ashley Fisher was a winner on day one of the Wollongong International.
Amazing drone footage of Wollongong Tennis Club and Beaton Park.
The Wollongong International Tennis Tournament has begun. Come down and witness some incredible tennis throughout the week. There are local players, international players and $15,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.
They have even been kind enough to offer a 10% discount for all Tennis Club members if you book before the end of the year.
It's simple, just come in to the Tennis Club on any Friday night in November. Buy some raffle tickets and say 'There is more to the Tennis Club than just Tennis!' and you will get $10 worth of tickets.
That's it...no catches...no loop holes.
Tickets go on sale at 6pm with the first tray drawn at 7pm. Remember it's only valid for November so get in quick and don't forget the phrase 'There is more to the Tennis Club than just Tennis'.
(limit one per customer)
The City of Wollongong Tennis Club practices the Responsible Service of Alcohol. Please Enjoy Responsibly.
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