CHAMPIONS: Pic 1. Dayne Kelly won his third Mildura Grand Tennis International Men’s title on Sunday. Pic 2. Alicia Smith teamed with Alana Parnaby to win the Women’s Doubles title. Photos: PAUL MENSCH
DAYNE Kelly’s love of the Mildura Lawn Tennis Club’s grass surface has been immortalised after taking his third Mildura Grand Tennis International yesterday.
The 28-year-old became the first man to win three International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures titles in Mildura when he downed Aussie-turned-Brit Brydan Klein in the final.
Klein was also gunning to become the first three-time Mildura champion, but it was Kelly who would take out the three-set encounter 6-1 4-6 6-4.
In the semi-finals, Kelly was the beneficiary of third seed Arjun Kadhe of India being forced to retire with the score at 6-0 3-0, while Klein turned on the afterburners after losing the first set against Japan’s S Sekiguchi in a tie-breaker, winning 6-7 6-1 6-1.
In the women’s draw, sixth seed and Mildura regular Naiktha Bains claimed the title in a hard fought three-setter over fellow Aussie and seventh seed Kaylah McPhee.
After Bains took the first set 6-4, McPhee won the second set in a tie-break 7-6, however Bains would get home 6-2 in the final set.
Bains impressed during the later round of the tournament, beginning with her three-set victory over fellow Aussie and second seed Ellen Perez in the quarter final. In yet another three set encounter, Bains made her way past Switzerland’s Lulu Sun in the semi-final.
McPhee also provided an upset in her quarter final by knocking out number one seed Destanee Aiava in three sets. She would then get past Maddison Inglis 4-6 6-1 6-1 in her semi-final after Inglis took out third seed Lizette Cabrera the previous round.
Klein also found himself coming up short in the Men’s Double’s final, with Aussie pair Calum Puttergill and Brandon Walkin winning and epic tussle. Puttergill and Walkin won a tie-breaker in the first set, before Klein and Aussie Scott Puodziunas answered in another tie-breaker in the second set.
The result would be decided by a tie-breaker, rather than a third set. With seven the magical number when it comes to tie-breaks, both teams put on an epic performance before the Aussie pair came out on top 18 to 16.
It was a similar story in the Women’s Doubles final, with all-Australian teams Alana Parnaby and Alicia Smith, and Olivia Rogowska and Storm Sanders unable to be split after two sets.
Their tie-breaker also provided an entertaining contest, with Parnaby and Smith coming out on top 10-8 in the decider.