The battle of New Zealand's top tennis players ended with lengthy matches in the Wellington Tennis Open at the Renouf Tennis Centre as both men's and women's finals lasted three sets in front of big crowds.
Rubin Statham overcame the current Kiwi No.1 and local player and two-time defending champion Finn Tearney in a two hour 2-6 6-4 6-4 hard-hitting match. Both players are within one ATP ranking spot of each other, but with no ranking points on offer in Wellington the tournament was key prize money; $2000 for the winner and an opportunity to get ready for hitting the international circuit again after the tough Davis Cup loss to Korea.
"It was a tough match today, Finn is a great mover on the court and I had to really fight to get the match," said Statham. "There was just a couple of points near the end of the match which I managed to get and that got me the win today."
Statham plays his next tournaments in Australia and is looking to lift his ranking after a wide variety of injuries in the past 18 months.
Meanwhile Tearney leaves tonight to play a couple of Futures tennis events in Asia before testing himself in Challenger tournaments, also in Asia.
The women's final had New Zealand national senior and junior tennis champion, teenager Rosie Cheng from North Harbour coming from a set down to defeat defending champion Leela Beattie 2-6 6-3 6-2.
The North Harbour teen was relieved to win the contest after being a little erratic on the way to the title.
"She's a really good player and we always have good battles. She blew me away in the first set, I couldn't do anything," said Cheng "I was able to find my form a bit more later in the match, which helped me get the win."