Cousins set for double glory

By Jared Smith

They were born only two days apart and Wanganui's outstanding tennis prospects are side by side in the hunt for national titles today.

First cousins Kyle Butters and Paige Hourigan will contest the men's and women's finals at the National Junior Tennis Championship's under 18 tournaments at Albany Tennis Park in North Harbour.

The 15-year-olds both won their semifinals in straight sets yesterday.

Hourigan is the defending champion in her grade.

Butters also teamed with North Harbour's Alexander Klintcharov to win the men's doubles yesterday, beating Auckland's Rhett Purcell and Niko Vulinovich, 6-1, 4-6, 10-7.

While a tall player, Purcell would have been sick of the sight of 6.4ft Butters after he thumped the Aucklander in the men's semifinal 6-1 6-0.

His father Dave Butters said while his son had been top seed, the final will still be tough and nothing can be taken for granted.

"I think he's peaking at the right time.

"He wasn't expected to win it any one of ten boys can win that thing."

Butters will face Canterbury's Connor Heap in the final, after the 15-year-old beat Klintcharov 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the other semifinal.

Hourigan was also in a dominant mood, beating Canterbury's Chanistha Ampornachariya 6-0 6-3 in her semifinal.

Hourigan is a potential candidate for selection in the New Zealand Federation Cup team if she can defend her title and then do well in the NZ Championships formerly the Residentials which starts tomorrow and runs through until the finals on Sunday.

Today she will take on Hamilton's Ella Hassall, 15, after she beat Masterton 16-year-old Sade Atkinson in the other semi 6-3 4-6 6-4.

The finals start today at 9am, indoors at Albany Tennis Park.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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