Hourigan makes it two years in a row

By Iain Hyndman

Rising Wanganui tennis star Paige Hourigan retained her National under-18 junior title, winning her final in straight sets at Albany Tennis Park in North Harbour yesterday.

The 15-year-old beat Hamilton's Ella Hassall 6-2, 6-2 in the final to make it back-to-back titles in her grade.

Hourigan went into the final as top seed with her ITF (International Tennis Federation) ranking of 211 and showed the same dominance she displayed when dispatching Canterbury's Chanistha Ampornachariya 6-0 6-3 in the semi finals.

Later in the day yesterday Hourigan began her bid for a New Zealand Federation Cup team spot in the New Zealand Championships (formerly the Residentials) which ends on Sunday. A top showing in the open tournament combined with her back-to-back junior titles may be enough to secure a Fed Cup spot.

Meanwhile, cousin Kyle Butters battled valiantly but could not hold out a determined Connor Heap from Canterbury in yesterday's junior men's final. The Wanganui 15-year-old went down fighting 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

Butters had claimed the under-18 doubles crown earlier in the competition, combining with North Harbour's Alexander Klintcharov.

A player tipped to watch for in the women's singles is Emma Hayman from Wanganui who graduated from College of Charleston, South Carolina and has since played some pro events and coached in the US.


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