Ohakune tennis ace Karen Cranston is taking her talents to the international stage when she competes in the World Senior Championships in Turkey next month.
Cranston, who is also a member of the Wanganui Tennis Club, got the nod to represent New Zealand at the worlds after winning the national senior doubles title for the 50-55 age group in Hamilton last weekend.
Her partner in the doubles was Felicity Oxenvard of Queenstown who, ironically, proved her nemesis in both the singles and mixed doubles at the same tournament.
Cranston had made all three finals, but after convincingly winning the doubles title, she faced Oxenvard in the singles final and it went down to the wire.
"It was a match that went for just over three hours and came down to a third set tie-breaker, Unfortunately, Felicity managed to get the last two points, so it was close," Cranston said.
"It was a real thrill to get my first national title in the doubles though, and gain selection to the worlds."
In the mixed doubles, Cranston was buddied up with Hamilton ace Jason Cargo and after beating the second seeds (including former New Zealand representative David Mustard), 6-1, 6-2, she was again forced to tackle Oxenvard and her partner Peter Hampton from Christchurch in the final.
"It was a hard fought two-set match, but in the end they dominated. Peter is a world ranked player. It will be a tough tournament in Turkey.
"We leave on March 13 and play between March 15 and 31. There are three of us in the team - Felicity, myself and Penny Smith from Auckland.
"The first week we'll play the singles and doubles. In the doubles it will be either me and Felicity or me and Penny," Cranston said.
"I'm expecting it to be a real eye opener and a lot of tennis."
However, Cranston is no stranger to a busy tennis schedule.
Apart from competing in Wanganui club championship matches, she regularly travels to New Plymouth and Auckland.
"I play my interclub tennis one weekend in New Plymouth as an import for the Rotokare Club as its No1in the Soffe Cup team and the alternate weekend I drive to Auckland and play in the Ferrier Cup team for Mission Bay."
These are open competitions and not senior events.
"It's my first year playing in Auckland. It's a lot of driving, but the Auckland tennis is fantastic and of a high standard and I have been fortunate enough not to have lost a match up there so far," Cranston said.