When Jason Helms came up with his innovative one-set, men v women Sunday Shootout concept he hoped for a final like Sunday's ground-breaker at the Mount Maunganui Club.

In front of a packed crowd of enthralled tennis fans, Daniel Brown - arguably the biggest server in New Zealand tennis - was up against 16-year-old Sydney-based Valentina Ivanov.

Brown had scorched through his earlier matches against Sam Scowen 6-1, Oliver Petri 6-0 and Mount local Jamie Yates 6-0 before meeting the world's 98th best under-18 female player in the final.

Ivanov beat Hillary Woodham 6-2, highly promising Tauranga Lawn 15-year-old Jackson Loomb 6-2 and Phil Hampstead 6-3 but was not favoured to beat Brown.


But she handled his big serve with certainty and thrilled the crowd with the accuracy and speed of her winning forehand and cunning drop shots, winning the match 6-4.

"It was an unbelievable final and certainly had the crowd on their feet," a delighted Helms said after the fourth of his summer Sunday Shootout series was completed.

Ivanov flew to Tauranga from her base in Sydney to compete at Mount Maunganui to help prepare for a grade 3 tournament in Auckland next weekend.

Coached by Marcel Vos, who was courtside on Sunday, she has successfully competed for New Zealand at Junior Davis Cup and Junior Federation Cup levels. Her long-term goal is to play pro tennis and represent New Zealand in the Federation Cup and hopefully at the Olympics.

She loved the one-set, take-on-all-comers concept of the Sunday Shootout.

"I quite enjoyed it actually. Normal matches can go on for ages but with this you have to go out and try and win from the first point. You can't ease into it; you have to be ready from the get-go," she said.

"Overall it was fun. It is more tense at deuce because it is just one point and if it gets to five all it is tight because it is first to five points to decide it."

Taking on the guys was something she had not experienced in tournament play and found it interesting to see how they play.


"Guys usually play with more spin and play flat more than girls do."

Christchurch-born Ivanov rates the experience of playing at the Australian Junior Open as a career highlight.

"I didn't do as well as I hoped for in the singles but overall the experience was unreal. It was my first grand slam and it was awesome to see the best players in the world and how they act and play. You get treated like a pro and it is really cool."

Helms, originally from Rotorua, is a former tour player coached by Bobbi Riggs, who challenged Billie Jean King in the famous "Battle of the Sexes" match.

He may run another Sunday Shootout next month if he can get New Zealand's No 1 player Finn Tearney to attend.

"He said he would be available to play next month so I have asked him what Sunday he is available and let's see if we can put something together for that," Helms said.

"If he can turn up next month I am in. I am also thinking of raising the prize money to five grand."