Hawke's Bay tennis player Alex Cave appreciated her mother Suzanna's advice but she was prepared to play through the pain yesterday.

It was day three in Tennis Eastern's Tier 3 Kennedy Park Resort Hawke's Bay Junior Open in Napier and Alex and her mother were discussing whether she should continue playing.

The 14-year-old Greendale club player had already played nine matches before she withdrew from the under-16 girls singles final against Taranaki's Abby Ross.

"I've had tennis elbow for a little while and my whole left arm was sore in the semifinal. I played some of it with my right arm," Cave explained as she reflected on her 6-1, 6-2 semifinal win against Waipukurau's Rosie Sunckell in her semifinal.


Cave also withdrew from today's five-pair under-16 girls doubles round-robin in which she and Ross were scheduled to be the top seeds. With the national under-14 tournament in which she is scheduled to play in the singles as well as the doubles with Havelock North's Sophie Ward to be played in Auckland from tomorrow until Saturday that was the right call.

"Mum is right. It's probably not a bad thing to have a rest now. I'm seeded ninth for the singles in Auckland and I'm hoping to make the quarter-finals and while Sophie and I are unseeded in the doubles I believe we're capable of reaching the quarter-finals there too," Cave said.

A Woodford House student who will start her Year 10 studies next year, Cave, agreed the nationals campaign will provide her and Ward with the best possible buildup to the Hawke's Bay senior team's Christie Cup defence against Manawatu at the Hawke's Bay Lawn club on January 19.

The Christie Cup is the symbol of Central Districts tennis supremacy and Cave, who has been playing since she was 3, was in the Bay team which won it for the first time since the 2004-05 season with a 13-11 victory over Taranaki in New Plymouth last January.

That day Cave won her third singles rubber in what was the start of a memorable year.

She played a key role in Greendale's Hawke's Bay premier women's interclub title win last summer, in May she won the Hawke's Bay Residentials senior singles title and in October won the award for Hawke's Bay's top secondary schools female player.

Her Residentials final win against the Bay's top woman and Greendale clubmate Jane Wyllie was labelled the best women's final in this event for more than a decade. It was a tough, gritty affair with rallies on occasions lasting more than 50 strokes.

Cave established a 4-0 lead in the first set. But Wyllie, 48, clawed her way back to take the set to a tie breaker which Cave won. Wyllie won the second set to take the match into a super tiebreak. Cave displayed some superb defensive play and subtle changes of pace on her way to a 10-7 win in the super tiebreak.


Cave agreed she was fortunate to receive coaching from two of the Bay's top coaches in former New Zealand Davis Cup representative Dan Willman and experienced Greendale professional Luke Donovan.

She also agreed there is no shortage of depth among Hawke's Bay's female contingent as they prepare for the Christie Cup defence with 10 players battling for the six singles berths and three doubles pairings.

Despite her injured arm, Cave was happy with her results during the last three days. On Saturday Cave and Greendale clubmate India Apatu, the top seeds, beat another Greendale combination of Mansi Giri and Penelope Forster, the second seeds, 6-0, 6-2 in their under-14 doubles final after two earlier matches in this event.

Also on Saturday Cave and her 16-year-old sister Samantha were the second seeds in the open doubles where they played three matches including the final where they lost 6-0, 7-6 to the top seeded Havelock North combination of 21-year-old Olivia Addis and 19-year-old Alex Turley.

On Sunday Cave was the second seed in the under-18 singles where she played three matches including the final where she lost 6-3, 6-3 to the top seeded Aucklander Sofia Shing in a match which continued for more than two hours.

The open attracted 149 players including 25 from Australia and two from Samoa.


Greendale's River Apatu beat Hawke's Bay Lawn's Charlie Nash in the final of the under-14 boys singles and Greendale's Jonathan Fall beat Havelock North's Jack Prenter in the final of the under-18 boys singles.